English is not exactly a phonetic language. Take the common letter combination: “O–U-G-H”. How should it be pronounced? As in doughnut? What about “through“? Had enough? What are your thoughts?

So, when you hand a script to a professional voice-over person, please have the courtesy of supplying a pronunciation guide for the unusual words and family names that might be in question. Spelling is seldom a help when it comes to names. How do you say Stein? Is it with a broad EEEE, or does it have an EYE sound? The spelling doesn’t tell you. Like, how DO you say the name of that Kentucky city?! Looey, Loua, Lewis, SOMEkinda “ville!”

If you drive up California Route 1, north of San Francisco, you’ll cross the Tamalpais Mountains near Mill Valley. Tamalpais… go on, say it. If you’ve never been there you won’t know that it’s supposed to be pronounced TA-MA-PIE– US… accent on the third syllable. Took me a while to learn to ignore that “L.”

There are small towns by the name of “Henrico” in both Virginia and North Carolina… not too far from each other. But one is HEN-RYE-KO and the other is EN-REE-KO.

The difference between Beaufort, North Carolina, and Beaufort, South Carolina is, one is BO-FORT and the other is BEW-FERT.

See what I mean? The world is filled with other examples… and, most likely, so is your script. So, if you’re supposed get someone to read your script correctly on the first try, you’d better come to the studio armed with pronunciations. Because we voiceover folk make a lot of money from those of you who don’t come prepared and have to hire us to come back and make repairs at a later date. Frankly, we’d rather do it right the first time, if you’ll just give us the information we need.