Software opens door for more Māori speakers to voice over international films

By Mārena Mane

VoiceQ is a software tool designed to automatically dub foreign-language dialogue for television and film production. The software has been used to translate movies like Squid Games from Korean to English, Money Heist from Spanish to English and Disney’s Moana from English to te reo Māori.

"This year we're very excited to see some more Disney productions - The Lion King and Frozen - and that will be through our partners Kokko Media. So mihi to Chelsea Winstanley and Tweedie Waititi, and all the whānau whānui at the organisation there. A huge project and very, very humbled that VoiceQ can be an integral part of the tech that supports the domain," Kiwa Digital CEO Steven Renata says.

This year Kiwa Digital are giving whānau the chance to utilise their VoiceQ actor application to test and practise voice-overs.

"So what we're doing is we are bringing the VoiceQ actor application and we are giving it to voice talent all over the world and the motu for free for the next 12 months - to help them professionalise their skills, get them ready for the professional auditions that they'll be doing, and just making them the best they can be."

Founder of both Kiwa Digital and VoiceQ, Rhonda Kite of Te Aupōuri, has paved the way for the company's work with indigenous groups around the world, using technology to preserve indigenous knowledge in formats that are relevant and accessible.

"Rhonda Kite, who developed VoiceQ software back in 2003. We've built on that mahi and her inspiration and commitment by building a very comprehensive feature set, particularly for the creative talent - who are people like those that do the translations, the adaptation of the translated script, the creative directors, who then also give direction to the voice talent and, of course, the stars of the show the voice talent themselves."

The software opens the door for Aotearoa to translate more international movies and Kiwa Digital want more reo speakers to have the opportunity to participate.

"Those of you that have got an aspiration to be the future voice talent in the creative aspects of dubbing here in Aotearoa and around the world, please come to, download your free VoiceQ actor subscription, have a look at some of the other products. We want to create the best voice talent in the world and grow this whole sector. So come and see us, we're really keen to awhi you," says Renata.