The World of the Voice-Over

Reviews

 

 

ITI Bulletin

(The Journal of the Institute of Translation & Interpreting)

 

May-June 2007 issue

 

Review by Marie Désy-Field, translator and voice-over artist

 

 

“If you intend to try the world of voice-over, then this book is a must”, declares Patrick Lunt, BBC broadcaster and distinguished freelance voice-over artist, in his foreward. I agree with him entirely. Why? Well, for one thing, the first part of the book covers the specific requirements of a translator. The link between translation and voice-over is a new and refreshing approach. How many times have you translated a piece for recording without the benefit of any guidance? In the past, we had to use our intuition, but now, help is at hand.

The book is divided into two main parts:

The work of the translator and The work of the voice.

In the first part, Pageon’s aim is to “help ‘traditional’ translators become translators of the spoken word”. He tackles definitions, technical parameters, spoken versus written words, length and gives examples of texts translated to be read aloud: surveys conducted over the phone, automated telephone systems/telephone prompts, CD, CD-ROM or DVD to train people. In the chapter The readability, Pageon explains how to go about translating these types of texts and illustrates with useful examples in different languages. He sees it as an interesting challenge: “It will give you the opportunity to meet new people in a different working environment.” He explains the different types of synchronisation (“down and under”, phrase-synch and lip-synch), possible involvement in a project like an advertising campaign - where the input from the translator is crucial - the importance of deadlines and general knowledge. He goes on to explain about formatting the script, with great tips on text presentation, and subtitling of films, because of its similarity with translating “voice-overs”.

“Voice-over is the action of voicing over the picture; it is also the result of that action.”

The second part deals with all aspects of the voice-over world, starting with an explanation of how studio recording works, including the instance when the voice-over artist listens to one language and speaks in his or her native tongue at the same time while watching a video. This could appeal to interpreters who are used to this type of situation where they listen while talking. The section Speaking one language while listening to another deals with it in more detail. Other sections give practical information about studio etiquette, how to become a voice, how to train the voice and the importance of keeping up with your native language, not to forget how to market our services and of course, a word or two about fees. Would you like to build your own studio? Well, there’s plenty here to show you how to do it.

“The secret of achieving this control lies in the use of the body. When we listen to a good voice-over what we are actually listening to is good audible body language” declares Bernard Graham Shaw, voice-over producer. No wonder Pageon devoted one full chapter to the Alexander Technique where he explains its origin and describes its numerous benefits. It takes its name from F. Matthias Alexander (1869-1955), a former Shakespearean recitalist/orator, who first observed and formulated its principles between 1890 and 1900. “In those days, as there were no amplification systems in the great halls, actors had to have a stentorian voice to be heard and master the art of projection to the full…but it did not stop him losing his voice! The doctors not being able to help, he decided he had to find out for himself the whys and wherefores of his condition”. Overall, the Alexander Technique “teaches you how to avoid unnecessary strain in everyday activities, leading to greater freedom and ease of movement.”

Contrary to Pageon’s suggestion in his introduction, the short section on teambuilding did not surprise me. I am reminded of solo round the world yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur use of the word ‘we’ to emphasise the importance of the contribution of her shore-based team. As Pageon explains: “by building a team spirit you make your clients as aware of your needs as you become aware of theirs. To satisfy the needs of both parties, working as a team will make the process much smoother.” We all know that it is easier said than done, but it makes good sense, doesn’t it?

The book has a comprehensive index, is easy to read and is a mine of information, not to mention some illustrative anecdotes. I wish it had been around when I started translating for the spoken word, but I was very lucky to have Pageon as my voice-over guide, so I heard it from His Master’s Voice!

 

Published by the ITI Bulletin in its May-June 2007 issue

Click here for full article

 

 

(Marie Désy-Field has been translating for 14 years. She started recording voice-overs 5 years ago for end clients such as Microsoft, Kodak and Continental Airlines. She is a member of the ITI, CIoL and OTTIAQ (Ordre des traducteurs, terminologues et interprètes agréés du Québec).

 

 


The Linguist

(Official Publication of The Chartered Institute of Linguists)

 

Review Rannheid Sharma

 

Published on page 26 of the February/March 2008 issue

 

After working in voice-overs for over 30 years, Daniel Pageon has made his insider knowledge accessible to others, and the result is intensely practical. Dealing with how to write scripts for voice-over, how to train the voice, studio etiquette, subtitling, lip-synch, speaking to camera, and marketing.

The World of the Voice-over will be useful not only to aspiring voice-over artists, but also to translators who work with scripts and subtitles. Pageon’s tips include advice on what to do if you fluff your lines, and a reminder that the mic can pick up noise from jewellery and rustling scripts. The fact that his examples and advice span a great range of languages makes them all the more useful.

There is information about sight-reading, how to improve your reading and articulation, formatting the script transcribing, making that all important demo, the history of voice-overs, and where to market yourself. In fact, it is difficult to think of anything that has been left out. Several pages are devoted to the work of the translator, as it is where much of the groundwork is laid and the section should help translators to see things from the other side of the fence.

Techies can find out how to build their own studio, and those who suffer from tension and back problems (posture being so important for the voice), get an introduction to the Alexander technique. All this is contained in a handy paper back format, with a comprehensive index that makes it easy to find the information you need.

Over the years Pageon has given many lectures on voice-over, and this book should enable him to reach a wider audience. Although it would have benefited from an extra proofreading, and some might find it a little too “French”, I have found myself referring to it regularly. This is definitely one to keep within easy reach.

               Rannheid Sharma

 


 

 

In Other Words...

 (The Journal for literary Translators)


Review Published in the Winter 2007 Number 30 Edition

 

by Nick Caistor Page 95

 

In Other Words Review by Nick Castor

 


 

 

The Stage 12th July 2007 Edition Page 33

 

 

Book review by Richard Anthony Baker

 

 

Given the lucrative nature of voice-over work, actors browsing in a bookshop may find the title, The World of the voice-over, jumps out at them. After all, more can be earned in a few hours in a recording studio than in a whole week in the theatre. But this is not how to Get into Voice-overs. Nor is it How to be as Successful as Martin Jarvis.

Daniel Pageon, who has worked in voice-overs for more than 30 years, divides his book into three – how to write a script, how to get the voice right and how to built a studio. The average actor is not likely to be interested in the third option, although he may be involved in the first. Writing scripts to be heard by a viewer or a listener is a very different ability from writing scripts to be read from the printed page, as any journalist who moves from newspapers to broadcasting knows well.

As for voice production, some advice here is obvious – keep a glass of water by your side, and remember scripts make a noise when they are turned over. Also how studio lights work and to deal with fluffs. But there is more useful advice too. Sound knowledgeable even if you are not, and work out which words to emphasise. In addition, learn to sight-read. Voice coaches still advise against eating dairy products to stop you coughing. It is hard to see why, but it works.

And improve your articulation: “She stood upon the balustraded balcony, inexplicably mimicking him hiccupping and amicably welcoming him in.”

Try it out loud.

            Richard Anthony Baker


 Circuit

 

Official publication of OTTIAQ

 

(Ordre des traducteurs, terminologues et interprètes agréés du Québec)

 

Review by Marie Désy-Field

 

In the world of voice-over, this book is a must

Daniel Pageon’s book covers the specific requirement of a translator. The link between translation and voice-over is a new and refreshing approach. How many times have you translated a piece of recording without the benefit of guidance? In the past, we had to use our intuition; but now help is at end.

Review by Marie Désy-Field, translator and voice-over artist

In the first part of The work of the Translator, Pageon’s aim is to “help ‘traditional’ translators become translators of the spoken word”. He tackles definitions, technical parameters, spoken versus written words, length and gives examples of texts translated to be read aloud: surveys conducted over the phone, automated telephone systems/telephone prompts, CD, CD-ROM or DVD to train people. In the chapter The readability, Pageon explains how to go about translating these types of texts and illustrates with useful examples in different languages. He sees it as an interesting challenge: “It will give you the opportunity to meet new people in a different working environment.” He explains the different types of synchronisation (“down and under”, phrase-synch and lip-synch), possible involvement in a project like an advertising campaign - where the input from the translator is crucial - the importance of deadlines and general knowledge. He goes on to explain about formatting the script, with great tips on text presentation, and subtitling of films, because of its similarity with translating “voice-overs”.

“Voice-over is the action of voicing over the picture; it is also the result of that action.”

The second part, The work of the voice, deals with all aspects of the voice-over world, starting with an explanation of how studio recording works, including the instance when the voice-over artist listens to one language and speaks in his or her native tongue at the same time while watching a video. This could appeal to interpreters who are used to this type of situation where they listen while talking. The section Speaking one language while listening to another deals with it in more detail. Other sections give practical information about studio etiquette, how to become a voice, how to train the voice and the importance of keeping up with your native language, not to forget how to market our services and of course, a word or two about fees. Would you like to build your own studio? Well, there’s plenty here to show you how to do it.

“The secret of achieving this control lies in the use of the body. When we listen to a good voice-over what we are actually listening to is good audible body language” declares Bernard Graham Shaw, voice-over producer. No wonder Pageon devoted one full chapter to the Alexander Technique where he explains its origin and describes its numerous benefits.  It takes its name from F. Matthias Alexander (1869-1955), a former Shakespearean recitalist/orator, who first observed and formulated its principles between 1890 and 1900. “In those days, as there were no amplification systems in the great halls, actors had to have a stentorian voice to be heard and master the art of projection to the full…but it did not stop him losing his voice! The doctors not being able to help, he decided he had to find out for himself the whys and wherefores of his condition”. Overall, the Alexander Technique “teaches you how to avoid unnecessary strain in everyday activities, leading to greater freedom and ease of movement.”

Contrary to Pageon’s suggestion in his introduction, the short section on teambuilding did not surprise me. I am reminded of solo round the world yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur use of the word ‘we’ to emphasise the importance of the contribution of her shore-based team. As Pageon explains: “by building a team spirit you make your clients as aware of your needs as you become aware of theirs. To satisfy the needs of both parties, working as a team will make the process much smoother.” We all know that it is easier said than done, but it makes good sense, doesn’t it?

The book has a comprehensive index, is easy to read and is a mine of information, not to mention some illustrative anecdotes. I wish it had been around when I started translating for the spoken word, but I was very lucky to have Pageon as my voice-over guide, so I heard it from His Master’s Voice!

 

 

 

 

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