Pause in your voice over script

Pause in deep Indonesian voice overI learn this trick from television. When a client hands me his script in English, I translate it first to bahasa Indonesia. If he gives me Indonesian script, still, I will translate it to my national language, but with a little spice: vocal punctuation. Voice over artists have long employed this strategy to make for an easier read. Yes, I’m talking about pause in your script.

How important is pause for voice over? First, we have to go back to our natural speech when speaking in everyday life. People pause here and there. And to better explain, this pause doesn’t relate to grammar punctuations such as commas and fullstops. A voice actor pauses in any location required, for example to add emphasis, to make the message more readable, and to get rid of ambiguity.

My voice over punctuation, like what I learned from TV, includes slash and double slash. As you know, I am a self-taught artist, and my voice comes from a lot of experiments and observations. Slash and double slash help me decide where I should stop and how long I have to stop. For a short pause, I use a single slash. Double slash is used for longer pause, usually the end of sentences.  I don’t always put a slash to replace comma. Sometimes pause can occur in a place where comma is not present. For example, you find a 50-word sentence that doesn’t have commas at all. Will you read the sentence without taking a breath at all? That’s impossible.

Ho I add pause to my voice script

Below is an example of a bahasa Indonesia script which I will read in deep voice, a kind of voice that according to some people comes from smoking. You can see other examples of how I utilize pause in my voice samples page:

Selamat datang di, di mana anda bisa menyewa pengisi suara dengan suara berat untuk iklan TV, film dokumenter dan bahkan video pernikahan anda.

The above script consists of one sentence and two commas. When translating to a more readable script, I will not put two slashes, referring to the number of commas. Instead, you’ll see six. The script goes like this.

Selamat datang/ di di mana anda bisa menyewa pengisi suara/ dengan suara berat/ untuk iklan TV/ film dokumenter/ dan bahkan video pernikahan anda//

First and second slashes, after the words selamat datang and before di mana, emphasize Third slash gives me opportunity to breathe and to make the message clear and the listeners ready for the next words. Fourth slash is an anticipation that I will say a list of things. And finally the fifth and the sixth slash indicates a pause between items. Double slash at the end is the closing pause.

You can try it yourself with your own script. Or do you have another method to translate your text to a ready-to-read script for voice over?

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One Response to Pause in your voice over script

  1. Oisin says:

    Hi, I am a native English speaker from Ireland. I have trained in opera and have a deep mellow voice suited to reading, can you give some input on how to move forward.


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