Case Study
NBC Universal: Untitled Aziz Ansari Project
How iProbe helped with Tamil and Mandarin pronunciation

The Tamil coach stands with a laptop in hand together with an actor

Our Tamil language coach on set of the Untitled Aziz Ansari Project helps actors rehearse the Tamil dialogue.

the client's need

we helped with

  • script translation
  • creation of phonetic script
  • audio recording of the lines
  • on-set coaching

the challenge

iProbe was contracted by NBC's Universal Television to supply translation services and foreign language coaches for Tamil and Mandarin (Taiwan) for the pilot of the Untitled Aziz Ansari Project. The Mandarin services delivered were similar to the Tamil though the Tamil had more lines. The below write-up focuses on the Tamil part of the job.

the solution

prep before the shoot

The pilot of the show included performances in the Tamil language to be delivered by actors not fluent in Tamil. A few days before the shoot, we prepped the script with one column for the English lines, one for the Tamil translation and one for the Tamil phonetic transcript for pronunciation purposes. This 3-column script along with the Tamil audio recording delivered in advance for the actors to rehearse before the shoot.

The Tamil coach stands with a laptop in hand together with an actor<

Our Tamil language coach on the set of Untitled Aziz Ansari Project helps actors rehearse the Tamil dialogue.

on set

on the day of the shoot, Nivedita, our onsite language coach, worked with the actors on Tamil pronunciation. The lines got changed a few times, suitable to the scene sequence or situation, and also to make it easier when actors had difficulty with some of the lines. The director would either say the dialog in Tamil and check with Nivedita to see if that was correct in terms of context and pronunciation or say the lines in English, for our coach to translate into Tamil.

each dialog and scene sequence was rehearsed with the actors 15-20 times before shooting the scene. Each scene had 10-15 takes was monitored to ensure correct delivery of the dialog and pronunciation. Nivedita kept track of the changes to the lines.

The Mandarin language coach with paper and pen in her pocket poses with actors<

Our Taiwanese language coach (on the right with blue coat) poses with actors after the Mandarin dialogue takes.

wrap up for post-production

since the final program would have English subtitles, the as-recorded Tamil, Tamil phonetic transcript and English translation was handed off for to make editing easier during post-production.

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