Voice Over Education Blog

July 2012

8 Voice Over Diction Guidelines For Voice Actors


Diction is always important, whether the script calls for a formal delivery, informal, or something in-between. Here are some general "diction guidelines" that almost always apply.

1. "The" and "a".

Pronounce "the" with a soft "e." Pronounce "a" with a soft "a". This is how we generally say these words in everyday conversation. Unfortunately, when reading scripts, we tend to over-enunciate and, inappropriately, use hard vowels, for a variety of reasons having to do with psychology or training. Ironically, this over-enunciation is the one of the biggest indicators that we are reading.

2. Complicated words.

When first looking at a script, it is often difficult to anticipate which words you might be likely to slur. Look again, for multi-syllable words and other potential pitfalls. Remember that your voice over is often mixed with music and/or sound effects, making it more difficult to distinguish slurred words. Also remember that listeners are rarely hanging on your every word, and are easily distracted.

So ensure that your delivery is clear enough for the most casual listener to understand.

To pronounce a challenging word, break it into separate syllables and concentrate on each one, pronouncing each of them individually. For example, if "particularly" is particularly difficult to pronounce, pronounce it with a space between each syllable, like this:

par...tic...u...lar...ly

Then, connect the syllables, while still concentrating on each one individually:

particularly

3. Complicated "tongue twister" phrases.

Tongue twisters are phrases in which similar sounds are connected. They often occur because the scriptwriter focuses more on the content than on the fact that someone will have to read it.

8 Voice Over Diction Guidelines For Voice Actors


Diction is always important, whether the script calls for a formal delivery, informal, or something in-between. Here are some general "diction guidelines" that almost always apply.

1. "The" and "a".

Pronounce "the" with a soft "e." Pronounce "a" with a soft "a". This is how we generally say these words in everyday conversation. Unfortunately, when reading scripts, we tend to over-enunciate and, inappropriately, use hard vowels, for a variety of reasons having to do with psychology or training. Ironically, this over-enunciation is the one of the biggest indicators that we are reading.

2. Complicated words.

When first looking at a script, it is often difficult to anticipate which words you might be likely to slur. Look again, for multi-syllable words and other potential pitfalls. Remember that your voice over is often mixed with music and/or sound effects, making it more difficult to distinguish slurred words. Also remember that listeners are rarely hanging on your every word, and are easily distracted.

So ensure that your delivery is clear enough for the most casual listener to understand.

To pronounce a challenging word, break it into separate syllables and concentrate on each one, pronouncing each of them individually. For example, if "particularly" is particularly difficult to pronounce, pronounce it with a space between each syllable, like this:

par...tic...u...lar...ly

Then, connect the syllables, while still concentrating on each one individually:

particularly

3. Complicated "tongue twister" phrases.

Tongue twisters are phrases in which similar sounds are connected. They often occur because the scriptwriter focuses more on the content than on the fact that someone will have to read it.

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