Getting Your Voice Over Recorded: Name Pronunciations

Hello! Today, I have a little tip for you to help you prepare your voiceover recording session before you send your script off to the voiceover talent, or before you send your script off to multiple voiceover talents for them to record auditions with your script.

This tip will apply to scripts that are very technical in nature, like medical scripts or pharmaceutical or anything very scientific, to scripts where we have to say an unusual or uncommon brand name, or in scripts where we have a lot of people’s names.

For instance, I record a lot of VOG scripts (Voice of God), which are basically announcer scripts at live events where we hear the announcer, but we don’t see the announcer. In those scripts, we’re introducing a lot of people. So this little tip is very helpful for that, or even for documentaries, where we’re also saying people’s names.

So my little tip is super simple. If there are technical terms that are not available on the Merriam-Webster website (that’s where we can punch in words and hear them pronounced). If there are people’s names, or brand names that are unusual and that are not available on YouTube, either because there’s been no video made about them, or they’re not well known enough, get those clients or those people whose names we’re saying to take their smart phone out and record those names into it and send you the recordings via email, and then you can pass those onto us.

Having an audio reference is just ten times better than having the phonetic transcription, because that can easily be misinterpreted. You can say the emphasis wrong. I once recorded the same name  five different ways and it still wasn’t right. So having that audio reference helps me listen and record it until I get it right.

The other thing is, it just is better if the client or the people whose names we’re saying can hear the final production and have their names, or those words said correctly. It just looks better for everybody. And it just avoids a lot of back and forth, like I said, because sometimes you have to record multiple options. None of them may be right, and it’s very, very time consuming for everybody.

Now, I’m going to get you to take this a step further if you’re producing content for the Quebec market, which is bilingual. Because some names, including brand names, people’s names, or even technical terms can be said sometimes the same way in both languages, but sometimes we say them differently, and sometimes there’s a preference to make a word sound more French or sound more English depending on who the audience is and what the nature of the subject is. So it’s very helpful if the person or the brand name can be said in the way that it should be said in both languages.