NCTA, Voiceover

Voices Everywhere! The May General Meeting

By Raffaella Buschiazzo

Spring flowers in bloom means it’s time for our May General Meeting. This year’s session had at its core two presentations that couldn’t have been more different: a talk on the important business of insurance products for Association members, and a panel discussion on the wide and interesting world of voiceover. Add some lucky door prize winners, and you’ve got a successful meeting.

As it has become a staple of our regular meetings, NCTA’s new member orientation opened up our spring General Meeting. NCTA Membership Director Naomi Baer opened the proceedings by answering questions and helping our new members find out more about the Association. The gathering also served as a pre-meeting networking session, where new members could get to know experienced NCTA-ers.

NCTA President Tuomas Kostiainen opened the General Meeting at 1:30 p.m. with a few announcements of upcoming events. Then he introduced Mr. Myron Gomes from Mutual of Omaha who provided us with extremely helpful information on disability income insurance and other benefit products that Mutual of Omaha offers to NCTA members at discounted membership rates. For our members, it was a chance to learn about this type of insurance policy without having to spend the time and energy to research it on their own.

Voiceover Panel Discussion

The core of the meeting was a panel discussion on voiceover presented by David Sweet-Cordero, Francisco Hulse, and Ines Swaney, and moderated by NCTA Events Director Raffaella Buschiazzo. The three speakers introduced us to a specialized world within our profession that involves not merely translation and interpretation, but acting skills as well! In addition to presenting practical examples, the speakers offered excellent tips that would prove invaluable to any of our colleagues who wish to try their hand at this specialty.

David Sweet-Cordero is the owner of InterCultura, an agency that specializes in multilingual media production including video, voiceover, and translation. He currently combines work as both a voiceover talent and a producer. David opened the discussion by explaining what voiceover is and what kinds of projects and applications it is used for. He talked about the qualifications needed for voiceover work, the market for this specialty, and trends and directions in the voiceover industry. As both an actor and producer, he offered a unique perspective on the two roles.

The panel continued with Francisco Hulse, interpreter and translator of Spanish and English, who successfully stumbled into voiceover work in the late ‘90s. Francisco is a member of SAG, the Screen Actors Guild, and AFTRA, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. In addition to telling us all about the expectations producers have of actors at the microphone, along with many tricks of the trade, he also provided us with important information on SAG and AFTRA—including how to join, what to expect as a member of these unions, and pros and cons of belonging to them.

Francisco also brought some recorded excerpts of his advertising work for us to listen to. These were perfect examples of exactly what voiceover means, and how a voiceover talent must be trained not just to speak a foreign language well but also to play a role. As Francisco pointed out, many skills are required at the same time. He is a translator-interpreter-actor who needs to adapt the tone of his voice again and again until the producer is satisfied.

Our third presenter, Ines Swaney, enjoys a variety of assignments resulting from her work as a Spanish translator, interpreter, and voiceover talent. She is also a columnist for Intercambios, the quarterly publication of ATA’s Spanish Language Division. Ines particularly likes sharing anecdotes of the adventures that she has encountered in the language field, along with personal experiences and suggestions for those who want to get started in the field.

Lucky Members

Even after a twenty-minute question and answer session, people were fascinated and eager to learn more. For that, we had our three talented speakers to thank: they presented the subject from all the important angles, answered questions with practical tips and examples, and kept us engaged with funny and illuminating anecdotes. The panel discussion had a very sweet end: Tuomas gave each of the three panelists a box of chocolates, a simple gesture to let them know how much NCTA appreciates the input and time that they give to the association. Thank you again David, Francisco, and Ines!

At the end of the meeting, five door prizes were drawn. Karin Seeman, Kathleen Davis, and Luis Salvago-Toledo held the lucky numbers to win AnyCount Software, a word-, character-, and line counting software package, donated by Jessica Bazzoli won Translation Office 3000, administrative and accounting applications for freelance translators donated by Ines Swaney won a framed original artwork print by conservationist Betsy Fowler.

Another NCTA General Meeting ended with delicious refreshments and relaxed networking, where old members enjoyed chatting with new ones, all sharing in the camaraderie of a profession like no other!