0069: One Weird Hack To Nail Location Pronunciations Every Single Time
Hey there, hero!
I’m sure that wherever you grew up, there were various names of local points of interest that had very local names.
And you know the right way to say them. But people who aren’t from around there? Not so much.
But you can only be familiar with a few areas and their peculiar place names – even if you are a military brat and moved around a lot.
So how do you handle unfamiliar location names when narrating an audiobook, or reviewing an audition script that has them?
I gotcha covered with my number one go-to source, and it works every single time.
What are the most mispronounced locations where you grew up? And if you have any other suggestions for resources, put them in the comments below.
for those of you that narrate audiobooks
did you ever wish there was an
foolproof way of pronouncing
any geographic location
like you were a local
well i’ll show you how in this episode
of the vo heroes podcast
if you will for
forgive me for the click baity kind of
title of this particular podcast episode
it actually is a strange weird hack
trick to do
that a lot of
audiobook narrators and voice over
people and actors in general because
this is applicable anytime you get a
that has a
place name a geographic name a city a
um anything that you don’t know how to
i’ve had a lot of
voice talent audiobook narrators in
particular say oh yeah right
it’s almost like you have to be reminded
of this once you’ve heard of it so
everywhere around the world city names
can be deceiving or can be confusing
as an example i grew up in ohio and in
ohio there’s a city whose name is
spelled l-i-m-a there’s also a city in
spelled l-i-m-a and they’re pronounced
differently in ohio it’s lima
and in peru it’s lima and you have to
know the difference if you’re going to
be authentic in your work
i was in a recording session at penguin
random house and
the city in massachusetts that’s
came up in the narration and i was just
cooking along and i pronounced it woburn
massachusetts and my director got on the
intercom said wait hold on hold on
and i said no i’m pretty sure it’s
i used to live in connecticut and i used
to live near
massachusetts enough that that all of
the towns in or in and around boston
became familiar to me
uh she said well i i did my research and
i said okay let’s let’s just do this and
here’s the hack
let’s just call the woburn library
and see how they answer the phone or
just ask them the question
she had the the
the intercom open as she called and they
answered the phone woburn library i’m
sorry how did you pronounce that name of
that city and she goes woburn and she
goes okay thank you that’s all we called
and then we were off to the races and
back doing it happens all the time
it happens when
get to know a piece of copy or get to
know an area
for example here
there’s a city called san pedro and some
people pronounce it san pedro but it’s
actually pronounced here in southern
california san pedro
those little tiny things can really add
up to some real authenticity when you’re
uh an audio book or you’re doing a long
form narration or even if you’re
doing a commercial for somebody local in
another market so
the weird trick hack is call a local
library and i know late at night that’s
probably not possible but
still call them because they may answer
the phone with an ivr program
that mentions the town
that you’re calling and now with phone
calls no longer really being
a cost you know you can call anywhere
usually if you’ve got a
a a reasonably
you know mobile phone contract with any
of the major carriers it’s free to call
and so give it a shot just in case right
uh and i know you probably have tons of
of figuring out how things work what’s
your favorite research hack when it
comes to voice over what do you like to
do when you’re kind of concerned that
you’re not going to get something just
uh or you forgot or whatever would get
tell me in the comments below we’d love
to find out
and by the comments below i mean over on
voheros.com where the conversation is
nice and polite and sane on purpose
do me a favor subscribe to this channel
if you’d like to and i’d love it if
you’d hit the like button in a gentle
caring way this week
and you can also pass this along to any
other voice talent or actor
that you think might benefit from the
ability to create their content and
prepare for auditions and do so
with the most precision and local uh
local flavor as possible yeah
all right i appreciate you watching and
listening i’m david h lawrence the 17th
and i will see you in the next episode
of the vo heroes podcast
I usually call the town hall. They almost always have an IVR, regardless of the time, and it usually says something like “Thank you for calling the Lima Town Hall”. Quick call, no explanations, get on with the session.
I do the same thing with Chambers of Commerce. If that doesn’t work, I’ll call the non-emergency number for the local police department. Hadn’t thought of the library, that’s a great idea.
I’ve used this technique for many years because for anyone who knows the place, a mispronunciation will take them right out of the story and they’ll miss the next three sentences and think I’m a jerk. Failing a town hall or library, there’s usually some business with the name “Raquette Lake Supply Co” that I can call off hours to get the IVR to name the place.
I go to YouTube and type: How to say _________. You have different options, I like the one where local people mention the name in an interview.
Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood did a show at the Captiol Center for the Arts in Concord, NH (yes Capitol is actually spelled with ol) . They created and sang an entire song using the word Concord. Concord is pronounced Con-curd. They sang the entire song pronouncing it Con-cord. Drove me crazy!
I google. . .”how do you pronounce Worcester.” There are whole bunches of pronunciation videos on YouTube.
For international, calling the consulate could work.
This is brilliant. And so simple. Thanks!
I don’t have a suggestion. However, I want to say how proud I was of you to hear you knew EXACTLY how to pronounce Woburn! Well done!!!
Great tip—thanks! Love this (and anything to do with libraries 😊)
I remember an incident during my radio on air career. It was during my first radio gig in a town in the northern part of Michigan’s lower peninsula. The area had many different nationalities one of which was French. There was a name spelled Demorette and was pronouced DEM mor ay (ay as in DAY). Later on I moved to Indiana and encountered a name spelled exactly the same way except there it was pronounce dem more rett. In hindsight it’ better to find out for sure.
WOW!!!! This is great advice!!!
Great idea!! It’s amazing how you can tell a non-local! I think the Arizona city of Prescott is widely mispronounced (if you don’t know, it’s more like a biscuit!). Or Houston Street in NYC is not said like the city in TX. Even a bridge in NYC/NJ is pronounced differently than a town in upstate New York of the SAME name: Pulaski. My favorite research hack is to seek out a local (or two) to make sure I’m on the right track with pronunciation.
Wow, really? I’ve probably heard thousands of traffic reports on 1010 WINS that mentioned the Pulaski Bridge, but never knew the pronunciations were different…what are the two pronunciations of Pulaski? puhLASkee and pooLASkee?
Even more different, although BOTH are named after the same person: Correct with puh-LASkee for the bridge but the upstate NY town is pronounced puh-LAS-kye with a long ‘i’ at the end – (Fun fact: Pulaski, NY is the salmon fishing capital of NY).
Thanks for the tip, David! I do that when I’m doing a local commercial, except instead of calling the library, I call the company I’m doing the ad for & see how they answer the phone! Sometimes, I need the correct pronunciation of their street or county, also.
Brilliant as usual