A voice over industry glossary of jargon

Sometimes, you just have to know the jargon. And our industry is filled with it. Here’s a list of words and phrases we use in voice over, and note that it’s a never-ending work in progress.

Oh, and GeekSpeak® is a registered trademark of VO2GoGo, Inc.

ABC (or 123)

To perform 3 takes in an audition, with different approaches, all contained in the same audio submission file.


Variously, Additional Dialog Recording or Automated Dialog Replacement – the process of adding layers of sound to scenes on film. Also known as looping or walla.


An unnatural, presentational read, which can sound like the announcers of old. The opposite of a conversational read.

Cold read

Giving a performance with almost no preparation, by quickly sizing up the copy and .


A direction often followed by “non-announcery” and meaning to speak naturally, as in everyday conversation—without fanfare or embellishment.


A term also used in newspapers and television news, it’s the script used in production (not an actual copy of something – that’s called a dub).


The abbreviation for the word “decibel,” a unit of measurement for the loudness of sound.


To make a copy a piece of audio, or when used as a noun, the actual copy that is created.

Martini shot

The final shot, set-up or take of the working day, a throwback to the days in Hollywood where cast and crew would wrap and then convene after shooting/recording at a local bar for martinis and other refreshment.


The abbreviation for MPEG-1, Level 3, an industry standard audio format used to minimize the size of files while maintaining quality sound.


To adjust the overall volume of a recording uniformly across its entire duration. Usually executed to a maximum level of -3 dB.

Pick up

Content that is voiced after the initial read to correct or update the script.


Usually the last line of a spot, as a legal requirement (“Member FDIC”) or a location or contact information (“Visit our Smithtown location at 123 Main Street”). There may be a set of tags to be recorded if the spot rotates with, as an example, different locations of the advertiser.


An abbreviation for voice over.

If you’ve got an industry word or a phrase you’d like us to add to GeekSpeak®, just drop David a line at [email protected]