Accents and Dialects: Accuracy VS Authenticity


    Join Voice Over Expert Pat Fraley in his podcast, “Accuracy VS Authenticity.” There is a marked and important difference between an accent that is accurate and one that is authentic. Being accurate means that something is free from error, especially due to care, and conforming exactly to truth or to a standard. Accuracy, with dialect, will never get to you where you need to go… you must achieve authenticity! Authenticity has to do with being worthy of acceptance or belief as it is based upon fact. A truly authentic dialect has more to it than learning and delivering the words. We must never forget that our objective is to present a dialect for an effect during a performance. Learn how you can quickly go from generic to standard to authentic.

    [iframe src=”100%” height=”166″ scrolling=”no” frameborder=”no” src=””]

    Transcript of Accents and Dialects: Accuracy VS Authenticity

    [Opening Music]
    Julie-Ann Dean: Welcome to Voiceover Experts brought to you by, the number one voiceover marketplace. Voiceover Experts brings you tips, pearls of wisdom and techniques from top instructors, authors and performers in the field of voiceover. Join us each week to discover tricks of the trade that will help you to develop your craft and prosper as a career voiceover talent. It’s never been easier to learn, perform, and succeed from the privacy of your own home and your own pace. This is truly an education you won’t find anywhere else.
    This week, is pleased to present Pat Fraley.
    Pat Fraley: Hi. This is Pat Fraley with a brief lesson on dialects. Recently, I completed instructional materials on my system for creating dialects for the rapid pace world of voiceover called Accent On Dialects. In this lesson, I want to address the difference between an accurate dialect and one with smacks of authenticity. Here’s a clip from my Accent On Dialects project that addresses the difference.
    Know that there is a mark and important difference between an accent which is accurate and one that is authentic. Being accurate means something is free from error especially duty care and conforming exactly to truth or to a standard. Accuracy with dialect will never get you to where you need to go. Yes, there are rules to sound changes and lilts which must be addressed but beyond this, we must move towards authenticity. Authenticity has to do with being worthy of acceptance or belief as it is based on fact. Authenticity by definition is much more reality-bound.
    Here’s something I’ve heard on occasion with regard to dialect work. You’re ready to do a dialect when you can fully local. Whenever I hear this comment and I’ve heard it throughout my career, I bristle. As I mentioned previously, I began my career in Australia. With rare exceptions, I had to put on a British accent or an Australian accent. I wasn’t the king of accuracy nor authenticity. I did have the essentials down and tried it out the techniques, skills, and tricks we are covering to advance towards an authentic customized accent. What is an authentic dialect? Here’s what it’s not. Learning every sound change and lilts for the dialect and delivering it word sound perfect, perfectly accurate. A truly authentic dialect has more to it than learning and delivering the words. We must never forget that our objective is to present a dialect for an effect in performance. It’s a parlor trick.
    After you gather essential sound changes, a couple of lilts with observations, you need some simple fast research from authentic sources to customize your accent and go from generic or standard to authentic. For example with German, I have heard this kind of lilt dipping in Germans and Americans in sketches and in movies over the years. I’m overdoing it obviously. Is it authentic? Here’s how I check and how I use this lilt to add authenticity to my German accent. Again, this is a cut from Accent on Dialects.
    Here’s an authentic way. I make my essential German more comedic or less rigid. I add a Southern German or Austrian lilt. It’s not exactly a lilt and as much as it’s not a phrase like our other lilts. It just kind of dips in pitch like this every so often. Is it authentic? Or listen to this brief snippet from a radio broadcast in Austria and listen for this kind of dip and pitch every so often.
    Do you hear that dip in pitch? I’ll play that phrase from the broadcast three times in a row for you.
    That is the dip I use. To me it sounds kind of apologetic and sometimes a little bit condescending to just playing snotty. This is the way musician and voiceover talent, Gavin Hammond uses it on his character demo. I produced his demo and he had this one character he based on a real person he met while on tour with his band in Germany. Here’s the brief cut from his demo.
    Gavin Hammond: [Indiscernible] [0:04:42] your band and I found the whole experience to be completely tiresome. Your hooks as they do not hook anything.
    Pat Fraley: Now that’s snotty and funny. Another benefit to adding a wee bit of that Austrian or Munich lilting action is it makes the German accent less rigid. By less rigid, I mean less terse or less Nazi as producers and directors will say. When I hear this, I just add a little bit of the Southern German lilt and it takes the edge off. In geographical terms, you’re taking the German accent from Berlin down to Munich.
    Now that took me not hours but minutes. My authentic research by the way was found in minutes by Googling the word German followed by the word radio. I immediately found dozens of radio stations all over Germany and Austria which stream live. I find it of great value to listen and imitate the sound of a foreign language to get the music. It trains my mouth and tongue to do the dance I will be performing in English. Also I hear examples I can pick up and use for other handy authentic flourishes. With voiceover, we want a job not a hobby. We don’t have months and days. We have hours and minutes. If you’d like to advance your dialect and accent abilities rapidly and have an interest in getting them really authentic, consider going to my website You’ll find my instructional materials there. Look for my 2-CD set and workbook titled Accent On Dialects.
    Julie-Ann Dean: To learn more about the special guest featured in this podcast, visit the Voiceover Experts show notes at Remember to stay subscribed. If you’re a first time listener, you can subscribe for free to this podcast in the Apple iTunes Podcast Directory or by visiting To start your voiceover career online, go to and register for a voice talent membership today.
    [Closing Music]

    Links from today’s show:

    Pat Fraley
    Pat Fraley Free Lessons

    Your Instructor this week:

    Voice Over Expert Pat Fraley

    Patrick FraleyPatrick Fraley has created voices for over 4,000 characters, placing him among the top ten performers of all time to be cast in animation. He has produced dozens of award-winning audiobooks, such as, Adventures of Tom Sawyer, A Very Easy Death, and The Light in The Piazza. Pat produced and performed all 100 voices on the award winning audiobook, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which People Magazine hailed as, “The best yet of this evergreen.” Patrick teaches events, workshops, and seminars on various aspects of voice over across the country, and has created a variety of instructional books and CDs, all available at He is a member of The Voice and Speech Trainers of America, and holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Professional Acting from Cornell University.

    Did you enjoy Pat’s episode? Leave a comment with your thoughts!

    Previous articleThe Necessity of Social Networking
    Next articleMirror Mirror – Being True to Yourself as a Voice Talent
    Stephanie Ciccarelli is the Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Classically trained in voice, piano, violin and musical theatre, as well as a respected mentor and industry speaker, Stephanie graduated with a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario. Possessing a great love for imparting knowledge and empowering others, her podcast Sound Stories serves an audience that wants to achieve excellence in storytelling. Stephanie is found on the PROFIT Magazine W100 list three times (2013, 2015 and 2016), a ranking of Canada's top female entrepreneurs, and is the author of Voice Acting for Dummies®.


    1. Thanks for another fun & informative podcast, Pat!
      Your piece made me think of Mike Myers character “Dieter”(Would you like to pet my monkey) and Dana Carvey in “Hans & Franz” —both from SNL.

    2. This podcast was timely for me. I am new at VO and am struggling with the concepts of accuracy vs authenticity when I practice. Thanks, Mr. Fraley!

    3. Hi Pat
      My concern is really a pragmatic one: Is my American authentic?
      (I’m working from Johannesburg, South Africa. I have a fairly standard Received Pronunciation English voice – not distinctly South African.
      I realise though that, in order to get work off the site where the motherload of jobs on offer is for American English, I have to get my American to sound authentic.)
      Would you mind giving me some feedback? (My demo doesn’t actually have a standard ‘Mid American’ read yet – there are two American character voices there which may fit in somewhere. Or NOT! I hope I’m not making an ass of myself with what is represented.)
      I have a clip that I recorded in response to a job which is closer to what I think is Mid American, and which could be closer to the mark.
      If you’re happy to send some feedback I’d be delighted.
      Kind regards
      Ashley Dowds

    4. Hi Ashley,
      Thank you for commenting and also for sending a question for Pat! He may not see your question here right away so I recommend that you visit his website, copy and paste what you’ve typed here and send him an email from his Contact page:
      On another note, I’ve listened to your demos on and want to compliment you on such fine work! Your Marlon Brandoesque spot was quite good and I was very impressed with your Hard Sells / Soft Sells demo.
      Best wishes,


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here