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Know the way to talk: Importance of pronunciation

Updated: May 13, 2022


It's a pleasure to work on some professional voice auditions during these years. From Japanese voice actors and potential VA professionals, all of the voices can't be easily described with text. However, it's "literally" my job to write down the voices.


Taiwan lived in a golden age of voice acting in the '90s. But for now, there are series of techniques going to be on the verge of extinction. Our generations are having difficulties to pass on the torch because of the huge gap in voice acting experience. I hope this article could help some people in Taiwan go through the right direction in this not-so-open industry, and share my experiences about the voice acting job in Taiwan.


So, let's see why pronunciation matters.

 

If you have some friends who are fluent in Chinese speaking, and they even get mistaken for Taiwanese people by hearing them talking, you can ask them how they do it! You might get one of these answers:


"Just mix all their words"
"Simplify their terms"
"Put some meaningless auxiliary words at the end of sentences like......Ah Oh Ho"




For Japanese, they have other issues. A little bit awkward...





This means something. Most of people in Taiwan are not familiar with the so-called "standard" Chinese speaking. They are not used to it, and some of them can't do it. If we go through some podcasters or virtual youtubers in Taiwan (whose jobs have a lot to do with voices), their pronunciation skill is only on the average level.


You might say, it's okay to stay this way, right? In some perspectives, yes. If they can fulfill their work with amazing visuals and creative ideas, the importance of voice skill would not be that crucial. But when we explore to the channels with top-tier subscribers, you just can tell from their vivid voices: they are some true voice talents.


And now, my voice talent senior comes in, having a long sigh:


"That's why I have such crazy loadings on my cases..."

It's like...the importance to speak properly doesn't matter, gradually. TV corporations tend to stay with original voice in their purchased royalties to lower the cost of local language voice-overs. There's less chance to do the acting. At the same time, the needs for commercial ads VOs and narrations are still there. Some people might think that the seniors are not willing to pass on the experiences. That's the reason why we are in the rabbit hole. (Yet this problem is more likely due to the industry structural change)


From another perspective, if we can do our best on pronunciation, it's easy to separate us from others in all voice acting works. And this skill is something that will be useful in our whole lives. Not only we can create a good first impression to others, we are also prone to control what others feel.


However, it's not easy to pronunciate properly for some people. Pronunciation might be simple and fundamental, but the most difficult part is to change what we used to do in our whole lives. On the other side, it's kind of cruel to see other talented people to improve a lot in just several months.


After all, we do all this to captivate others by our voices. That's a fair trade.


After we have our pronunciations right, we can start to develop intermediate things. Like vocal expressions, voice changing, emotion studies. What we can do to improve our pronunciation skill, is to speak properly in our daily lives. These are the best chances do to learn with effienciency. So we can be ready to face the most creative part - vocal expressions.


In the profession of voice acting, the ability to read is as important as the ability to speak. To express the feelings thoroughly and correctly, reading text and speaking without mistake are the basics for them. They are figuring out everything in their lives, like family, friends, animals, to get the best performance in their acting. They are the experts in inspecting everything lives. And this is one of the reasons they touch hearts via their voices.


If you are interested in this article, try reading this article loud and record your voice! You will find your own pros/cons by listening to your voice again and again. As time goes by, you will have a complete imagination of your ideal voice and get confident in your voice!


Next time, we'll talk about the mechanics of tuning.


Hope you like this article. We'll see you next time!



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