Audio recordings

I spent a day this week in a recording studio, putting together some of the audios for the material I’m working as a development editor on. It was an interesting day and it made the audio scripts I’ve been poring over for the past months come to life.

It was difficult to listen and keep track of the audio scripts and  check that they were read correctly.  It is tempting to improvise, especially when some of the dialogues and texts are worded a little awkwardly and  can be quite dry. Unfortunately all the recordings, however dull, need to be exactly the same as the written ones, as the lessons are based around them.  It was also challenging to ensure that dialogues and texts were said at the correct pace, particularly towards the end of the day, when my concentration was fading! At the end all the recordings seemed to be too quick. Some of the voice actors hadn’t recorded EFL material before and they found it hard to speak at the required pace, especially keeping voice expression and non-standard accents to a minimum. It is unnatural to speak so slowly for a whole day and a challenge, even for some one who’s used to it. Hopefully the final audios sound as they should. It’s hard to tell listening in real time. Mind you, if they are too fast they can be slowed down in the editing stage, as I found out.

I also learnt that that if you turn your head away form the microphone when saying ‘p’ you prevent the popping sound. It was interesting to discover, although not really surprising, that voice actors also tune into the rhythm of a language.

It was good to experience another side of publishing EFL materials.


About sarahali

I am linguist working in the EFL field. I started my teaching career in East Germany in 1997, continuing for a while (7 years) in Austria before settling back in the UK, where I am now based. I have taught English in various forms (ESP, ESOL, Business English, EFL (general) and EAP) to students ranging from 3 years of age to 80. I have written, developed and edited teaching material and curricular for the Arabic speaking world, as well as African countries. I have also written materials and teacher's books for 3-year olds learning in multi-lingual schools in Spain and have worked on translating and adapting Early Readers for the international market. I'm currently a senior tutor for EAP, a TEL coordinator and an academic proofreader. I also work as a freelance materials writer and developer. I speak English, German and French, with a basic knowledge of Arabic and Spanish.
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