While I don't have the chance to record a lot of voiceover work, I thoroughly enjoy doing it as I feel like it gives me a better ear for the English language, and the minor inflections and changes in an individual voice. It's strange to realize how delicate, yet robust, our communication skills are and how easily the meaning of a phrase can be changed just by changing the inflection on a word or emphasizing the wrong word in a sentence. It's no wonder so much miscommunication can be caused through texting and emails.
For foreign language voiceovers, however, it can give you a quick insight into how another language moves and sounds. I recently recorded a second set of voiceovers for the industrial power tool company, FasTorq, this time in Russian. Russian is a challenge not just because they use a completely different alphabet than we do in the English language, but their phrases take approximately twice as long to say. It's the classic joke in spoofs where two lovers go back and forth, trading long-winded prose, citing their love for each other, then the English subtitles come up as: "I love you". It's not all lost in translation, Russian words are just longer. Several that we were working with were upward of 20 characters. It's a mouthful.
As long as you have a native speaker, most of these problems can be bypassed easily, and then it's just a matter of trying to keep up with the flow of the language. Working with Galina Boulgakova, an acting teacher at the Colorado Film School, made the process a lot easier as she spoke a brilliant native tongue and she held herself to a high standard, catching her own mistakes in inflection and redoing them until they were perfect. When it came down to the length of the voiceovers, however, the only solution was to chop down the script some to make the finished voiceover fit the same time constraints that we had from the English and Spanish voiceovers.
One of the finished Russian videos is below, or follow this link to find the rest of the series.