There are many professions in our society that require you to be licensed, including teaching in the school system, practicing law, medicine, and even a license to drive a motor vehicle.
But what about a license to do voice overs?
Unheard of, right?
Get this: In many Latin American and South American countries, you have to be licensed to speak on the radio, to do live announcing, and voice over!
Voice over artist Genaro Liriano, formerly of the Dominican Republic, now resides in Canada and is a member of Voices.com. Genaro shared some very interesting information with me that will amaze and perhaps surprise you about the process one goes through to become a licensed voice for hire in Central and South America.
Becoming a Spanish Voice Over Talent in Central and South America
Last weekend at our Voices.com mixer in Toronto I connected with Genaro Liriano and got to hear his story. I’m excited that Genaro is also translating this article into Spanish for our Spanish speaking readers because it is a tale that needs to be heard in both languages.
Genaro Liriano has a license to speak!
Everyone who has their voice aired publicly, whether via broadcast, public address, live announcing, or voice over needs to be an approved speaker of neutral Spanish. What’s even more interesting is that each country has their own requirements for licensing to keep the Latin Spanish being heard by the populous distinctly neutral in accent with a standard dialect.
The journey to become a licensed VO in the Dominican Republic is as follows:
1. An individual must complete a 3-year degree in broadcasting. For your reference, there are usually about 2,200 people in a graduating class.
2. These people must then complete a written exam of which 80-90% of them will fail.
3. Those who pass the exam are then given an oral exam with a panel of well known broadcasters, each with different areas of expertise, testing the candidate’s ability to read in various styles live. Imagine having Barbara Walters, Larry King, and the late Peter Jennings all in one room testing you, holding your destiny in their hands!
4. If you pass the oral exam, you receive your certificate and a license to work on-air and off-air. This license is granted by the Radio and telecommunication commission of the Dominican Republic.
Suffice to say, becoming a licensed speaker is not easy, and those who do have a license are fortunate to say the least.
If you were to produce an ad campaign that were to air in multiple countries that required the recording to be voiced by a licensed individual, you may need to hire more than one talent for the job. For instance, if you had someone from the Dominican Republic voicing for an ad in the DR, but you were going to air your advertisement in another country, or several countries that also required a licensed speaker, you may need to hire one licensed speaker per country you are airing your commercial in! That could get expensive quickly depending on the reach of the campaign, however, this is how business is done to preserve the language and how it is being heard by the public.
What If People Needed to be Licensed To Do Voice Over in Other Places?
Imagine if you had to be licensed in the US to do voice over, or in Canada, or in other European countries? Perhaps that is already the case in some nations but we just haven’t heard about it.
How do you feel about the concept of licensing with regard to announcing on-air and off?
Looking forward to hearing from you!
Photo courtesy Genaro Liriano