5 Tips For Recording High-Quality eLearning Audio

5 Tips For Recording High-Quality eLearning Audio
Summary: While producing eLearning content or web-based training, a major decision-making factor is whether to use audio for the benefit of the end users. This article describes the technical background for producing the best quality audio for this purpose.

Recording With Professional Voice Actors For High-Quality eLearning Audio

Generally, narration is used for eLearning audio; music and sound effects are rarely used. The first decision is always which language should be recorded. Therefore, translation into this target language is most crucial. If you've found a company that knows how to translate your content and sends the finalized scripts perfectly, you've already won 90 % of the game. Here are a few tips for producing the best quality audio for your web-based training.

1. Specify Some Pronunciations Hints For The Recording

Some company names are spoken differently in some languages. The more you provide audio or written pronunciation samples, the less you need to rerecord. Sometimes it makes sense to have a person in your company who is responsible for voice talent text issues and who can speak the desired target language. Using terms that are unique to a field can slow down a recording.

If you use medical, technical, or other specialized vocabularies, communicate the pronunciation of these words and acronyms in the script to the voice actor prior to the recording. If you want the voice actor to read „pauses“ in the script, you can add an ellipsis like 3 dots (...) or write the word “pause” in brackets when you need that extra half-second of silence.

2. Ensure The Names Of The Audio Files To Be Recorded Are Consistent And Easy To Handle

Sometimes we have sessions with 500 audio files delivered per language, so your naming should be perfect. For example: EU_23_Slide4_PT.wav indicates this is the audio file you will be using in module23-slide 4 in Portuguese. Deliver the scripts in a readable form. For example, our scripts have two columns - a narrow one on the left and a wider one on the right. The column on the left indicates the name of the audio file; the column on the right holds the script. Also, the best text format for your script would be RTF, Excel, Word Doc, or compatible formats. A PDF or an image like JPG or GIF is not so useful, because if the voice talent makes changes, it is better to use the writable formats.

3. Review, Review, Review

Every script has errors. It could be incorrect content or a misuse of grammar. Each error you discover during the recording session slows things down or even stops the narrator’s momentum. Therefore, go over that script with a thorough eye for detail and read it aloud. Ask someone else to review it for errors too.

4. Provide The Voice Actor With The Script A Few Days Before The Recording

Always provide the script to your chosen voice actor a few days before the recording session. Professionals always ask for a script ahead of time, so it makes sense to give it to your colleagues too. Not only will the recording have fewer retakes, but your narrator will feel more comfortable and prepared and will ask all questions before and not during the recording.

5. Ask For An Expert's Help

Finally, you decide if you want to be in the recording or not. However, you should always have someone in your company who speaks the target language and answers any questions the voice actor might have.