Thursday, February 24, 2005

Creating pronounciation guides for made-up words

The New York Times has a really entertaining article this week about Paul Topping of Recorded Books, perhaps the world's only full-time pronounciation expert for audio-book companies. The article's fascinating enough when it comes to subjects from the real world, like guides to Native American tribes, and the company's recent recording of the Bible (where over 2,000 terms were researched for their proper pronounciation). But the article also details the struggles of doing audio versions of science-fiction and fantasy novels - in particular, the massive undertaking that went into the recent recording of the "Dune" series, so that as much as possible it adhered to the wishes of its author, the late Frank Herbert. Fascinating reading for anyone interested in language.