“By April 2016, I’ll have notched up fifty years of narrating for RNIB Talking Books”
Elizabeth Proud is an actor and drama teacher.
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.