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More Variety in GPS Voices?

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

July 30, 2009

Comments (8)

GPS voice oversDo you have a GPS (global positioning satellite) in your car?

Perhaps you've taken a special interest in the voice of your GPS.

Maybe you're even the voice talent behind a GPS!

Today we're going to take a closer look at voices and how they are used to help us navigate the open road.

GPS Voices

GPS systems can be standalone but a growing number of vehicles are now coming equipped with an internal GPS, usually providing you with one GPS voice, and only one way that the voice gives you directions (or delivers their lines).

I've heard of GPS systems that give you a choice between two voices, a male voice and a female voice, GPS systems that are recorded in different languages, celebrity GPS voices, and even GPS systems that make you feel like you are part of a television series such as the Knight Rider GPS on the market featuring KITT's voice.

Choices, Choices!

While there are a great many voices out there recording for GPS systems, it occurred to me that people driving the cars might want to hear their GPS deliver the directions in different moods in addition to being able to potentially choose which voice they hear.

For instance, maybe you'd prefer a gentle, encouraging voice to guide you that helps you to keep your cool if you get lost or miss a turn or an exit.

On the flip side, maybe you'd like to hear a sarcastic or deprecating voice that reprimands you for failing to follow their directions. Don't think there would be a market for this? Consider the people who will pay extra money to go to a restaurant to have the staff insult them and pour drinks on their head... this does exist, believe it or not!

If a GPS system could respond with more varied emotion, that would certainly be interesting and present greater value to the customer. The GPS voices I've heard deliver directions generally do so in the same tone. I'm sure this is done on purpose to preserve neutrality and consistency, especially if the voice is representative of a brand.

Does a GPS need to be re-engineered to convey different emotional states or possess artificial intelligence? No, we don't need to go that far. All that's needed is some extra vocal direction and script modifications so that when the voice artist is in the booth, they have more to work with when recording different interpretations of the script.

What Do You Think?

Do you find that there is enough variety in the voice over, or do you feel that there could be more options?

Let's discuss this now at VOX Daily!

Cheers,

Stephanie

©iStockphoto.com/Roberta Casaliggi

Related Topics: booth, car gps, Celebrity, celebrity voices, global positioning satellite, GPS, gps voices, KITT, Knight Rider


Comments


    Hi Stephanie,
    I have done 2 GPS voices for Pigtones through Voices.com
    One was George W Bush, the other was Homer.
    I think there is a big market for those kind of voices.....always takes a little while to take off these things!

    Cheers
    tombrom

    Posted by:

      Back in 2005, when GSP systems were still rather new, I made two voices (Darth Vader and Yoda) for TomTom Go GPS systems just for fun. I shared them on a GPS message board just to get feedback from some users of that board. I had no idea there was a market for such things. Anyhow some time later, much to my surprise someone in the UK was selling them on eBay. He sold hunderds of them! Later, I saw they were available for free in a torrent. About a year ago I found an newspaper article on the subject. Yoda seems to be very popular. Over 4,000 people in the UK alone have Yoda on their GPS. I haven't made one penny with them.

      Now unless you WANT to share your GPS voice for free with the world, I wouldn't advise you to make such voices. Unless they come up with a kind of copy protection (which will be hacked before you can imply it to your voices) it's better to make them as free giveways.

      On the other hand, it's a nice gift to give to your regular clients at the beginning of a new year.

      Posted by:

        Hi Stephanie,

        Like Tom, I've also voiced for PigTones - you can hear me there as Sean Connery.

        It's pretty odd when I drive... hearing myself as Sean giving directions to, uh, me...

        Cheers,
        Joe

        Posted by:

          I too did a GPS voice over via pigtones.com. I did the Elvis Presley voice over and my son Jared did the Captain Jack Sparrow.

          They were a lot of fun to voice and makes the GPS even more fun to use and listen to.

          Posted by:

            I have always wanted to be a voice for GPS system - I like telling people what to do and where to go, so it's always been something "on my list." I would like to know if anyone has done these systems PROFESSIONALLY - ie. for pay - either straight or characters, and what is/was the usual pay, or rates, for these kind of projects. Thanks for sharing...

            Be well - Be happy - Have fun!
            m
            *

            Posted by:

              My great-aunt is so fond of her GPS voice that she's given it a name - "Aimee" - or, Aim Me!

              Posted by:

                Does anyone still have the script to GPS system or now where could I find one?

                Posted by:
                • Ms G
                • November 10, 2009 10:06 AM

                  Another thought, I, like Tom and Joe, did voiceovers for pigtones. Just like people enjoy a variety in their ring tones for their phone, I think variety in your GPS is a good thing. We all get tired of the same ole thing and so a funny or different voice on your GPS in my opinion helps break the monotony and keeps things fun.

                  By the way Tom and Joe, great job on your voiceovers for pigtones.

                  Posted by:

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