There are many variables that can cause issues with your voice including seasonal atmosphere changes, general body hydration, stress, tiredness… the list goes on! In this blog, we will look at the general day to day care tips all voice artists should know. It is important to prevent problems by knowing your body, your voice, your limits, and how to take care of yourself.
Dehydration can be caused by many factors; not enough water, smoking (first or second hand), caffeine, alcohol and salt can all cause your body to lose water so you should try to avoid these as much as possible. Staying hydrated is very important for your vocal cords as they are surrounded by a mucous membrane, which must stay wet and fluid for the cords to work properly. A lack of hydration causes this membrane to thicken, which makes your throat feel clogged up.
Lemon flavoured water is often stated as being a favoured drink to help bind the mucous and flush it out if there is an excess of it in your body. On the day of the voice-over recording session try to drink as much water as possible, and during the session drink Room Temperature water as cold water can cause your vocal cords to constrict and tense up.
Dairy products are a bad choice for any voice professionals as they can cause the mucus to thicken, coating the vocal cords and affecting the smooth operation of the larynx. Food such as cheese, milk, yoghurt and ice-cream should all be consumed sparingly when using your voice professionally.
Before a voice-over recording session you should try to get a good night sleep. You will find that the lack of energy from a bad sleep causes your vocal muscles to tire quickly and be less flexible than normal. This lack of energy can then lead you to over compensate by forcing the sounds out which creates tension and ultimately pain and hoarseness in your larynx.
You should also always try to avoid straining your voice by not shouting. Excess strain can eventually cause nodes on your vocal cords, which limits your range, flexibility and tone.
For voice-artists who work with their voices every day, maintaining it well is essential. As a voice-over artist you need to ensure that you provide your clients with a reliable service, as well as keeping yourself comfortable!
There are many techniques thrown out there, claiming to be the best way to look after your voice, and in this blog we will look at some of these, and talk about ways to improve your vocal control.
Warming Up Routine For Voice Artists
Your vocal cords (or vocal folds) are found in the larynx, and just like an athlete wouldn’t do a serious work out with first warming up, voice over artists should first ‘stretch’ the muscles found within your voice box.
Starting with humming is a nice way to begin to relax these muscles in your larynx, as well as creating a nice resonant sound. If you work through syllables such as the ‘velar nasal’ gn sound found in onion, stretching it out, sliding up and down in pitch. Working with arpeggios, scales or glides that both climb and descend in pitch is a good way of ensuring you warm up in all parts of the range quickly and without strain. Next up, lip and tongue trills help to loosen the throat, jaw, tongue and lips, spread the vocal folds so that they vibrate mainly at their edges, and encourage relaxation.
Articulation is key in voice overs, to ensure that the words of the script are formed properly so you get the clearest read possible. Tongue twisters are a great way to help your annunciation and articulation, and they can also assist with the development of tongue muscle memory for particular vowel sounds. Here are a few examples:
1. Assists with R and L vowels
Red letter, yellow letter, red letter, yellow letter, red letter, yellow letter
2. Assists with moving from the front of the lips to the soft palate and back again.
A proper cup of coffee from a proper copper coffee pot.
3. Makes you move your lips from an Ooh shape to a flatter A shape and really get your mouth moving
Wayde went to Wales to watch wrens riot
4. This one is for forward tongue placement
I am not a pheasant plucker,
I’m a pheasant plucker’s son
but I’ll be plucking pheasants
When the pheasant plucker’s gone
5. This exercise works the soft palate and back of the mouth
Six sick hicks nick six slick bricks with picks and sticks
Finally, yawning helps you naturally relax your jaw, extends your soft palate and regulates the oxygen flowing through your body. A ‘yawn-sigh’ helps you work on your range, sliding all the way down from the top of your vocal range to the lowest grumble you can reach. You’ll know when you reach your limit! Make sure you do this last, and only do this a few times per warm up… you don’t want to strain your muscles too much!
European Spanish, sometimes known as Castellano, and Latin American Spanish can be understood by Spanish speakers all over the world, however there are many differences between the two, both in phonology and vocabulary. When choosing foreign language voice artists, it is important to select talents who speak the right variation for your audience.
A very clear distinction between European and Latin American Spanish is the pronunciation of the letter C, when followed by an I or an E, and the letter Z when followed by a vowel. In Spain, the letter C is pronounced as /θ/, or the ‘th’ sound in English. However in Latin American this is pronounced as a ’S’ sound. One of the most popular urban myths which claims to give reason for this differentiation, is that there was once a Spanish king who spoke with lisp, which was then imitated by the Spanish population.
The way in which the second person plural is conjugated can be a good indiction of whether someone is speaking European or Latin American Spanish. Speakers of Latin American Spanish will always use ustedes no matter who they are speaking to. However speakers of European Spanish will use ustedes only when addressing a group of people who are perhaps older or more important than them. For everyone else, they will use vosotros. In a similar vein, it is common in Latin American to hear the word ‘you’ as vos, whereas in Spain this would be tú.
As well as this, in many places in Latin America you will notice the ’s’ sound sometimes goes missing or is ‘swallowed’. For example the word está can become eh’tá. This feature of speech is actually also common in the southern parts of Spain.
Spanish Voice-Overs, Translations, Subtitles, and Localisation
Communication between speakers of the two is usually always fluid and much like communication between the speakers of UK and US English who may use different vocabulary and have different accents, but have no trouble understanding each other. However in terms of voice-overs, translations, subtitles and localisation, it is important to identify which market you want to speak to and then use resources from this area. If you want to hear the differences yourself, take a look at our European and Latin American voice-over catalogue!
Computer-guided translation tools have come up with some baffling translations across the world, but now Korean authorities are tackling the problem head on the Korea Times reports.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in Korea are cracking down on these mistranslations of Korean restaurant menus into English that have begun to embarrass some Koreans.
A task force including the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs has been created to tackle the issue, with the help of the National Institute of Korean Language, the Korean Food Foundation, food experts and native English, Chinese and Japanese speakers to standardise the foreign names of Korean foods, and a new website will be launched with the new translations to minimise further errors.
This issue is not just with English translations. Rep. Yeom Dong-yeol of the Saenuri Party revealed late last year that among 274 restaurants in Seoul with Korean-food menus in Chinese, a third had “seriously wrong” translations.
Some of these errors include ‘Pollock Stew’ being translated to ‘Dynamic Stew’, ‘Beef Tartare’ becoming ‘Six Times’.
Our Translations and Voice-Over Translation Service
Here at Adelphi, as a leading translation, subtitling and voice-over agency, we ensure that our translations are fully accurate and that we only work with professionals translating into their mother tongue. We are a member of the Association of Translation Companies (ATC), who require member companies to adhere to a strict code of professional conduct, are subject to the rulings of a professional ethics committee and carry full professional indemnity insurance cover to safeguard the interests of the translation purchaser. All our translators are members of either the Institute of Linguists or the Institute of Translations & Interpreters with a minimum of three years experience to ensure your voice-over translation is done to the highest professional standard.
In part 1 we had a look at the RP, Yorkshire and Scouse accents. In this blog we will continue on and look at more of the accents found within the British Isles.
The most famous of the Midlands accents is the Brummie accent from Birmingham. The term derives from Brummagem or Bromwichham, which are historical variants of the name Birmingham. Whilst Brummie is not the only accent or dialect to be found in the Midlands, it is more well known than it’s neighbours in the Black Country or Coventry.
Some examples of Brummie words and phrases:
Bostin(g)- meaning amazing, brilliant or excellent.
Shrapnel – this commonly refers to loose change
The outdoor – an exclusive West Midlands term for an off-licence
Words like “pie” and “tried” are pronounced like “poy” and “troyed”
As in Northern English accents, the vowel in “puppies” and “blood” is pronounced higher in the mouth than in Southern English accents, sounding a bit like “pooppies” or “pawppies”
The diphthong in “about” and “house” is raised, with a prononunciation ranging from IPA æʊ to ɛʉ (“heh-oose”).
Words like “most” and “homes” are pronounced with a very low-starting diphthong, typically IPAʌʊ although it can start even lower, making “goat” sound like “gout” to outside ears.
Notable speakers of the Brummie accent include: Ozzy Osbourne, Jasper Carrott and Adrian Chiles.
You can hear an example of a midlands accent here courtesy of James M.
The Geordie accent is found in the North East of England in the Tyneside area, predominantly in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. The origins of the term are still up for debate, but in many respects Geordie is a direct continuation and development of the language spoken by the Anglo-Saxon settlers of this region. The Geordie accent has been voted the ‘sexiest accent in Britain’.
Some examples of Geordie words and phrases:
Howay- broadly meaning “come on!!”
Canny – meaning pleasant
Netty – toilet
Foot Strut Merger – the syllable in footand could is pronounced with the same syllable as strut and
Non-rhoticity – non-pronunciation of the post-vocalic ’r’ , in words such as bark, firm, permit.
The /ai/ dipthong as in kite is raised so it sounds a bit more like the Standard British “kate.”
The /au/ dipthong as in “about” is pronounced like “oo” in strong dialects. So about can sound like “aboot.”
Notable speakers of the Geordie accent include: Cheryl Cole, Ant & Dec, Paul Gascoigne, Sting
You can hear an example of the Geordie accent here courtesy of Laura E:
The Cockney accent originates from the East End of London and can be considered the broadest form of London local accent. Cockney is characterized by its own special vocabulary and usage, and traditionally by its own development of “rhyming slang.” Rhyming slang, is still part of the true Cockney culture even if it is sometimes used for effect.
Common Cockney rhyming slang phrases
“Adam and Eve” – beleive
“Apples and pears” – stairs
“Plates of meat” – feet
Raised vowel in words like trap and cat so these sounds like “trep” and “cet.”
Non-rhoticity: see explanation in Brummie
Trap-bath split: meaning that certain awords, like bath,can’t, and dance are pronounced with the broad-a in
Glottal Stopping: the letter t is pronounced with the back of the throat (glottis) in between vowels; hence better becomes “be’uh”.
L-vocalization: The l at the end of words often becomes a vowel sound Hence pal can seem to sound like “pow.”
Th-Fronting: The th in words like think or this is pronounced with a more forward consonant depending on the word: thing becomes “fing,” this becomes “dis,” and mother becomes “muhvah.”
Notable Cockney speakers include: Michael Caine, Sir Alan Sugar, Amy Winehouse
You can hear an example of the Cockney accent here courtesy of Arthur Smith
We have a wide selection of accents and dialects available in the Voice Over section, so whatever you are looking for we can provide you with the most suitable option for your final product. Please view our sample page here: http://adelphistudio.com/voice-overs/.
Adelphi can provide all of the services detailed above for your voice-over requirement. Please visit our website at www.adelphitranslations.com and click “Request a Quote” or feel free to call us on (0)114 272 3772.
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