Well, think about how you feel when someone mispronounces your name.
Now think about how you feel when you sweetly correct them … and they mispronounce it. Again.
Now take that feeling, multiply it by five, and imagine that you’re a company exec who has paid someone thousands of dollars to say your company’s name. And they keep mispronouncing it.
Suffice to say, pronunciation is incredibly important if you want to make a living as a voiceover artist.
I recently did a job with a client called Akoya, a very swanky residential development in Dubai. For some reason I was hitting the “a” all wrong on “Akoya.” I had subconsciously committed to a pronunciation and I just couldn’t get it out of my head! Luckily, the sound engineer demonstrated the correct pronunciation; I requested we do three takes in a row and thank goodness I got those right. Phew!
Still, on the next pass of the script, I said one of the “Akoyas” incorrectly! I’ve since talked to several fellow voiceover artists who had similar experiences. They told me how they got back on track and their responses boiled down to a single concept: Muscle memory.
When our palettes, tongues, mouths, and brains commit to a certain pronunciation, they want to keep pronouncing it that way! It feels comfortable. In order to pronounce the word correctly, we need to recalibrate our minds and mouths.
Here’s the four pronunciation tips that helped me finally nail this script
- Step away from the mic and repeat the word 20 times quickly, really rattle it off. This will help ‘reset’ the pronunciation in your mind and mouth.
- Now, repeat the word 20 times slowly. Roll it around in your mouth; picture the muscles in your tongue, lips, jaw, and throat working together to bring this word to life.
- Ask to record the word three times in a row. One take, saying the word three times “Akoya, Akoya, Akoya.” If the word is part of a larger section, ask to do one take in which you repeat the section three times. “AKOYA Oxygen offers a tranquil pace of life amidst the bustling metropolis of Dubai. AKOYA Oxygen offers a tranquil pace of life amidst the bustling metropolis of Dubai. AKOYA Oxygen offers a tranquil pace of life amidst the bustling metropolis of Dubai.” You get the idea!
- But the most important pronunciation tip? Breeaaaathe. Take some deep, cleansing breaths and clear your mind. Pronunciation is mostly mental and when we’re anxious, we can’t do our best work. So breathe in and out, center yourself, think about how the correct pronunciation feels in your mouth + mind, and dive back in.
Want to see the final (perfectly pronounced) Akoya product? Watch the video below!
Interested in having my voice describe your product? I’ve lent my voice to companies like Tide, Folgers, Pantene, and Zest I’m currently accepting new clients and I’d love to chat! Click here to hear my demo reel or click here to drop me a line.