Japanese voice actors / Seiyus

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Japanese voice actors / Seiyus

#1 Post by nash » Sun May 29, 2016 5:11 pm

Hello dear LSF community and creators,

I have a question regarding voice actors for visual novels. Actually I'm interested in japanese voice actors and looking for some, but I don't know where I should start my research.

Unfortunately I can't speak or read japanese well (I'm a beginner) and now I find myself in a situation where it's kind of hard for a foreigner to looking for especially japanese voice actors. I'm afraid it will fail due to communication barriers, but I still want to try.

Therefore I want to ask if somone in the community here has already experience with japanese voice actors and can tell me where I can get in touch with some Seiyus. What would be great is when there are some indie voice actors or even seiyus from Doujin circles - but don't know if there are any in this niche at all.

I haven't made a final decision to really use japanese voices in my visual novel but I want to gather some information beforehand and then decide.

Looking forward to your help and great answers~

Nash
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Re: Japanese voice actors / Seiyus

#2 Post by cecy » Mon May 30, 2016 4:39 am

I genuinely don't see the point of adding Japanese voice acting to a game if you can't speak or read Japanese. Is the game in English? It would just be better to use the language your game is in to avoid communication issues, timezone problems, and just the general hassle of not speaking Japanese. Honestly, doesn't sound like a good idea.

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Re: Japanese voice actors / Seiyus

#3 Post by nash » Mon May 30, 2016 6:21 am

cecy wrote:I genuinely don't see the point of adding Japanese voice acting to a game if you can't speak or read Japanese. Is the game in English? It would just be better to use the language your game is in to avoid communication issues, timezone problems, and just the general hassle of not speaking Japanese. Honestly, doesn't sound like a good idea.
Thanks for your reply and feedback.

Yes the game is at least in english and yeah the idea may sounds odd, but it's just an extra feature which isn't decided yet. The idea is to improved the game and make it more lively. In the case voice acting will be added, my only condition is that is has to be japanese voice. Simple thing, it's just a matter of my personal taste that I'd rather prefer japanese than english voice acting (same with Anime).

As I said before in the first place I want to gather more information about japanese voice acting for e.g. where to search or how to get in contact with people - who knows maybe it's really impossible for somone outside to hire a japanese voice actor, then it's settled for me. So therefore if somone has experience or knowledge regarding this matter, then I'd really appreciate it when he/she could share some information.
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Re: Japanese voice actors / Seiyus

#4 Post by Parataxis » Mon May 30, 2016 8:20 am

I think the disconnect we're seeing is that: if you don't speak Japanese, and your game is in English, what do you expect your Japanese Voice actors to SAY? Are you going to engage a translator to translate your novel into Japanese for the SOLE PURPOSE of having a side "livening up" feature?

I am not sure it is impossible to hire a native Japanese speaker online, but I am gonna say it'd probably be fairly difficult to engage some one, like, in the Japanese seiyu industry if that's what you mean.

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Re: Japanese voice actors / Seiyus

#5 Post by hoihoisoi » Mon May 30, 2016 9:02 am

If I were to add voice acting in my project (If I could afford it that is), I'd definitely try to get Japanese voice actors for it as well. It just sounds more natural, I don't know, but I'm in agreement with you on this. It's probably just a personal preference though. X(

The big hurdle of course is that you'd have to translate your entire script into Japanese with the help of professional translators which would cost you quite a bit. And I'm also assuming if you do eventually find some indie Seiyuus, they would probably be pretty expensive to employ as well. So the total cost from just the voice acting itself would just be huge although this depends on your script and how much dialogue there is in it.

The good thing however is if you eventually do decide to translate your script, that gives you the opportunity to tap into the Japanese market which is one of the largest consumers of VNs. That being said, even the translation work alone would rack up a pretty serious bill all by itself. Well, that's just my opinion on the matter though.

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Re: Japanese voice actors / Seiyus

#6 Post by nash » Mon May 30, 2016 10:45 am

Parataxis wrote:I think the disconnect we're seeing is that: if you don't speak Japanese, and your game is in English, what do you expect your Japanese Voice actors to SAY? Are you going to engage a translator to translate your novel into Japanese for the SOLE PURPOSE of having a side "livening up" feature?

I am not sure it is impossible to hire a native Japanese speaker online, but I am gonna say it'd probably be fairly difficult to engage some one, like, in the Japanese seiyu industry if that's what you mean.
Yes correct, for this purpose there has to be a japanese translated script, which I'll get and provide beforehand if that's the case adding voice acting. (´。• ω •。`)

Eventually I might stay alone with my opinion but a game with voice acting has a completely different game experience than a game without. It can help to emphasizes characters and make them unique.
I think 'voice' is something you not only hear but also can imagine, thus you associate a character with a specific voice type you have in mind and imagine how they would speak with you.
Thinking back, all the Visual Novels I played wouldn't have had the same effect on me if they hadn't character voices. Also the fact that actually the most Visual Novels have voice acting, has a meaning in it.

To cut a long story short, before I started this thread I knew that it wouldn't be easy to get japanese voice acting, but including the things I mentioned previously, for me it was worth a feature to consider or at least to investigate.

Maybe I should have rephrase my question to "Is it possible for an Indie developer to add japanese voice acting without any foreign business relations or a big publisher?".
If yes I would like to know how and where to start and if no then why i.e. because of financial aspects, communication barriers, etc.

P.S. yeah I really like cute japanese voices~ (//▽//)
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Re: Japanese voice actors / Seiyus

#7 Post by Cotton Blue » Mon May 30, 2016 11:16 am

Well, I have thought to include seiyuus for my visual novel. It's something I must do.

In other side, although not enough, the rate of seiyuus is not at all expensive depending on the length of the script, but if you want to get one, you must first talk to the company with which they are affiliated, and that's the hard part, because it must be good business, benefits them besides money. And as you know, the Japanese are somewhat discriminative to foreigners.

It is not impossible, but if you plan it, then it would be best your visual novel will advertised by Japan, to be recognized as a work of that seiyuu.

As we have common goals, if you find information please let me know TuT

Note: I saw a vn in Indiegogo, which had two seiyuus of Japanese origin. Again I say, it's not impossible, but difficult.

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Re: Japanese voice actors / Seiyus

#8 Post by Sleepy » Mon May 30, 2016 2:05 pm

Though I agree that VAs can create a better, more immersive experience, I'm wondering if you'll get your bang for your buck if your chief condition to including VAing is 'must be Japanese'. What would be your budget, as cost of a good translation (particularly if you need to hire a translator to act as a go-between or to coordinate actors) quickly jumps up? Do you plan on aiming for a JP audience/release as well? Do you need to hire a lot of VAs or is it a small game and script? Do you have funding or a strong base to show it'd be worth the effort/profitability for them to work with you?

I don't think it's impossible but I think the indie VN games that get JP actors on places like indie/kickstarter at least have a contact or basing in Japan. Especially since some companies/groups might want to meet someone in-person (which, even if you can swing, you'll still need someone familiar with language and business practices there).

Honestly, I'd advise keeping your options open if you really want voices. There are some good revenues for affordable non-JP VAs with groups like the Voice Acting Power Squad or even just on the sub-forum here and such. But if you do manage to get something to work, it'd be interested to hear how for reference.
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Re: Japanese voice actors / Seiyus

#9 Post by Graff » Mon May 30, 2016 2:50 pm

Communication barrier wouldn't be all that hard. I've used Elance to hire a Korean translator so that I could contact various Korean artists. It wasn't expensive, but it depends on word count. If this is something you really want to do, I say go for it.

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Re: Japanese voice actors / Seiyus

#10 Post by nash » Mon May 30, 2016 4:37 pm

Cotton Blue wrote: As we have common goals, if you find information please let me know TuT
Alright (◕‿◕)
Sleepy wrote:Though I agree that VAs can create a better, more immersive experience, I'm wondering if you'll get your bang for your buck if your chief condition to including VAing is 'must be Japanese'. What would be your budget, as cost of a good translation (particularly if you need to hire a translator to act as a go-between or to coordinate actors) quickly jumps up? Do you plan on aiming for a JP audience/release as well? Do you need to hire a lot of VAs or is it a small game and script? Do you have funding or a strong base to show it'd be worth the effort/profitability for them to work with you?

I don't think it's impossible but I think the indie VN games that get JP actors on places like indie/kickstarter at least have a contact or basing in Japan. Especially since some companies/groups might want to meet someone in-person (which, even if you can swing, you'll still need someone familiar with language and business practices there).

Honestly, I'd advise keeping your options open if you really want voices. There are some good revenues for affordable non-JP VAs with groups like the Voice Acting Power Squad or even just on the sub-forum here and such. But if you do manage to get something to work, it'd be interested to hear how for reference.
Hi Sleepy,

If it's about money I can afford paid work, but yeah let's face it, I'm a mere Indie developer and wouldn't have enough to pay for a full VA project with professional Seiyuus. If it really comes to this point I'll have to dependent on fundraising and those stuff, but there are so many factors to even reach this case. Initially I never want nor expect to make a complex and big project out there at all.

For the state of my project, I'm still in the early birds and because of my perfectionism-complex I have been writing for 2 years now, thus the only thing I can provide now is an unfinished script. Before the script isn't complete, there will be no focus on other things such as graphics and even voice. However in the meantime and for future development I've also make some gameplay concepts and gathered a lot of information for potential artists and other people (stalking~).

In the end this is what I mean with many factors. If the state is reached I plan to make a introduction and depending on the feedback I get, this project will be expanded or not. Maybe it's not well received by people then perhaps I won't plan to extend it. Well enough of my bla bla~

To be honest I have expected that there are more possibilities regarding JP VA. That's said I actually haven't focused on a professional level of VA, but more like newcomer/amateur or any upcoming doujin circle VA (does this even exist?!). I thought there would be some japanese amateur VA communities, but I guess without connections and relationships with the right person you can forget it (╥﹏╥)
Graff wrote:Communication barrier wouldn't be all that hard. I've used Elance to hire a Korean translator so that I could contact various Korean artists. It wasn't expensive, but it depends on word count. If this is something you really want to do, I say go for it.
Thank you for the tip (´。• ᵕ •。`)
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Re: Japanese voice actors / Seiyus

#11 Post by 78909087 » Mon May 30, 2016 5:01 pm

Popping in a comment to keep this post under my watch.
If you've got a full script, there is a new group of translators on Lemmasoft here that I found before reading this thread.
I can't help with finding actual seiyuu, but you might be able to find people who are fluent enough in both languages to work things out. I wish you luck!
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Re: Japanese voice actors / Seiyus

#12 Post by Darim » Mon May 30, 2016 6:15 pm

It's not impossible with a medium sized budget.
You can hire a Studio which provide all the services you need, like casting the actors, record and mastering.
The most Studios are working with VA Agencies so they can show you a few samples. Also the contact person often can speak english.

If we are talking about a full translation of the script with notes for the actors + the voice acting itself and all the other services, you should be prepared to pay something around 1300$ to 2500$ for a 100K words VN.

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Re: Japanese voice actors / Seiyus

#13 Post by Chu-3 » Sat Jun 04, 2016 12:09 pm

it will be quite expensive if you contact the agencies, since you will need to pay the agency fees as well.
getting japanese VA is very easy and cheap if you have japanese script and can speak japanese to recruit them.
some of them even will to work for free since the number of Japanese VA has been overwhelmed lately, compared to the available jobs, though I suggest you to pay for sure. You though, will need to pay more if your work include R18 elements/ have a long scripts to read.

Usually they take job from twitter (people tweet about the audition), but if you do audition through twitter like what I do, some of the applicants might be only doujin/hobby VA (though most of them are used by mobile social Japanese games). Usually if your project is interesting enough, even pro VA who are belongs to agency will apply (like the VAs in my games are mostly pro who appeared on TV dub, or side character at anime), though they mostly will use handle name (some agency forbid most of the VA using the "front name" in doujin/indies work)

Using studio help like what Darwin said is easy too, but you need to make sure the script is the final version and there won't be any retakes. Actually this is what I did for my first game but now I choose to direct the voices personally, because I need the voices to be recorded before the alpha test, and after the test I might need them to retake again, which means if I use studio I will need to pay a lot for the studio.
Not mention that, some of my VAs now lived in different cities, made them hard to gather in a same studio.
I chose people who can do home recording, so I can pay them more, not the studio, but if you do that the problem is, you need skill to adjust all the voice quality or volume, adding compression and other.

I also used to help people to get Japanese VA too before, but I found some projects are...discontinued and therefore I won't help anyone else if I don't have enough time or I don't know him/ her quite close.

Still, like what other people said, I don't really suggest you to use Japanese VA if you don't understand Japanese or if you don't have Japanese sound director. You will need to check the voice data, where some of the VA might read the text wrongly, even if it's only a single word like "na" or "yo", etc. Also, the lip noise, how clear the pronunciation, etc...
Actually this's my reason why I can't use English VA, since my English is not that good to judge if the pronunciation is correct or not, or the acting is correct or not....

*sorry for my bad english

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Re: Japanese voice actors / Seiyus

#14 Post by nash » Wed Jun 08, 2016 2:35 pm

Chu-3 wrote:it will be quite expensive if you contact the agencies, since you will need to pay the agency fees as well.
getting japanese VA is very easy and cheap if you have japanese script and can speak japanese to recruit them.
some of them even will to work for free since the number of Japanese VA has been overwhelmed lately, compared to the available jobs, though I suggest you to pay for sure. You though, will need to pay more if your work include R18 elements/ have a long scripts to read.

Usually they take job from twitter (people tweet about the audition), but if you do audition through twitter like what I do, some of the applicants might be only doujin/hobby VA (though most of them are used by mobile social Japanese games). Usually if your project is interesting enough, even pro VA who are belongs to agency will apply (like the VAs in my games are mostly pro who appeared on TV dub, or side character at anime), though they mostly will use handle name (some agency forbid most of the VA using the "front name" in doujin/indies work)

Using studio help like what Darwin said is easy too, but you need to make sure the script is the final version and there won't be any retakes. Actually this is what I did for my first game but now I choose to direct the voices personally, because I need the voices to be recorded before the alpha test, and after the test I might need them to retake again, which means if I use studio I will need to pay a lot for the studio.
Not mention that, some of my VAs now lived in different cities, made them hard to gather in a same studio.
I chose people who can do home recording, so I can pay them more, not the studio, but if you do that the problem is, you need skill to adjust all the voice quality or volume, adding compression and other.

I also used to help people to get Japanese VA too before, but I found some projects are...discontinued and therefore I won't help anyone else if I don't have enough time or I don't know him/ her quite close.

Still, like what other people said, I don't really suggest you to use Japanese VA if you don't understand Japanese or if you don't have Japanese sound director. You will need to check the voice data, where some of the VA might read the text wrongly, even if it's only a single word like "na" or "yo", etc. Also, the lip noise, how clear the pronunciation, etc...
Actually this's my reason why I can't use English VA, since my English is not that good to judge if the pronunciation is correct or not, or the acting is correct or not....

*sorry for my bad english
Wow thank you for the helpful information! It helps me a lot to get a better idea about this about (´。• ᵕ •。`)

If I have understood correctly, there actually are some japanese doujin/hobby VA, right? Because this is exactly what I'm looking for, since I mentioned before that I initially didn't plan to expand it to a huge project, because it's my first one. Though there might be JP VA, I don't plan to aim the japanese as the main audience. It's just a feature that I personally like and would implement if I had the chance to. But first I've to finish my script and then let's see ...

Thanks again. So here is one last question. May I ask you whether it's possible to contact you in the future? So when I really reach the milestone and the question arises if VA should be implemented, then I might need further help. Therefore it would be nice to ask somone who already has experience with this topic (◕‿◕)
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Re: Japanese voice actors / Seiyus

#15 Post by Chibinett » Wed Apr 18, 2018 5:29 am

I know I'm 2 years late but I'm all for self-expression without limits. I say if you want Japanese voices, do it! I believe it really creates a real character voice, and obviously shows the audience where the character comes from and how they sound. But Japanese voices may be difficult to find... If you were to, I'd suggest hiring English voice actor if you can't get Japanese and just getting them to say just very simple one-word phrases in Japanese and reuse them. For example, just "はい!" "一寸..." You know, simple things you can reuse in scenes with the dialogue in the text box. Similar to Danganronpa.

I really hope that all makes sense!

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