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Talking to yourself

There are the benefits for the print editors, argues Nicholas Jones, in understanding the production process for the spoken word.

If  listeners  are going to invest 10 or 15 hours listening to an audiobook, then the production team owes it to them to invest attention to detail. Our role as a production company is to select a reader, and then support that reader so that between us we achieve a recording that expresses as closely as possible our perception of the author’s intentions. In the case of non-fiction, that means ensuring the logical flow of the explanation or arguments, and in the case of fiction it means ensuring that the sound- pictures are well drawn, with every character distinct appropriately voiced. The listener should be immersed in the ideas or the story and any distractions by jerky reading or wrong pronunciations are a failure on the reader’s and producer’s part.

Recording an audiobook well is as much a performance as a stage play or a film.

The reader of an audiobook has to be utterly in sympathy with what he or she is reading. Pulitzer Prizer winner Eudora Welty wrote in her autobiography, “Ever since I was first read to, then started reading to myself, there has never been a line read that I didn’t hear. As my eyes followed the sentence, a voice was saying it silently to me. It isn’t my mother’s voice, or the voice of any person I can identify certainly not my own. It is human, but inward and it is inwardly that I listen to it. It is to me the voice of the story or the poem itself. The cadence, whatever it is that asks you to believe, the feeling that resides in the printed word, reaches me through the reader-voice. I have supposed, but never found out, that this is the case with all readers-to read as listeners- and with all writers, to write as  listeners.”

I thinks that encapsulates what a really good audiobook should achieve- we provide a physical embodiment  of that internal voice for listeners. Sometimes, a well-informed interpretation can even enhance understanding and offer more to the listener than the reading of the printed book would have done.

Author: Nicholas Jones

Source: Frankfurt Show Daily


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