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Most Often Misprononced Words

Most Often Mispronounced Words 

The Voice Over Handbook by John Burr

Mispronounced Words.jpg

    and Their Correct Pronunciation

Voice Actor To Do List

The Edge Studio
Voice Actor To-Do List

Your Monthly “VO To-Do List”

Confirm your website’s key features are working

Check the following:

  • Do your demos play?

  • Is your contact information easily viewed?

  • Does your "request a quote" web form work?

IMPORTANT: Test on all popular browsers, different platforms, different phones ... because as new devices, platforms, and software versions are introduced, your current website may not work with them!


Grow your business

  • Ask 3 or more clients for testimonials.

  • Ask 3 or more clients for a finished voice-over project you recorded for them – so you can consider adding it to your demo.

  • Survey 3 or more clients – learn their thoughts on working with you.


Improve your audition chops, and ensure you haven’t picked up any bad habits along the way

  • Work with an audition coach.

  • Review the 3 or more best auditions that you submitted in the last month, but did not win.

  • If any of those auditions’ jobs have been produced by now, try to find and listen to them. How did the winner differ?


Consider how your clients see you. Are you still the person everyone wants to work with?

  • Are you continuing to show them how you can help them? E.g., Do they know about your new capabilities? Have you suggested other ways you can work together?

  • Are you continuing to show them that they can trust you? E.g., Do they know you’ve attended voice conferences? You have new testimonials? You’ve completed large-scale projects for other companies?

  • Are you continuing to evolve along with them as their business evolves? E.g., Do they know that you are up to date with their business? Do they still see you as a member of their team, rather than a “service provider”?

  • Are you asking them the right questions?

  • Have you made their life easier/better in the past month? Be the person everyone wants to work with.


Research your clients – know what they’re up to

What you learn allows you to more easily suggest ways you can help them. More on this in the following “Remain ‘top of mind’ with your clients” section.


Remain ‘top of mind’ with your clients

  • Send updated demos – doing so suggests that you’ve been busy. Ensure you have fresh content on the demos.

  • Send new testimonials.

  • Inform them of new equipment, new capabilities, new services …

  • Inform them of related experiences – such as that you attended a conference, gained knowledge on something useful to them …

  • Compliment them and, when possible, tie it into how you can further help them. Have they opened a new office? Then respond: “Congrats on your new office. If you need updated telephony prompts, let me know.” Or have they released a new product? Then respond: “Congrats on your new product! If you need web videos or commercials to promote it, let me know.” Review your monthly business goals Confirm that you’ve reached or surpassed them. Create new monthly goals.


Review your monthly marketing goals

  • Confirm that you’ve reached or surpassed them.

  • Create new monthly goals.


Your Quarterly “VO To-Do List”

Stay on top of technology. It changes fast.

  • Does your website mention any new technology you offer?

  • Still using an old piece of gear that causes a bit of hiss or hum? Look into new equipment that sounds better, perhaps costing less than what you originally paid.

  • Still using old software? It may take you more time to edit a recording, and therefore you need to charge more than other voice actors who can do it faster.

  • Research and learn as much as you can. At Edge, we ask vendors to tell us about new products, and they ask us to test them. When we try it, we blog about it. Word spreads. Don’t be left behind.

  • Catch up on all unseen George Whittam technology videos and tutorials.


Check other voice actors’ websites and demos. Remain competitive.

  • Know what they’re up to. (How else can you compete?) Guaranteed, you’ll get ideas to enhance your own website and demos.


Find trends in the industry

  • Listen to voice-over work in the world. From talking elevators to commercials, listen intently.

  • Find 3 or more new journals, blogs, white papers, press releases … on the voice-over business. Also do this for any voice-over genres that you may specialize in. Read them daily.

  • When you find new trends/styles that could be a profitable niche for you, or that could distinguish you, be sure to update your website and demos.


Train – ensure you’re ready for any work a client may throw your way.

  • Work with a coach who understands the entire industry (the various genres of voiceover, casting agents, production studios, etc.).

  • Find out if there are new styles that clients are hiring, and if you could be marketable for them.

Train – ensure you’re excelling in your areas of specialty (documentary, audiobook, corporate, animation, commercial, etc.).

  • Work with a coach who lives and breathes any specific genres that you may specialize in. They should be up on industry trends and industry trade journals. They should know which clients are currently hiring in that space, what those clients are currently listening for in auditions, and what those clients are currently listening for in demos. The coach should know what other voice actors in this genre are currently charging their clients, what their websites look like, and how they run their voice over business. All this so that this coach can help you remain relevant and competitive.


Your Annual “VO To-Do List”


Consider your rates.

  • Should they be changed?

  • Do other voice actors offer new and different rate structures?

  • Re-memorize your rates. You need to know them offhand, so you can speak about them comfortably and confidently. But it’s easy to forget them.

  • Review your suggested contract and practices. Is everything still current and in keeping with your professional criteria?


Listen objectively to your demos.

  • Are they still current? Are you?

  • If something on your demo is not selling, get rid of it. Don’t keep pushing it when there’s no demand.


Listen objectively to your voice.

  • Has your voice and/or range changed? If so, are you appropriate for other types of work? Are your demos a true representation of your current voice?

  • Have your passions/interests changed? Or have you gained in-depth experience in some field? If so, consider narrating work in these new subject-matter areas. When you narrate copy that interests you, your passion is translated to the listener.

  • Update your demo and marketing material appropriately.


  • Review and rewrite your business plans.

  • Confirm that you’ve reached or surpassed all monthly goals within your plans.

  • Create goals for the next twelve months.

  • Don’t have plans? Develop them. It takes a couple hours, but it saves you far more. And it helps you make money.

Review and rewrite your marketing plans.

  • Confirm that you’ve reached or surpassed all monthly goals within your plans.

  • Create goals for the next twelve months.

  • In this area, too, if you don’t have specific plans, develop them. It saves you far more time than it takes. And it helps your marketing be more effective.


Your Always “VO To-Do List”


Always be learning.

Always be moving forward. When other things move forward, and you don’t, you’re moving back.

Always, ALWAYS personalize this “action plan.” Review it weekly. Follow it. Revise and add to it as needed. 


 © Edge Studio,, 888-321-3343 (EDGE) reprinted with permission 2023

Articles by Kerri Acheson, Ph.D.

Voiceover Narration: The Key to a Successful Training Project

How to write narration for, find and work with voice actors
Training Online Magazine October 2, 2023


Voiceover narration can be the key to a successful training program, eLearning course, or any other arena in which it is used. However, you need to be able to create effective learning programs with the narrator in mind, while understanding the richness the right voice can bring to the material. It is also important to know what you can expect from a voice actor, what qualities to look for, how to find them, and what you can expect to pay for professional voice acting services.

More and more, Training and Development professionals are utilizing a broader variety of technologies and approaches to engage learners. A new medium pops up almost daily. A good voice actor can make or break any of these productions. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Identify the need for training. A need for training may become apparent from several sources: Another department asks for it, you may have a regular feedback loop to identify needs across the organization, or you may do certain things on a regular basis. Keep the voice actor in mind as you determine which approach and medium to use.

  • Consider your objective. Your approach may be dictated by what you need to accomplish. For example, if you need a video to welcome new employees, you might want a clip of the CEO saying, “Hello,” with them painting a vision of the organization’s values, followed by a video tour of your facility with voiceover narration.

  • You may want to create new knowledge (cognitive), develop feelings and emotions (affective), or enhance physical or manual skills (psychomotor). Whether you need to inform, persuade, or remind will influence both your medium and your choice of voice actor.

  • As you refine your objectives, keep in mind the kind of voice that will best accomplish them. Are you looking to build enthusiasm? Command authority? Change attitudes? Express empathy? Or just impart knowledge in an interesting manner?

  • Profile your audience. Who your listener is will influence what type of voice actor you want to communicate with them. Profile your audience in as detailed a fashion as possible. Whether they are young/old, executive/factory worker, a new buyer/loyal consumer, accent/geographic area/language, and race/ethnicity or other demographic characteristics should influence your choices. You may choose to match your voice actor to your audience if that is indicated. You want the learner to empathize with the voice actor.

  • Write an engaging script with a narrator in mind. Engagement is a hot topic in training circles, and the right voice actor can go a long way toward bringing employees into the process of learning. Is this a serious, formal program? Then you want someone who can speak with authority and command interest in the subject. An older actor would better serve your needs for credibility and trust. On the other hand, if it is more casual, you might want a voice that is more fun, one that can handle a light-hearted approach with ease. A younger voice might bring energy to the read. Where the listener will be when engaging in the training is another consideration. The voiceover artist may need to grab their attention on-the-go.

Choosing a Voice Artist

Most professional voice artists work remotely these days in broadcast-quality sound studios in their homes. Voice actors can give you a finished product in the form of an Mp3 or WAV file unless you have editing capabilities yourself. They usually will work with your schedule and give you a quick turnaround time. Their narration demo should give you a cursory idea of how they will sound in your project and give you an idea of their voice range. Or you can get a quick listen to many demos on casting platforms (called pay-to-play sites) that we will discuss shortly.

You may wish to provide them with a script to use and have them audition. Ask for more than one take. They may come up with an approach you hadn’t considered that will enhance the material. Pay attention to their tone of voice, pacing, and suitability to your project and brand. Studies have determined that 38 percent of a message comes from one’s tone of voice.

It is nice if the voice actor has experience with similar projects to yours, in similar industries. Sometimes it is helpful, if not necessary, for the voice actor to have a background in your subject matter, such as knowing how to pronounce medical terminology. It is a plus if they have had voice acting training or coaching with reputable voiceover experts. What qualities do you want the voice actor to convey: warmth, command respect, funny, seriousness, knowledgeable, parental, caring and so on?

Get details about their home sound booth. What kind of equipment do they have? Have they eliminated background noise? Nearly 60 percent of recent survey respondents said audio quality was the most important consideration when hiring a voice actor. Vocal performance (43 percent) and cost (35 percent) followed to round out an informative top three, according to the Survey of 2023 Trends.

You want the voice actor to connect with your audience. It is the voice actor’s job, using your script, to provide exposition, or further meaning, to your visuals. If this is a long-term project where you will use the same actors over and over, keep in mind what kind of voice you want representing your company over the long run.

Where to Find Professional Voice Actors

There are many avenues for locating just the right voice talent. Voice actors can be found around the world, with casting services providing them in a variety of languages and cultures. Voiceover agents can bring you a selection of voice actors to meet your needs, making the process easy. Online casting sites are often fast and cheap, allowing you to listen to many demos at once. Freelancing sites, such as Upwork and Freelancer, have voice actors, as well as thousands of other services, so they may be too broad. You could put out a casting call on social media that will bring you many applicants who will audition with your script. Audio and video production houses have rosters of voice actors who have been prescreened. Or you could find a voice actor directly by Googling “voice actor” or “voiceover.” Most actors are independent contractors with Websites that can tell you all about them. You may want to build your own roster of talent from many sources, including e-mails from prospective voice talent.

What Will a Voice Actor Cost?

Your budget may determine where you look, with sometimes less expensive, less experienced voice actors available on casting and freelance sites. Some SAG/AFTRA union members can command high payments. Non-union rates are most often found in the GVAA Rate Card. Rates vary by the audience (internal, external, limited, broad), length of time you will use their voice, and reach of the medium. Or you can work directly with the talent to determine what is fair.

Tips for Working with a Voice Actor

Remember that the voice actor is there to bring your vision to life. You can work with them directly, or through an agent or other source. Be sure to give them clear written instructions about who your audience is, the setting for the learning experience, and how you want the topic communicated. You may want them to do two to three takes to give you an idea of different approaches to the subject. Be open to letting them suggest improvements to your script in enunciation, voice style, and more.

They usually will make revisions for no charge. If you make major changes to the script, they will charge you for their time.

If you want to be more involved, you could do a directed recording session, where you advise the voice actor in the approach you want, inflection, and so on as they are performing and recording. You can take this further and direct the actor remotely, while recording it at your facility with Source Connect or other recording software.

You may decide that this actor should be the “voice of your brand” and build a long-term relationship with them.

Time Well Spent

Training managers put a lot of time, money, and energy into designing creative, interesting programs for a variety of audiences. Voiceover narration plays an important role in the success of those programs by adding authenticity that makes the content believable and enhancing learning retention by holding their interest. Time invested in finding and building a relationship with the voice you need is time well spent.

Kerri Acheson

Kerri Acheson, Ph.D., is a voice actor for Utter Voiceovers. She is a former Marketing professor and corporate trainer.

Ai vs Voice Actors for Trainig
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AI vs Voice Actors for Training

Pros and cons to consider for both when making a decision 

in today's ever-changing landscape. 

Training Online Magazine November 21, 2023


As much as I would like to open this discussion with a bold statement about how artificial intelligence voices can never replace human voice actors (being one of the latter myself), I cannot. Learning and Development (L&D) professionals have adapted to many different applications of AI in recent years. Now, AI is moving to replace human voice actors in voiceover narrations.

The real question is not whether AI voices can be effectively used for voiceovers in everything from podcasts to explainer videos to eLearning modules, it is when and why to use it certain circumstances, and when to stick with the tried-and-true voiceover professionals. And just how you make those decisions.


AI Voices Today

We have come a long way from the robotic-sounding synthetic voices that were generated by computers. The new AI voices use natural language learning algorithms that either can create voices from scratch in a more believable manner or use actual human voices to create voices that can be manipulated to sound more realistic (i.e., avatars). The latest technology also allows you to alter everything from languages to pace and inflections. That said, there are benefits and drawbacks to even this advanced programming.


Pros of AI Voices


  • AI has expanded markets for voiceover. Smaller companies that would not otherwise hire a professional voice actor might now be able to offer audios of their blogs and training projects because of the lower costs of AI voices. Interactive voice recordings and call center responses may be needed in different languages. AI makes that possible for more companies.

  • AI voices can be less costly than voice actors. The cost of AI voice generation varies greatly depending on the platform and the extent of usage. Some platforms offer free trials. Paid plans can range from $44 per month for 24 voice avatars, 30 voice styles, and five projects to $179 per month for 100 projects with dedicated support. ( Other sources cite pricing from $6,000 to $40,000 per year. Comparison shopping is a must when choosing the right platform. It costs more to design a custom voice for your brand that you will never encounter elsewhere.

  • Using AI voices can be faster than using voice actors. Although professional voice actors often will give you a quick turnaround, even returning within 24 hours, AI can be created at your desk in a matter of minutes once you understand the program’s intricacies. You do need to choose the right AI voice and lay out plans for the script’s interpretation by the program.

  • AI voices offer flexibility and consistency. If you change a term that is used throughout your script, it is easy to just change it. No need to have the voice actor re-record it. If a change needs to be made much later in the process, the voice actor may no longer be available. Or, if you are doing your own narration, you may sound different on the day a change is needed. A consideration, especially with longer eLearning modules, is consistency. The AI voice will always be the same: today, next week, and next year.

  • AI voices come in many different languages. It is simple to have the same script translated into different languages. This is important these days when call centers and Websites need to offer information in the listener’s own language. Or your company may have employees all over the world. Some AI voice firms offer 500-plus voices across more than 130 language locales. However, if your script is more than a simple instruction audio, be sure to use a translator to revise it with regional word usage and cultural nuances.


Cons of AI Voices


  • The initial investment in AI voice software can be cost prohibitive. Training personnel on how to use AI voice programs, setting it up, and continuously optimizing it can be costly not only in financial output but in the amount of time it takes your staff to master it. Initial investments must be weighed against the type and number of projects it will be used for, and at what point you would break even compared to hiring voice actors for those same projects. You will need to develop a relationship with your AI voice company, as the system needs to be optimized continuously.

  • AI voices are taking jobs from professional voice actors. Historically, technological advances, such as robotics, have replaced blue collar workers. Now those losing jobs to artificial intelligence capabilities are more likely to be highly paid, often female, office workers. In most cases, AI assists workers, not replaces them. That is not the case with voice actors. There are wide swaths of voiceover jobs that are being impacted. They are typically what many call “low-hanging fruit”: interactive voice prompts, low-budget training modules. and audio articles and newsletters.

  • AI voices cannot duplicate human voices entirely. Although your learners may be used to Siri, Cortana, and Alexa, AI voices fall short in several areas: relatability, empathy, pronunciations, emotions, personality, humor. Bottom line, they just can’t connect on a personal level. They often can be robotic and emotionless. You can’t get AI to laugh or even sigh. Even though they have gotten much better recently, there is still something missing: a soul.


“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.”    —  Maya Angelou


Pros of Human Voice Actors


  • Voice actors can connect to other humans on an emotional level. People may not always be able to put their finger on it, but they often perceive something as not quite there with AI voices. Humans seek out interactions with other humans. You probably will choose your voice actors by matching them to your learners’ demographics or other traits. The voice actor’s own history may give them an ability to relate to the learner in important ways. Those factors add credibility and trust to the encounter, enhancing acceptance of the material, as well as retention.

  • Voice actors are more engaging. They bring emotion, passion, and often empathy to their interpretation of a script. They can impart a broad range of tones—from excited to funny to sad—that you may need to get your message across in a meaningful way. The very timbre of their voices may suggest a given interpretation, where AI voices can’t truly duplicate those human qualities.

  • Voice actors can modulate their voices to convey meaning. Voice actors read the context of a script and use tone, pitch, inflection, volume, and pace to bring those thoughts to life and give them meaning. They bring nuances to the material that may not be clear if you are just reading words from a script, as TTS (Text to Speech) does. In other words, they can read between the lines.

  • Voice actors are adaptable. They can be directed to perform the way you want the script expressed. Either through detailed instructions or in a live, directed recording session, it is easy to define the exact delivery and emphasis you want from a voice actor. Ask for two to three takes of your script. The voice actor may show you something you hadn’t thought about. They often suggest a different word or approach that would sound better than what is in the script. They will be less likely to mispronounce words.

  • Voice actors speak in many different dialects. Although AI companies are trying to offer regional dialects, the choices are limited. On the flip side, voice actors can be found with every dialect imaginable in every corner of the country and the world. This becomes critical when it is important to connect with particular audiences.


Cons of Human Voice Actors


  • Voice actors can be expensive. Technically, you can use your own voice, your phone or computer, and free software to create audio for nothing. Businesses that want to hire a podcast production team are looking at $1,000 to $15,000 per episode. If you need a voice actor for a 750-word article, for example, you can expect to pay $749. Depending upon the number of productions you do, costs can add up. You can find less expensive voice actors on casting sites, but you may get what you pay for by sacrificing quality.

  • Hiring a voice actor can be time-consuming. The comparison of time needed using voice actors must include the time it takes to seek them out, have them audition, choose the right one, lay out instructions for the proper delivery, and wait for them to record your script remotely or direct them in a studio. And you may have uptakes once you receive the mp3 file. This sometimes can rule out humans for time-sensitive projects, such as daily news briefs.


How to Decide


There are several factors to be considered when deciding whether to use AI voices or human voice actors in your eLearning, training project, or even IVR. And they vary dramatically in how important they are to the success of your project.

Some of these factors are intangibles: trust, credibility, relatability, passion, and adaptability. The voice actor brings so much more than a voice to every voiceover. They bring personality and an ability to read the context in such a way that it is more believable and easier to retain.

Other criteria are easier to quantify: cost, time, and translation into languages.

In making the decision to use AI voices or human voice actors, you must weigh the relevance and importance of these tangible and intangible criteria. Depending upon the type of voiceover project, you may be willing to sacrifice relatability for cost savings, for instance. There are trade-offs to be made that ultimately will result in a program being well-received and retained by your audience—or not.


A Weighted Model


To quantify this difficult decision, you can use a weighted model such as an Excel one that is downloadable at under “Stuff” (the Excel file will automatically compute the scores for you; examples of the model in use for voiceover for an HR Hotline and voiceover for an onboarding video also are provided). Tangible and intangible voiceover criteria should be considered by rating them on whether they should play a role in your decision-making. These criteria are listed in the model below.

           AI Voices vs Voice Actors: A Decision-Making Model

The weighted model below can be downloaded as an Excel file. You simply enter your subjective ratings and rankings for each criterion. The model will tally the results. Although this model is built to provide insight into this important decision, it has not been quantitatively tested. It is estimated that a total score of below 250 would favor voice actors, and above that would indicate that an AI Voice would be optimal for that project. 
AI vs Voice Actors Decision-Making Model.jpg

Note: be sure to activate edit mode when you open the file in order to enter your numbers.

E-Learning Script Writing 101

Craft Engaging Scripts that will Sound Great

TD Magazine December 2023

The magazine of the Association for Talent Development

E-Learning Script Writing 101

Using voice-over work is a critical element in the success of creating engaging e-learning content that will keep your learners engaged and enhance their retention. Whether you are writing a script for e-learning integrated into a classroom to supplement teaching, used in blended learning, or that is a stand-alone course, ensure your approach involves writing for the ear (voice), not the eye (reading).

The differences between speaking and writing

Ideas, imagery, and language make up a person’s writing. Writing uses punctuation, boldface, and underlines to make a point; consists of neat, correct sentences; and can be more formal, creating meaning with context. The reader is not present.

   Speaking, on the other hand, is messy. It comprises sounds, not just words. It uses intonation, pitch, rhythm, and tempo to convey meaning. The material doesn’t always use correct grammar or even complete sentences. The listener is present, and the material is processed in real time.

   With those nuances in mind, you shouldn’t write anything without considering how it will sound when someone voices it. Writing for the ear and not the eyes takes time to get used to.


   Use conversational language to sound natural and set the right tone with the script. For example, conversational speech uses contractions. Also use short sentences that are easy to read aloud. The more conversational the script, the better the odds that it will resonate with your audience. Learners want something they can relate to on a personal level.

   Creating an image in your mind of who the speaker or protagonist is can guide you in writing a script. The persona should be able to relate to your learners, communicating in the same speaking style and language. Write with that consistent viewpoint. Check back often as you write to ask yourself: Would my persona really speak like that? Would they be believable saying that?

The prewriting process

Crafting the best voice-over scripts requires professionalism, creativity, and detailed instructions for the narrator. It is different from other forms of writing in that it is more three-dimensional—writing for the narrator to read and for listeners to hear.

   Start with a clear creative concept or core message—a vision of your learners, how they consume the information, through which medium, and what you want to accomplish. Write one line that communicates a single, unambiguous message to guide you and keep you focused on the learning goals. Refer to that line throughout the writing process.

   Do your research. Before you start writing, paint a picture in your mind of what a good voice-over narration is by reviewing other e-learning programs that you like. Is there anything about your topic that could be difficult for the narrator, such as technical terminology or statistics? Do you need someone who can comfortably speak complicated technical or medical terminology?

   Use a script template or a storyboard. A script template can streamline the preparation for you and the narrator. The template can be simple, with columns for identifying segments, timing, script content, on-screen visuals, and comments for the narrator. A storyboard is more often used with videos as it adds the visual elements to sync with the voice-over narration.

   Now that you have the project’s persona profiled, creative concept identified, elements of the script laid out on a template or storyboard, outline the script and put your thoughts and data into segments that will flow naturally. Then, proceed to fill in the blanks, so-to-speak.


Start writing your script

Imagine the fictional persona you identified as being a fascinating orator. Aside from industry or technical terminology, the words should fall easily off the tongue. Avoid any phrasing you wouldn’t ordinarily hear someone say in everyday life. Your goals are consistency, good translation into the spoken word, and good flow.

   Capture the audience’s attention by getting to the point quickly. If necessary, instruct the narrator to project a commanding presence to create a resonance that attracts interest in an opening statement. They can bring meaning or excitement to the opening statement.

   Use active voice. Active voice livens up almost all writing, infusing it with momentum and confidence. It is also straightforward, and sentences have more impact. Active voice makes it easier for learners to follow along with what the speaker is saying. An active voice also makes your listeners feel as if the speaker is talking directly to them, which will result in learners paying more attention.

   Be concise. If you can say something in fewer words, do it. Short and varied phrasing is best for any voice-over. Keeping learners engaged means telling them the important matter quickly and clearly. Try to communicate one idea per sentence and strip your sentences of superfluous adjectives and adverbs.

   Include verbal white space. If you hand the narrator a script with densely printed copy, they will probably have to put it into a document with better spacing and a larger font. Save them that time. The benefit of double spacing is that it enables the narrator to mark the script for performance cues.

   Use natural pauses. Natural pauses have the same effect in audio as white space in a written document. Listeners need time to digest what they hear. Imagine the narrator taking a breath at given points. Work in several natural pauses throughout the script to ensure it sounds authentic and genuine. Those pauses also will help learners who may be taking notes.

   Use proper punctuation. Punctuations provide cues to the narrator, indicating when they should insert pauses and assign meaning to the words. Don’t use commas the way that you do when you are writing for reading. For example, use a comma to divide phrases, but only if you want a pause at that point. A period ends a sentence or thought, while an exclamation point indicates that the narrator should speak excitedly. Don’t be afraid to use bold, italics, and underlines to make a point.

   Use transition words. Such words and phrases—therefore, again, besides, at this time, and after all—link ideas and sentences together. They can summarize, show comparison or contrast, repeat information, stress a point, provide an example, draw a conclusion, or even state the obvious.

   Call to action. You may want to include a call to action at your script’s conclusion to give listeners clear expectations about what is next. Will there be a quiz or other evaluation of their comprehension? Is this one of many modules on the same subject?

   Read the script aloud again and again. Be aware of elements such as the flow, pacing, run-on sentences, punctuation, and tone that the narrator may misinterpret. Does the script match your creative concept identified earlier? Has the persona been consistent throughout? Have you clearly marked places to pause? Watch for accidental shifts in verb tense and between active and passive voice.

Working with a voice actor

If you plan to use a professional voice actor, wait to hire them until after you’ve finished writing the script. Once you’re at that point, there are two important ways to evaluate a voice actor: their demos and how they perform in an audition with your script.

   Most voice actors are independent contractors whose websites contain their demos, records of other projects they have done, and related background information to help you decide. Have they done similar projects? Would they be believable in the role of your persona? Will your audience relate to them?

   If the voice actor will be recording the audio in their home studio, make sure they have broadcast-quality equipment that will deliver the best sound quality. A recent survey found that audio quality was the most important consideration when hiring a voice actor.

   Provide as much information as possible to give the talent a clear understanding of your expectations. Instructions should include the narration accompanying on-screen visuals and requirements for the necessary tone, pace, intonation, inflections, and emphasis. Those directions will inform the individual about the features they should focus on, such as a product’s benefits.

   Also include instructions on how to pronounce words and names properly, as well as how to cite numbers and acronyms. For example, do you want 911 pronounced as nine-one-one or nine-11? Don’t assume that they know the acronyms you use in the script. Should they pronounce NASA as one word or four letters? Write acronyms phonetically within the script or send the voice actor an audio clip on how they should pronounce a word or name.

   Voice actors will either take your script and directions and record the e-learning course in their own studio independently (the norm these days), go into an audio/video production facility where you produce your programs, or come into your production studio.

   You can also do a live, directed recording session remotely. That would enable both you and the voice artist to discuss their thoughts and preferences on the script’s tonality, style, and delivery.

   If you have chosen the right voice talent and given them adequate instructions, the recording session should, theoretically, go off without a hitch. Ask them to do a few takes of the material, depending on how long it is, providing different approaches. Note that you may need to make some changes to the script to make it better suited to the performance.

   Writing for the ear and not the eyes takes time to get used to. Your goals are consistency, good translation into the spoken word, and good flow. Writing scripts for voice-over can be challenging, but using the above guidelines, you should master it in no time.

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