Finding The Right Voice For Your eLearning Course


Narrating Your Search For Your Narrator!

It can be a daunting task to hire a creative for a project, especially on a one-off basis. It can be even more difficult to determine whether that creative is right for the job and at the professional level that you are looking for. Because the voice-over industry is an entrepreneurial-forward business, sourcing talent can be stressful. Certain corporate or eLearning videos require a niche type of voice and experience. A pharmaceutical course can differ greatly from a business course, and finding the voice with the right level of tone, or even education, can make or break a learner’s experience. So how do you know whether the person you’ve found or the actor that has found your organization is right for the job? This article aims to walk you through the creative hiring process and share the best resources for vetted talent.

How To Determine If A Voice Actor For An eLearning Course Is A Real Professional?

Unlike other types of actors, voice actors must rely on their voice entirely, to tell a story, create excitement, and convey tone and emotion. While other actors get to use their body, gestures, props, and facial expressions, voice actors have none of those. So it can be difficult to tell by one sample alone if you’re hiring a professional or an amateur. Below are some common signs that the actor you found, or that reached out to you, has professional experience:

  • They shouldn’t sound like they’re reading right off a script. Like any other actor, the tone should be conversational while delivering the message to the listener.
  • A voice actor’s sample should have excellent audio quality—there shouldn’t be background noise like a fan or dog barking, or even a room echo.
  • The actor’s communication skills should be impeccable. They’ll ask detailed questions about the job up-front, send an invoice after the job is complete, be easily reachable by phone or email, and know how to submit the content.
  • offers a filterable list of professionally vetted voice talent that is backed by The World Voices organization, the only international non-profit association for voice actors. Unlike pay-for-play freelancer-forward websites, is only for professionals.
  • The actor should have a professional and easy-to-navigate website, with demos available, a rate sheet, and links to past projects.

What Kinds Of Questions Should You Expect From A Professional Voice Actor About The Job?

If you’ve put out a request for a voice actor for an eLearning course and received several responses, instead of interviewing the actor, let them interview you! Their questions can provide insight into whether they’re the right fit for the job or not, and reveal their level of professionalism.

  • How long do you expect the project to take?
  • Tell me more about the content/course.
  • Do you have a budget in mind for the project?
  • Is there a certain recording format you want it in?
  • What tone are you looking for?

What Can A Voice Actor’s Portfolio Convey About Them?

Reviewing a potential voice actor’s website and demo before conducting an interview can reveal a lot about their level of professionalism and their past experience. Their website should serve as a digital portfolio, be well-organized, have easy-to-find demos of past projects (which should also sound professional), and give detailed information about them up-front, including the best way to contact them. So now that you have access to their recordings, how exactly should a professional sound?

  • Their general tone should be conversational, well-spoken, and smooth. An amateur voice actor for an eLearning course will often have a radio/broadcast style voice that sounds manufactured and unnatural.
  • The demos on a professional voice actor’s website should be able to convey the different types of work they’ve done, so you can get a feel for how they sound based on several different verticals.
  • The demos should sound like they have a real knowledge of the subject matter and/or product; you shouldn’t be able to tell that they aren’t an expert.
  • Cultural literacy and correct tone should come across in the demos.
  • From the demo you should be able to tell if they have a real home studio; the audio quality should be excellent.

How Can You Tell If The Home Studio Is Of Professional Quality?

From the actor’s demo, you should be able to tell if they have a good signal-to-noise ratio—the signal being their voice and the noise being anything in the background. Ideally, there shouldn’t be any background noise at all. If you have them read the script while they’re in their recording space, it shouldn’t sound like they are in a box, closet, or small space. Again, there shouldn’t be any sort of echo. Make sure you have the potential voice actor for an eLearning course read a good portion of the script: this will give you a good idea of their experience level and their recording equipment, as well as how they respond and take direction from you. A professional will likely ask or offer a couple of different takes on the script to make sure they are getting the tone correctly and to allow you to find the best match.

How Do You Determine The Right Pricing For A Project?

Pricing your project correctly can be another challenge. The Global Voice Acting Academy is a good resource for finding professional-grade rates and is an informational and educational resource for voice actors, talent seekers, and producers. Their guide provides feedback based on the number of expected listeners or viewers, the audience reach (local vs. national vs. global), and the broadcast sector.

A good actor will charge a competitive rate, likely higher than you expect. A more experienced actor will charge more, but that will often signify that they are using higher quality recording equipment which can be an expensive investment. Amateurs are more likely to take whatever rate you give them, even if it’s very low. If you think you are getting a deal, it’s likely because the actor isn’t as experienced, or may not even have the proper set-up for quality sound recording. The above guidelines will lead you to the right choice for the job and will help make your decision as stress-free as possible!


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