We’ve all had a script before with that one word (or two, or three or ten) that we had no clue how to pronounce. It could be a medical term, a company name or even an individuals name.
So what’s a voice talent to do?
5 Pronunciation Tips For Voice Talents
1) Pronunciation Guide: Ask for one. It seems like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t think to do it. If you know you’ll need help with words, ask your client for a pronunciation guide.
2) Call The Office: I actually did this yesterday. I had a company name I wasn’t sure how to pronounce. It was after hours and I couldn’t get a proper pronunciation from the producer. Thanks to Google, I found the web site for the company in question, got their phone number, called it, and heard the proper pronunciation straight from their voicemail greeting.
3) Forvo.com: Have you ever been there? “Forvo: All the words in the world. Pronounced.” That’s it. That’s the site tag line. It’s got me out of a number of jams in the past.
4) YouTube: This is great for company names and names of cities or the like. Type it into YouTube and odds are you’re going to find a related video. A commercial. An interview. A promo video for the company. I’ve found numerous pronunciations by doing this.
5) Dictionary.com: When all else fails, turn to your trusty dictionary. On Dictionary.com (and a few other dictionary sites) they have audio pronunciations for most words. If that fails, written pronunciation keys are always there to guide you.
Ask First. Always!
The last thing you want to do is record a job, say the word (or words) wrong throughout the entire recording, and then send it to the client only to have them send it back. It makes you look like a fool and it wastes a lot of time. Your time and the clients time.
Don’t ever be ashamed or embarrassed to ask for pronunciation help. You’ll look a lot smarter asking up front then being corrected when it’s too late!