The Little Mermaid

“Part of Your World” in 22 Languages

Multi-language video created with help from SoS

You can watch the video on YouTube via this link:

Part of Your World (Multi-Language Version)

Disney has posted a video of the song “Part of Your World” from the recent film “The Little Mermaid” showcasing Ariel’s singing dubbed in 22 languages. SoS transcribed Halley Bailey’s original performance and created sheet music for Disney that is used to create Ariel’s voice in other languages. The video is a rare opportunity to hear Ariel’s many worldwide voices together. However, this is only a portion of the various languages in which Disney films are dubbed.

In the USA, few people are aware of the international reach of major films and the need for proper localization. There is a worldwide network of hundreds of people who make this possible. They include voice actors, background singers, voice directors, translators, audio engineers, producers, cultural consultants, and more; plus an administrative team to manage this huge effort.

Localization starts with a dedicated team of Disney employees and contractors who coordinate with productions and create all the necessary materials for dubbing. They document everything in the film that needs localization, from dialog, signs, and text, to humor and cultural references that may not make sense in foreign contexts.

Songs provide a unique challenge, and music transcription and sheet music creation are essential to accurate dubbing. Sheet music created by SoS provides a common starting point for all languages to understand exactly what is in the English-language version of the film, and decide how best to adapt it to the local language.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny film poster

Indiana Jones and the Dubbing of “Destiny”

SoS provides music transcription for the final Indiana Jones film

It’s a busy summer of film releases for Symbols of Sound. The latest is “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny”. There were a few vocals in this film that needed to be transcribed for foreign dubbing.

When dubbing musical films in foreign languages, it’s obvious that the lyrics need to be translated and dubbed. But few people realize that even in non-musical films, anytime a character sings a little ditty or hums to themselves, it can provide a challenge for foreign dubbing. This is especially true if their vocals are important to understand the plot of the film, create humor, or provide clues about the character’s feelings. (Plots, humor, and clues are all very important to Indiana Jones!)

Beyond translating any lyrics, it is necessary to determine how the syllables of the new language line up with the musical notes so the dubbed vocal can match what’s on screen. If the vocal doesn’t have lyrics, the voice actors dubbing the film still need to know the pitches and rhythms of the vocals. This is why accurate music transcription and notation of the original film is important. Translators and voice actors rely on accurate sheet music to properly adapt and re-record the vocals.

Disney Character Voices International once again turned to SoS’s expertise and years of experience transcribing vocals to get the job done. We are not sharing exactly what our work was in “The Dial of Destiny”. You’ll have to see the film to find out if Indy breaks out into song. No spoilers here!

SoS is Elemental to Pixar’s worldwide strategy

Stealing the show with Lauv

Symbols of Sound’s second Disney feature of this summer is the Pixar film “Elemental”. SoS transcribed all vocals from Lauv’s song “Steal The Show”, and created vocal sheet music that exactly matched the various versions of the song in the film. Disney used this sheet music to dub the film in numerous languages as it was prepared for worldwide distribution.

“Steal The Show” provided dubbing challenges with the heavy processing and synth/vocoder effects used to create the background sounds in the song. SoS’s vocal charts enabled foreign language performers to produce versions of the song that were true to the original, even if the audio effects used on the original vocals were not available.

The Little Mermaid

SoS contributes to remake of another Disney classic

SoS worked on a number Disney films to be released this summer. The first is the live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid”. SoS transcribed all vocal performances, including the new recordings of the classic songs and new songs by Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda. The transcriptions, used to dub the non-English language versions of the film, give Ariel, Sebastian, Ursula, and the other characters the ability to sing to audiences in their own languages throughout the world.

“The Little Mermaid” features wonderful performances by Halle Bailey, Daveed Diggs, Awkwafina, and Melissa McCarthy.

2022 Highlights

In spite of the continuing COVID pandemic, 2022 had a number of highlights for Symbols of Sound. It was a busy year for our work with Disney, beginning with an Oscar for 2021’s Encanto. The year also saw work on a number of features including Turning Red, Disenchanted, Strange World, Pinocchio, Hocus Pocus 2, Chip ‘N Dale Rescue Rangers, Fire Island, Amsterdam, and Zombies 3; as well as several TV and streaming specials such as The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, Mickey Saves Christmas, and Lego Star Wars Summer Vacation; along with the usual run of regular TV and streaming series episodes.

Aside from Disney, SoS provided music preparation for the Oscar-nominated film Women Talking, and printing sheet music to be used in scenes for the Whitney Houston biopic I Wanna Dance With Somebody.

In the live performance realm, SoS once again provided music contracting and music preparation for the annual SCL Awards, a show which becomes a larger part of the Hollywood awards season every year.

One surprise highlight of 2022 was a wonderful orchestral demo recording for “The Little Women Musical” composed by Dan Redfeld with lyrics by Christina Harding and John Koladziej. Aside from music preparation, SoS’s Jason Poss also provided score reading and “golden ears” in the booth for multiple days of orchestra and vocal recordings.

Watch this space for news about more exciting projects in 2023.