TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
RE: How do they record the actors for voice response systems
Subject:RE: How do they record the actors for voice response systems From:"Lippincott, Richard" <RLippincott -at- as-e -dot- com> To:<techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com> Date:Thu, 2 Apr 2009 10:02:02 -0400
David Downing asked:
There's something I've always wondered about voice response systems, and
I was wondering if anyone here has had firsthand experience constructing
one and so could answer my question.
If you don't mind a "day late" answer from a guy on digest...
I used to work for a company that produced voice mail systems, and we
used live people to record the prompts.
We had a small (i.e. about the size of two or three cubicles stuck
together) recording studio inside our building (large enough for a
couple of people, too small to sneak in your band for a late-night free
We would typically need new voice prompts on two types of occasions. The
first was when we offered new features that required new voice menu
prompts, the second was when we were selling systems to customers that
requested prompts other than our standard English.
For the standard English, we had one voice-over talent person we used,
her name was "Connie." She wasn't a full-time employee, but a voice-over
talent specialist that we'd contracted to use. We used to refer to the
voice-menu selections as "Connie prompts." (Usage: "This new feature
will require 200 hours of software development time, three new hardware
systems, and six new Connie prompts.")
When needed, we'd prepare scripts of all the new prompts that the system
required. Connie would come in, we'd give her the scripts, and she'd
spend as much time as needed in the recording studio until everyone was
happy with the results.
The recordings were then transformed to digital data that would be
stored on the system, and called up as needed just like any other type
She did, as you might expect, recordings of all the voice menu
selections as well as recordings of individual words (months, days,
numbers) that could be assembled on the fly into strings that would come
back as sentences.
One of Connie's talents (and thus the reason why she got the job) was
her ability to speak in a constant tone so that when the system would
play back a number using her snippits, it sounded reasonable...yet not a
monotone, either. She could also be consistent enough so that prompts
recorded literally years apart would still sound as though they were all
done on the same day.
The process was exactly the same for non-standard English prompts,
except it would be native speakers of the required language, not Connie.
Interestingly, there were occasions when the customer would request the
prompts in English but spoken with a local accent. Systems we delivered
to India were done like this. In that case, we'd contact our talent
agency to find us the appropriate voice.
That was several years ago, and I can't speak for what the company does
now. Maybe they've gone digital. On the other hand, my cell phone
provider uses my old employer's voice mail system...and it still sure
sounds like Connie to me.
American Science & Engineering
829 Middlesex Turnpike
Billerica, MA 01821-3907
This message is intended only for the addressee and may contain information
that is confidential or privileged. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited
and may be unlawful. If you are not the intended recipient, or the person
responsible for delivering it to the intended recipient, you should not read,
copy , disclose or otherwise use this message, except for the purposes of
delivery to the addressee. If you have received this e-mail in error please
delete it and advise AS&E immediately.
ComponentOne Doc-To-Help 2009 is your all-in-one authoring and publishing
solution. Author in Doc-To-Help's XML-based editor, Microsoft Word or
HTML and publish to the Web, Help systems or printed manuals. http://www.doctohelp.com
Help & Manual 5: The complete help authoring tool for individual
authors and teams. Professional power, intuitive interface. Write
once, publish to 8 formats. Multi-user authoring and version control! http://www.helpandmanual.com/
You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-