By Stephanie Ciccarelli
July 13, 2012
Do you book work consistently in certain countries and don't know why?
When you do, have you noticed that the work is similar and are you able to spot a trend?
Voice over talent Christina Smith certainly has!
Hear her story in today's VOX Daily.
This may go without saying but working online opens doors for you that geographically would not have been possible before.
Christina Smith, pictured at left, is a voice talent based in the US who happens to have a large client base overseas, specifically in the Netherlands and Norway.
Although Christina isn't entirely sure why companies from countries in that part of the world want to work with her, she can't complain!
Many of Christina's overseas clients are located in:
à¹ Goor, Netherlands
à¹ Ridderkerk, Netherlands
à¹ Noordwijk, Netherlands
à¹ Eersel, Netherlands
à¹ Larvik, Norway
à¹ Paris, France
à¹ Shinfield, UK
à¹ Beijing, China
After speaking with Christina, I noticed an interesting pattern, particularly as it pertains to a few countries in Europe.
Netherlands (Holland), Belgium and Norway are all countries that while their official language is not English, they must learn it in order to communicate and work with the rest of the world. The languages spoken in these countries are not usually spoken elsewhere which is why English has become their lingua franca.
Dutch being a Germanic language (as is English), I could also see how they might want a North American English speaker with a relatively neutral accent recording voice-overs for them and may be attracted to that particular way of speaking either to emulate the speech or for consistency.
I asked some friends about their thoughts regarding the use of North American English voices with neutral accents in countries such as Holland. Fortunately for me I have a number of Dutch friends (and relatives!) so the answers came quickly.
Hans Van Den Nieuwendijk is a native Dutch voice talent who lives in the US. He writes, "We do notice an (heavy) accent when it comes to North American speakers. Especially southern accents (SC, AL, MS, FL, TX.) But most Dutch people would not be able to distinguish between someone from Wisconsin, Colorado, Virginia, Kansas, California, Ohio, Pennsylvania etc. or between a neutral American and a Canadian accent. The North American accent is very prevalent in The Netherlands, mostly because we subtitle everything so we hear the original voice(s). Aside from that, the trend over the last decade is that the English language is being used on a much wider scale. Since most of the movies/series/fashion and so on comes from the North American continent, English words in language, on TV and radio and in printed ads are widely accepted and used."
All of this may explain why the North American accent is sought after abroad, but does that explain the kind of work that overseas countries prefer the accent for?
Some of the projects Christina has been part of recently include voice-over recordings for:
à¹ Cartoon characters on animated television series geared toward preschoolers
à¹ Humorous voice acting sketches with a professional comedian and actor
à¹ Telephone auto-attendant (multiple)
à¹ Corporate Internal On Air Radio Broadcasts
à¹ Corporate Narration for Internal Presentations
à¹ Theme Park/Zoo Copy and Narration
à¹ Emergency Warnings
à¹ Videogame Character Voices
What's interesting is that Christina isn't typically hired to voice for animation on her home continent. The Europeans seem to book her for that work more often than not! Because she is also skilled at performing a variety of accents, Christina is able to cast her net even further and deliver lines with a British flair such as the ones you would hear in movies like Pixar's Brave.
Perhaps you know where Christina is coming from and have experienced similar things working with clients in countries other than your own.
How global is your voice-over career? Be sure to comment with some of the countries your voice has been heard in to join the conversation!
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