I'll be working on a project very soon that's going to be translated into five different languages.

I will be doing lots of group walla and such for this project as well as ADR lines for characters in the ambience which are meant to be able to be heard and understood in English.

I will also be handling the Foreign version recording and mixing of the dialogue.

Has anyone had any experience of doing sound design on a movie which you knew was going to be translated and dubbed into another language, and if so, did you make a completely separate stem of dialogue as well as crowd lines which you knew were going to need to be dubbed as well?

For example, what if there is a scene where someone in a crowd says something out loud and you needed to hear it clearly, and it was on the effects track. If it's mixed in with the effects stem, then when you go to do the foreign versions you couldn't really use the effects stem because the crowd line is mixed in with it.

Just curious if anyone has figured out a work-around yet for this sort of thing. I guess I'll just keep track of anything needed to be dubbed from the beginning and keep them on separate tracks so it's easy to convert it into a foreign with no English dialogue?

Thanks! - Ryan

3 Answers 3



Usually you split out any language-specific crowd wallas or reactions to a separate predub so it's easier to find and mute when creating the M&E. If doing this leaves a noticeable hole in the track, simply prepare an ALT that you can open up on the day, ie. another bit of indistinguishable walla from the same track, something reversed, etc.

  • Thanks +1! I guess that's up to the supervisor to decide what should go in the dub, then? Do you always consider your projects will be made into foreign versions just in case? I had that happen to me before which is why I am asking the question -
    – Utopia
    Commented May 11, 2010 at 1:59
  • Nearly all films will have an M&E made for foreign distribution. Commented May 11, 2010 at 2:05

Most of the shows I do are for the international market. We work with the dialogue and Walla so that they are all going through to the Dialogue Stem. If the Walla is generic enough so that no language is discernible I'd probably leave it on the FX tracks.

I set up my mix so that I can mix a show and have all the routing done in the one session to generate all my stems (Mix, M&E, Music, FX & Dial) so all I do is record the stems once an episode is finished. It also means I don't have to remix anything for the M&E (we pretty much only do animation so every sound is re-done, we have an exception in house at the moment which is live action and requires a remix for the M&E).

If you plan it out in your session it should be simple. I would agree that you ought to get confirmation from the producer as to the exact requirements though too.

Good luck



Awesome answers from the other guys, so i'll just add something: When i QC'ed films, a lot of the M+E's were accompanied by both a dialogue track and an "options" track. The options track had the non verbal vocalisations (breaths, grunts, etc.) - anything that's borderline.

I'm currently doing some work at a studio that does ultra fast turnaround foreign language dubs, and i'd give my left arm for an options track!

  • What kind of mics, compression and EQ do you use on your foreign voice dubs?
    – Utopia
    Commented Jun 7, 2010 at 23:41
  • We usually do animations, for which we use an AT4047 and a Bluebird (both large diaphragm cardioids). We're also using them for a live action series at the moment (despite my protests). If i ran the place i'd use a super/hypercardioid like a Neumann KMR81, just to match the aesthetic. I wouldn't use any eq unless there's an obvious cause, such as a character with their back to the camera. And as for compression, something gentle, whatever you'd use if you were mixing the original dialogue for a film. Commented Jun 10, 2010 at 21:34

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