By Stephanie Ciccarelli
July 17, 2007
As part of this worldly voices week, I'm pleased to present you with this interview I conducted with Jorge Velasco, a Spanish male voice actor based in BogotÃ¡, Colombia.
Meet Jorge Velasco, one of the Spanish voices in your neighborhood at Voices.com!
Stephanie: What role on the world stage does the language you speak play in the world of voice over? Is your language in demand in places other than where you are from?
Jorge: Spanish is the second most spoken language in a number countries and is the official language in more than 20 countries. I understand that the US is the 4th most populated country regarding people of Hispanic heritage with a population of 35 million Hispanics, and by 2010, the US will place 2nd for the highest Hispanic population¦ so there is a great demand!
Stephanie: What makes the language you speak unique?
Jorge: Spanish is unique mostly because it™s the official language in countries from different continents, but also because the Spanish language has a great variety of accents and dialects. For example, there is European Spanish and Latin American Spanish as well as accents like Argentinean, Mexican, Venezuelan, Chilean, and Cuban or neutral Spanish like the Spanish spoken in Colombia for example.
Stephanie: What is the difference between a native speaker of your language and someone who is a descendant of a native speaker living abroad?
Sometimes when people move or pass their mother tongue onto their children after they have emigrated, it may not be exactly the same or in tune with what is going on where they originally came from dialect wise. How important is it that a native speaker is hired for a job as opposed to someone who grew up in a bilingual home in North America speaking a mixture English and your native language?
Jorge: Even though I™m a US citizen, I have lived most of my life in Colombia (South America), so I consider myself a native Spanish voice talent. I have produced voice over work for North and South America. I™m also a producer and sometimes I hire other Spanish talents. Because of my experience I can conclude that a native Spanish voice talent has a cleaner and neutral Spanish accent, which makes it easier to help the client express their original English idea in a more œLatino way. We must remember that it™s not only about translation; it™s about sending the message in a way that makes the listener feel that they are being communicated to by someone from the same culture.
Stephanie: How do you market yourself to North Americans? What do you have to give them as a native speaker of your language that no one else can?
Jorge: I think of myself not as a Spanish voice talent, but as a company with an integral service that works practically the same way like it was in North America. The rest is up to your demos. If you are talented, your demos will show it no matter where you are or what language you speak!
Stephanie: What is the North American market like for your language or dialect. Have you found much success with North American clients? What kind of jobs are you most hired for by North American companies?
Jorge: North America™s Hispanic market is huge, and as I said before, it™s growing fast. When I spend enough time looking for jobs with North American clients, I am rewarded. I usually get hired for corporate videos, PBX prompts, e-learning courses, documentaries, and on occasion for local or regional radio / TV spots.
Stephanie: When you invoice a client who is not from your native land, what currency do you quote in?
Jorge: Always in US dollars and via PayPal. However, I give my clients the option to pay by Moneybookers (by the way, it is cheaper than PayPal) or by ACH transfer to my US bank account.
Stephanie: Do you enjoy greater success marketing your voice online or offline to clients? What are the major differences where your efforts are concerned?
Jorge: I know that I must promote my voice offline too because that™s how I get most of my jobs, but I feel that there are more available tools to do it online rather than offline. You just have to learn how to use them. When you promote your services offline, you must knock on several doors before getting jobs. When you do it online, you wear yourself out less by knocking on œvirtual doors, and even better: You can create your own œonline doors so others will come and knock to hire you!
Stephanie: How would you describe your experience finding work online?
Jorge: It™s been a good experience! In fact some colleagues asked me to help them marketing their voices. However, I always tell them that if they sit down and wait for lots of jobs relying solely on their website, they will lose time and money. You have to work hard at online marketing so when you haven't any time to answer leads (like it happens to me sometimes), you can follow up with private leads and quote requests by email. I promote my services through voice over marketplaces, lead services, voice banks, and my own website (which I™m redesigning right now), JorgeVelasco.com or http://www.spanishvoiceovertalent.com. I have some skills in SEO (Search Engine Optimization), which I try to apply constantly on my websites. By the way, my site at Voices.com, SpanishVoice.Voices.com gives me good search engine exposure.
Stephanie: Do you have the ability to speak more than one language? If so, is this a great advantage for you?
Jorge: I do speak English with a very slight Hispanic accent. This has helped me to work on several bilingual projects, and sometimes, I provide the client with the additional benefit of English to Spanish translation¦ more $ :o) If a Spanish Voice Over Talent wants to break into North America™s Hispanic market and be in touch with producers or voice seekers, speaking and writing English will be a must, at least at an intermediate level.
Stephanie: Do you have a North American agent?
Jorge: No, I don™t have a North American Agent right now. If I want to compete with Spanish Voice Talents from North America, I must do it almost as if I live there. That™s why I'll soon have my own ISDN line and Source-Connect offerings. Following that I will look for an agent in the US. That being said, I am accept offers ;)
To learn more about Jorge Velasco, visit his websites:Accent, child, hired, how to, ISDN, radio, TV