“By April 2016, I’ll have notched up fifty years of nar­rat­ing for RNIB Talk­ing Books”

El­iz­a­beth Proud is an ac­tor and drama teacher.

The People's Friend Special - - REAL LIFE -

speaks. How­ever, I reckon a 500-page book re­quires seven half-day record­ing ses­sions.

When I have a morn­ing record­ing ses­sion, I leave my home at 7.30 a.m. as I live some dis­tance from the Talk­ing Books record­ing stu­dios in the cen­tre of Lon­don, and l’m not back un­til late af­ter­noon.

Once in the stu­dio, I sit at the record­ing desk with a glass of wa­ter to keep my voice lu­bri­cated and a few bull­dog clips to keep my book open – sur­pris­ingly dif­fi­cult with mod­ern pa­per­backs.

Af­ter the sound en­gi­neer, who’s be­hind a sheet of sound­proof glass, has tested the sound level, I’m off. For the next hour and a half, it’s just me, the mi­cro­phone and my lat­est book.

At break time, I have a cup of tea – not coffee be­cause it’s not good for the voice – and a ba­nana. The mi­cro­phone picks up the slight­est sound and if you get hun­gry and your stom­ach rum­bles (or you make a mis­take) record­ing comes to a halt!

The sound recordist mo­men­tar­ily stops record­ing ev­ery time I turn over a page so, as sen­tences rarely end at the bot­tom of a page, part of my home­work is to write out the end of any sen­tences which run ov over on to the next page in full at the bot­tom of the page.

I re­ally en­joy the work – it in­volves con­sid­er­able skill and con­cen­tra­tion. At my age, I’m de­lighted I can still do it so well.

Oc­ca­sion­ally, I re­ceive let­ters from peo­ple who are blind or par­tially sighted and their com­ments are al­ways so heart­felt.

It’s lovely to have been able to help in­nu­mer­able num­bers of blind and par­tially sighted peo­ple to en­joy the won­der­ful world of books, es­pe­cially now that the sub­scrip­tion to the Talk­ing Books ser­vice is free.

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