Medical work is an interesting sub-discipline of the voice artist’s job – there is a huge range of drug names*, a lot of medical Latin to pronounce, and the challenge of striking the right tone when the audience may be students, professors or people suffering from serious disease.
All this can be complicated by other uncontrollable factors – like the need to provide audio synced to an existing animation with a guide track recorded by someone else, for example. A combination of ADR experience and some careful work in ProTools and Final Cut Pro or Premiere generally enables us to sort these problems out seamlessly.
P.S. I mentioned the huge range of drug names – medicinal compounds generally have at least three: a code name used by the lab in development, a generic name for the compound when released from the lab into the wider world, and a trade name that patients recognise and, perhaps, ask for in the chemist’s shop. Sometimes there are more than three, and regional variations – I don’t know what the development lab called it but acetaminophen is generically known as Paracetamol in the UK, but in the USA you could buy it as Tylenol.
Occasionally I am asked to pronounce names that have never appeared in the public domain – we always ask the maker for a pronunciation guide but that doesn’t always help. Once I rang a certain life sciences company, got through to the lab where they developed a particular compound, and asked “How do you pronounce this new drug Argostifandumate?” (That’s a made-up name). “I don’t know”, came the reply, “That’s a marketing department name, we always called it R4037”. “Oh, well could we say it Ar-go-sti-fan-du-mate?” I asked. “That’ll do’, came the reply, and so that is how that drug is now pronounced.
I work from Read On – a calm place to focus in the Sussex countryside. The studio is optimised for speech recording and spoken word production, with the best possible tools for making speech sound natural and clear, giving you the intelligibility you want for online video and e-learning systems. The studio is home to a group of voiceover artists and is also available to hire for audio production or post.