Tuesday, November 09, 2010

‘Faking It’ Just Isn’t ‘Making It’

In Voice123, we see a common issue with voice talent from the United States mistakenly selecting ‘British-English’ for a ‘native speaking language’, but they can only do a ‘British accent’. Feedback has even shown us that job posters may even feel insulted, if they need British native speakers, and they hear poor attempts at the accent.

Many assume, myself included, that British accents once were prevalent in the US, but we completely ‘evolved’ out of them. Not exactly! Look at this article: "Did Americans in 1776 have British accents?"

As a voice seeker posting a job, remember that details are key to the success of what you receive. Specifically choosing a native speaking language of a country will get you mostly what you want, but it helps to specify, 'Native speakers only' in the project description.

Please post a job today!

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Steven Lowell
Community Development Manager
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Anonymous said...

Well as an RP British VO, I have to agree. But having said that, I sometimes ask the client that asks for North American.....
"Have you considered a British accent?"

I've had numerous jobs, that were originally intended for North American accents, just because the client didn't think "outside the box"

So I'm sure the same must apply to US talents applying for British jobs?

Or does it only work Brit to US????

Anonymous said...

I too am a British VO Artist and find it frustrating to know that many of the 50 (or how ever many auditions someone is asking for) are US VO people...Please be considerate!

Anonymous said...

Very well said, Steven. So much so that you prompted me to write my first blog post in almost a year. Thanks for the incentive!


George Noel said...

Your post on "faking it" was interesting. Although I do not list my principle language as British, I do get considerable work using some of those accents (as in the U.S. there are several). I just landed a British gig last week, BTW. Although it does take more time to weed through bad fake accents, there might be a certain timber sought, that is not in native pool. And, on the other hand, what's to stop the Brits from using American accents, where there is a much larger market? It's a world wide pool, learn to swim in diversity. And Brits, the reason there is so much demand for you, is that your accents are so rich!

Anonymous said...

Maybe the bigger point here is that true native speakers get the accent correct even on certain words with very counter-intuitive pronunciations, and they use the correct words/phrases in the first place.
If you've ever heard an Aussie say the word "debut," then you know that it would be almost impossible for a non-Aussie, English speaker to guess at the correct Aussie-way to say it.
And with some words/phrases, only a native speaker would catch incorrect usage. For example, in America, to "table" a discussion topic means to save it for later. In the UK, "table" has the opposite meaning: to address the topic now.
There are many other examples like these. As an American, I'd make mistakes with these, even though my Brit/Aussie accents might sound very good overall. What's worse, if the job poster were also American, these mistakes would go un-noticed and end up on the final product.
Then, we'd all look pretty silly.