Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Voice Over Pronunciation Guides

Many years have passed since I began using my voice professionally. (This reminiscence comes after listening to my 1989 commercial demo, which was recorded many years after my start in voice over. You can hear it here.) In that time I have recorded over 16,000 commercials for radio and television. I've also written more copy than I care to remember. Or could at this stage of life.

When in the studio it is easy to ask the director how certain words, names, and places are pronounced. Voice artists using their own studio do not have that luxury. Just because a writer knows the correct pronunciation of what they are writing, it does not mean everyone is privy to that information.

Take "Gananoque" as an example. How would you say that name? People who see the name of that town for the first time often say, "Ga-na-na-kew", even though it is pronounced "Ganna-nok-way".

How about these two? Gore and Gower. "Gore" is pronounced "Gower" in some areas and "Gower" is verbalised as "Gore".

These examples are used to illustrate the importance of providing pronunciation guides to voice talent.

Since these guides aren't always available, I've made a short list of websites that will help.

For name pronunciation try:

http://www.pronouncenames.com/

or

http://inogolo.com/

And there's also http://howjsay.com/


For other words try:

http://www.forvo.com/languages-pronunciations/en/

For those asked to use a foreign accent or dialect, this archive is invaluable:

http://dialectsarchive.com/

Unfortunately, you are on your own when it comes to minor company names.