By Stephanie Ciccarelli
October 26, 2013
In a world that seems to keep getting smaller and smaller, the need for localization has never been greater.
You may have heard the term "native speaker" being used, particularly in translation circles or when spotting a job posting targeted to people living in a specific geographical area.
Why should companies hire native speakers? What sort of an edge do native speakers have over other voice talent who, while capable of communicating in said language, were not raised speaking it?
Find out why your mother tongue can make all the difference in today's VOX Daily!
I Love Native Speakers
You might be wondering why I'm so excited about Native Speakers. Here's why.
In a recent conversation with Spanish voice over talent, Simone Fojgiel, I learned that 70% of the projects she receives from her clients that were translated from English into Spanish required revisions. Some even needed complete overhauls due to poor translation work. For the record, we're not talking the odd script here and there...we're talking nearly three quarters of all submitted scripts!
Before we start pointing fingers at translators in general, we need to take a deep breath and consider why some translations may be poor, inaccurate or altogether baffling. My dear friends, it all comes to down to whether or not the translator is a native speaker of the language they're translating in.
To give you an example, I am a native speaker of the English language, and more specifically, English as it is spoken in Canada. Drill down further still, I speak English in the Province of Ontario. On a regional level, I come from the southwest. The language I was raised speaking was English, I'm fluent in English, understand colloquialisms, proper intonation and the like. To put it succinctly, I am a native speaker of the English spoken in Southwestern Ontario, Canada.
Most of the time, we think about the Spanish of Spain and then the Spanish spoken in Latin American countries. Can you even name three dialects of Spanish actively employed today? Here's a list:
- Bolivian Spanish
- Caribbean Spanish
- Central American Spanish
- Andean Spanish
- Chilean Spanish
- Colombian - Ecuadorian Spanish
- Mexican Spanish
- Northern Mexican Spanish
- Paraguayan Spanish
- Peruvian Spanish
- Puerto Rican Spanish
- Spanish from the River Plate or Buenos Aires Spanish or Montevideo Spanish
Let's not forget Neutral Latin American Spanish. It's a great bridge dialect so to speak that is recognizable to a wide spectrum of Spanish speakers.
To Serve and Protect
Something I love about Simone is that she's made it her mission to protect, preserve and propel the brand image of her English clients as they step out boldly in effort to communicate to Spanish speaking audiences.
She'll stop at nothing to keep bad translations at bay in order to shape the client's message to match the heart language of those meant to hear it. After years in advertising and broadcast radio, Simone found an opportunity to use her linguistic gifts to serve as a voice director for Spanish productions.
In addition to reviewing, prepping and even writing copy for her clients, Simone is actively involved in directing the voice-over talent to guarantee their performance is just right for the target audience. Performance means their ability to phrase well, to have good diction, know where to inflect and how as well as grasp the copywriter's intent. Having a native speaker directing a session is just as important as having a native speaker voicing in the booth. After all, getting the message right is a team sport.
6 Reasons Why Native Speakers Are Awesome
- They understand their audiences
- Their audiences understand them
- They connect on a different level with their audience
- They require less technical coaching
- A native speaker "gets" the script
- Native speakers can catch and correct errors in the script
Do You Embrace Your Native Tongue?
If you're actively promoting your native tongue, good on you! Authenticity in voice-over is a great thing and exactly what is required.
Comment to let me know how you position yourself as a native speaker and how that's worked out for you.