Blog Japanese voice over can prevent your brand from becoming a joke

Posted by Kerry Vallins on August 21, 2017

When it comes to building a voice over campaign for international markets, Western brands usually find that creating marketing materials for the Japanese market is one of the most challenging things they can do. However, a Japanese voice over could be the key to success.

The Japanese language can be an incredibly difficult one for native English speakers to grasp, let alone master. The language is highly nuanced. There is a class barrier to consider, with verbs taking different forms at different levels of formality. The Foreign Service Institute classes Japanese as a ‘Category V’ language, meaning it’s exceptionally difficult to learn.

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With three different writing systems and more than 3,000 kanji to learn, it’s a daunting task, even for natives born in the region. Despite all these barriers, however, rewards for a brand breaking into the market can be phenomenal, both financially and culturally.

This task can be made easier, too, if companies partner with an experienced voice agency that has access to professional, native speaking Japanese voice over artists.

How Japanese voice over talent can help you enter Eastern markets

For many marketing managers, entering the Japanese market – and staying there – is the zenith of their careers. So how can a professional Japanese voice over artist help them to do that?

Fluent, professional and experienced Japanese voice over talent understand the complexity of the Japanese language, its social hierarchies and its cultural traits. This does so much more for a brand than help them to sell products in the region. It portrays them as a business that really cares about their approach to the market, and proves they’re willing to really listen and engage.

Using a Japanese voice over as part of your marketing campaign can also cast your brand in a positive light, at a time when so many are getting it so wrong when trying to break Japan.

‘Enjoy the Girl’ is a campaign from hair removal salon Musee Platinum Tokyo, which is drawing ire from both English and Japanese speakers in the region. It was supposed to read ‘Enjoy, girls’, but poor translation and campaign execution has turned the brand into something of a laughing stock worldwide.

Being careful on a cultural level with the right voice over

On the other hand, ‘Enjoy the Girl’ highlights a side of the advertising industry that Japan is struggling with lately. English text in campaigns can look cool to certain audiences, but the message conveyed often comes a distant second. A message still needs to be conveyed though, which can be better done via kanji, however some natives complain it is too direct and ‘blocky’.

There are other examples of brands trying to enter the Japanese market, but have simply put their messaging into translation software and then realized it’s wrong when it’s too late. Local Japanese brands have also done the opposite.

Professional voice over talent can negate those worries though, especially if you use an agency with access to reliable, fluent Japanese voice artists who understand the language perfectly.

Using a voice over agency that specializes in localization can also help you to repurpose existing materials for international regions. Here at Voice Talent Online, we offer quality assurance and post production editing to provide every customer with professional and high-quality results. By translating your audio, you can get your message across to native audiences all round the world.

Voice Talent Online has access to experienced Japanese-speaking voice actors, as well as more than 1,500 voice talents fluent in over 75 other languages. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help your business grow into international markets with the right voice talent.


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