Case Study: Multilingual Audio Guide Voiceover

Read more on our project to translate and provide multilingual recordings for a bus tour company in Dublin.
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Comms was approached by a Dublin company called Dualway Coaches, who wanted to produce recordings in other languages for their bus tours of the city. This was a very exciting project, as it would be the first time that Dualway would be offering foreign language tours in Dublin.

Process Steps

Dualway had produced a script of the tour that they wanted to have translated into six languages: French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian and Japanese.

For the translation part of the project, we opted to use native-speaker linguists who either lived in the city, or knew it very well, as we thought that they would produce the best translations.

Hints & Tips

It is important to have a proper brief and to establish how clients wish us to handle things, such as local names.

Once completed, our translations were reviewed by Dualway and we then did a final run-through to check that everything was fine.


For the voice recordings, we picked people who were experienced native-speaker voiceover artists, living in Ireland, as we knew that their knowledge of Dublin would be an enormous asset when it came to pronouncing Irish names.

After all of the translations had been reviewed and completed, we sent one of our audio technicians over to Dublin to do the recordings. We used a portable recording studio for this project, as all the voiceover artists were based in Ireland, but in different locations.

Our technician then worked back at the studio to produce the final version. It was uploaded into the sound system on the Dualway coaches and was ready to use.


Whilst operating their routes, the bus drivers encountered an interesting problem. We had warned Dualway that the translations would result in more words in the language versions than in the original English, but they decided to leave them as they were for the moment and record these longer versions.

Unfortunately, the bus drivers were finding that they had to hope for red traffic lights all the time. They also had to drive really slowly to allow time for the spoken commentary to be heard in the language versions.

We worked with Dualway to cut down the script to ensure that the commentary was at an appropriate length, so that the bus drivers didn’t have these problems any more.

We were able to edit out certain sentences, so that we didn’t have to re-record anything, thus saving Dualway a lot of money.

Dublin City Bus Tours


The language versions of the tour were very well received by the tourists.

Hints & Tips

It is always worthwhile taking into consideration the fact that text can expand by up to 30% in other languages compared with the original English.

Where timings are critical, it will be necessary to cut down the number of words in the original so that the translated versions can fit into the timings allowed.

An interesting issue

A couple of years after this was introduced, Comms went over to Ireland again to re-record some alterations to the script. This was because Dublin City Council had decided to change the one way traffic system in the city.

What this meant in practice was that the route of the tour had to change and therefore some of the tracks and a lot of the track timings too.

The same sound technician that we had used originally begged to be sent back – probably something to do with the Guinness!

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