Glossary of Voice Over Terms



AVO - announcer voice-over. (See: voice over)

Agent - a person who represents talent (actors, singers, voice actors, etc.) and works on their behalf to arrange auditions for their talent with casting directors and producers. An agent acts as a middleman between the talent and the relevant casting director/producer, negotiating fees as well as dates of employment.

Accent - the way in which a language is pronounced. The accent of individuals will be different depending on the country they are from but there can also be a noticeable difference in accents between areas of a country. Differences in accents can be heard in the way the person emphasizes particular sounds.

Advert - (See: commercial; commercial film; CM; CF; spot) - shortened from "Advertisement." A commercial.

Anime - Japanese animation. A vibrant, colorful style of cartoon movie or TV program featuring futuristic or fantasy themes, aimed at all ages.

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Booth - (See: voice booth; vocal booth) - an enclosed room or space containing a microphone, and which is acoustically treated inside and out with sound-blocking materials.

Brand name - a familiar or widely known name used by a manufacturer or merchant for a distinctive service, concept or product.

Business video - (See: company video; corporate video; explainer video; institutional video) - video content that introduces and describes a company, business, product or service. Usually intended for viewing by a targeted audience.

Buyout - (Related: Conflict; Exclusivity; Limitations; Restrictions) - the client's payment to the voice talent includes a stipulation that the client will own all rights to the voice over and may use the voice over forever and for any purpose on any medium.

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CM - See: advert; commercial; commercial film; CF; spot)

CF - See: advert; commercial; commercial film; CM; spot)

Cancellation fee - if a booking is confirmed and is then cancelled by the booking party, a penalty payment is charged to the booking party.

Character - (Related: role) - a person in a play, movie, novel, story, or game.

Character voice - a unique voice style created by the voice actor to represent the voice of a cartoon character or object, such as talking animals.

Clean - an audio file that does not contain unwanted noises.

Company video - (See: business video; corporate video; explainer video; institutional video)

Commercial film - (See: commercial; CM; CF; spot) - a commercial.

Commercial - (Related: commercial film; CM; CF; spot) - a paid advertisement promoting products, services, organizations, ideas, and so on, in audio or video form.

Confirmation - an acknowledgment of definite assurance. Ex. Once confirmed the parties are committed to the recording session.

Conflict - (Related: Buyout; Exclusivity; Limitations; Restrictions) - being the voice over artist for two commercials for products that are competitors. Conflicts are avoided by terms in the voice over contact which restricts the type of job that a voice over talent can accept.

Console - a large piece of equipment in the recording studio control room, which contains controls for the audio input, has volume-level meters, and has controls for other functions related to audio recording. The console may be installed on a wide, desk-like counter, or may be a one-piece unit. The audio engineer sits at the console and adjusts the controls as necessary.

Control room - in a recording studio, the control room is usually adjacent to the soundproofed studio, and allows a view of the studio activity through a glass window. The audio engineer operates the console while the director and others may observe the studio activity.

Copy - written material. The text of an advertising message.

Copywriter - a person who writes copy, especially for advertisements.

Corporate video - (See: business video; company video; explainer video; institutional video)

Custom demo - a sample recording of a short part of the client's actual script so the client can hear and example of the voice over talent's tone and style.

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Demo reel - (See: demo; reel; voice demo)

Dialogue - the conversation between two or more characters in a story.

Direction - instructions for the actors about how to say the words in the script or how to perform otherwise.

Director - the person who determines the flow of the performance of an actor in an audition, play, film or recording session. The director desires to have the actor's performance achieve the director's concept of the production.

Dubbing - the process of replacing dialogue or other sounds in the sound track of a movie that has already been filmed. Dubbing is most commonly used as way of translating foreign-language movies into the audience's language. The voices of the actors on the screen are replaced by voices that are not those of the on-screen actors.

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EFX - Effects. (See: SFX; sound effects)

Emcee - Master of Ceremonies (MC). A person whose job is to host an event, ceremony, or other social occasion, and introduce participants and performers.

E-Learning - learning or training provided through electronic means outside of a traditional classroom. The most popular example of this is learning courses on the internet but also includes computer-based learning, and other electronic educational applications.

Editing - of an existing audio file, removing unwanted sounds and other unwanted material, or adding material, or rearranging parts. Unwanted sounds include breaths, mouth noises, "pop" sounds and "click" sounds. Audio processing effects may also be implemented during the editing process.

Engineer - (See: sound engineer) - the person in the recording studio who operates the audio console and equipment during a recording session.

Explainer video - (See: company video; corporate video; institutional video)

Exclusivity - (Related: Buyout; Conflict; Limitations; Restrictions) In voice over, exclusivity means the client has paid for exclusive rights to the talent's voice regarding the voice over performed for the client. The talent is prohibited from recording a voice over for a similar product or service, for a specified period of time.

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Finished minute - one minute of recorded audio. An audio file that has undergone editing to remove unwanted noises and sounds, and is one minute in length. A finished minute is ready for post-production or may be used as-is.


Game - (See: video game)

Game role - a character in a video game.

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Home studio - a recording studio in or attached to a home. Home studios are usually installed in disused rooms, garages, basements, closets or other suitable spaces.

How-to video - describes how to do or make something, by following basic instructions, or step-by-step instructions.

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IVR - (See: On Hold) - Interactive Voice Response. An automated telephone system that interacts with callers. Voice prompts and menus are used to guide the caller and route calls to the appropriate recipient.

Intonation - the change of pitch in your voice as you express emotions and attitudes. This rise and fall of voice pitch helps the listener to determine the difference between a question and a statement.

Inflection - a change in the pitch of your voice to reinforce the meaning of a particular word. By doing this, you are changing the way the word is said and heard. Therefore, the listener will know how to react and they will know how you feel.

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Jingle - a short,catchy, distinctive song which incorporates a memorable advertising slogan or musical tune. Used in radio and TV advertising.

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Limitations - (Related: Buyout; Conflict; Exclusivity; Restrictions)

Lines - the copy in the script that is to be spoken by an actor. A section of uninterrupted text spoken by an actor or performer in a play, movie. Ex. The actor had trouble remembering his lines.

Lip synch - typically applied to foreign films which are not in the viewership's native language, lip synching is dialogue in a different language that replaces the foreign language, and which exactly matches the lip movement of the actors.

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Media - TV and radio broadcasting, newspapers, magazines, billboards, direct mail, internet, etc.

Mic - microphone.

Mix - combining multiple audio tracks, audio effects, and other audio elements to create a final audio production.

Mother tongue - (See: native language)

MP3 - (Also .mp3) - the name of an audio file extension.

Mr. Miyagi - Japanese-accented English that sounds like the Mr. Miyagi character in the 1984 movie The Karate Kid.

Music bed - the background music that is placed under the words spoken by the voice over artist. The voice over talent speaks over a music bed.

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Narrator - a person who provides spoken commentary for a video or audio production. A person who provides commentary that helps convey a story.

Narration - spoken commentary for a video or audio production. Usually associated with documentary films, the narration provides an account describing a course of events in some kind of chronological order.

Native language - the language that a person learned from birth or from earliest childhood. (Also mother tongue)

Noise - in audio, any sound that is unwanted on the audio file. Background sounds that are annoying which are unintentionally recorded with the desired sound. Noise removal occurs during the audio editing process.

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On-hold - (See: IVR) - a telephone function used to briefly disconnect the two callers without ending the call. It is quite often used by businesses while the customer is being transferred to a different department or while the employer carries out a particular action. They may put you ‘on-hold’ while they check some details with a manager so you don’t hear their conversation. Music is often played during this time.

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Playback - replaying an audio or video recording in order to hear or see it again.

Plosive - a speech sound that is made by blocking a particular part of your mouth using the lips, tongue or throat. For example, when you say ‘pass’, your lips close for the ‘p’ sound, stopping air from entering or leaving. Other examples include; T, K and D. In a voice recording, "P" plosives can cause an especially noticeable "popping" sound.

Post-production - after an audio file has been recorded, post-production is the stage when adjustments are made to the file. This includes the addition of music or special effects, editing, sound design, audio mixing, etc. Videos and films go through the post-production stage.

Pop - a sharp "puh" sound made by saying plosives such as "P." In a voice over recording, pops are to be avoided.

Preview - (See: Trailer )

Proofread - to check text for grammatical or punctuation errors before it gets printed, published or otherwise released to the public or other entity. Proofreading is normally the last step before production.

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Radio jingle - a short, catchy song that tells you the call letters, frequency, or name of the radio station you're listening to. Jingles are used for radio station branding and identification.

Reporter - a person employed to gather news and write about it for publication or broadcast.

Read (noun) - a person's vocal interpretation of something, especially of the words spoken in a script. The talent's approach to the script. Ex. The director asked for a slower read.

Real-time - something happening now. Something that is being broadcast at the actual time during which a process or event occurs. A live broadcast.

Reel - (See: demo reel; voice demo).

Restrictions — (Related: Buyout; Conflict; Exclusivity; Limitations) - a stipulation that the talent is prohibited from recording a voice over for a similar product or service, for a specified period.

Retake - to record a part of the script again.

Role - a part or character played by a performer in a play, movie, etc.

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SFX - (See: FX; sound effects)

Sample Rate - a number that indicates the amount of information used in the creation of a digital audio file, expressed in samples per second, or hertz (Hz). The sample rate describes the frequency at which a signal is periodically sampled or measured. CD quality audio = 44.1kHz.

Scratch track - a voice over, typically by a non-professional and recorded on desktop equipment, that is not the final voice over. A scratch track is used temporarily in a video. The scratch track provides an example of the desired voice style which can be referred to by the professional voice over talent.

Session - a period of time devoted to any recording made in a studio.

Script - the written text of a screenplay, play, broadcast, or speech.

Seiyuu - the Japanese word that means "voice actor" or "voice actress."

Sound effects - (See: FX; SFX) - a sound, other than speech or music, typically used to enhance a recording. They can be used in a number of platforms including TV, film and radio. Sound effects are added to help tell the story and inform the listener/viewer exactly what is occurring. For example, the sound of thunder may be used to inform the listener/viewer of the weather conditions.

Sound engineer - (See: Engineer)

Spot - (See: commercial; commercial film; CM; CF)

Storyboard - a series of illustrations that shows the sequence of events in a film, TV show, or video game. This can help to find errors before production starts. Typically drawn on a large board, the scene sketches may also include sample dialogue or other text. Storyboards may include camera-angle instructions and other directions for the production staff.

Studio - an acoustically treated "quiet" facility where a recording session is held. Typically a studio consists of a room called the "studio" and a room called the "control room."

Sync - (Also Synch)

Synch - aligning tracks to start or end together. If video and audio are recorded separately, synching makes the tracks match up in post production. (Also Sync)

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TV commercial - a commercial that is broadcast on television.

Tag - additional information spoken at the end of a commercial, such as a website address, legal disclaimer, or movie opening date. The tag voice may be different from the voice of the main part of the commercial. Ex. "Use only as directed", "Batteries not included", "Starts Friday at a theater near you. Check paper for theater and showtimes."

Take - the recording of a single continuous performance. During a recording session, the actor may perform several takes due to the actor's mistakes in previous takes or the director may request additional takes in order to capture a specific mood in the performance.

Tempo - the speed at which copy is read.

Tight - too many words for the allotted time of a script. If a script is supposed to take 60-seconds to read, but there are too many words for the voice talent to say properly in 60-seconds, the script is said to be "tight." The number of words in the script must then be reduced, or the allotted time increased, or the time may stay fixed and the voice talent may be instructed to read as fast as possible. Ex. "A tight script".

Time - the length of a script, such as 60-seconds, 20 minutes, etc.

Time code - a digital read-out on a video referring to video positions. The length of scenes can be determined by counting the seconds/minutes of a given scene. By watching the time code, the length of a passage of a script can be ascertained and written on the script to aid the voice over talent.

Timing - (Related: time code) - the length of a passage of a script in minutes/seconds which is written on the script to aid the voice over talent.

Tone - a modulation of the voice expressing a particular feeling or mood.

Trailer - a commercial that promotes a film or video release. (Also Preview)

Track - an individual sound recording, separate from every other sound recording in an audio project. Tracks are combined to be heard at the same time. A typical song recording was mixed into a single track from multiple tracks of different instruments, plus the vocal track or tracks.

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Usage - in voice over, how the commercial, video or other project will be used, such as broadcast on television, aired on radio, shown on a screen at an exhibition, published on a website, etc.


VO - short for voice over. (Also written as V-O)

Vocal booth - (See: voice booth; booth)

Voice booth - (See: vocal booth; booth)

Voice demo - (See: demo reel; reel)

Voice over - (Also written as voice over; voice-over; voiceover) - an unseen narrator’s voice in a documentary, a TV commercial, a film, an audiobook or other type of recording.

Voice over artist - (See: voice over talent; voice talent) - a person who performs voice over.

Voice over talent - (See: voice over artist; voice talent)

Voice talent - (See: voice over artist; voice over talent)

VP - video production.

Video Game (See: game) - typically an electronic game that is played utilizing a special game console connected to a TV. The player is normally required to control characters on the screen and perform tasks using the controlling device connected to the console. Video games may also be played on computers, arcade game machines, or portable digital devices.

Voice actor - (Related: voice over artist; voice over talent;: voice talent.) - a person who performs the voice of a character in animated films, video games, etc.

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WAV (Also .wav) - the name of an audio file extension.




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