Recently, I was recording a voiceover for a national brand. The script was being recorded in Spanish and English, and my role was in English. As I settled into the booth, the studio dialed in an out-of-state male character with whom I would be recording. He seemed a pleasant man with a pleasant voice.
The guys at the studio gave us direction and let us know when they had what they wanted. Now it was time to thank them and leave. My recording partner, however, was not done. He started reading the Spanish version of the script in phonetic English. His accent was grating and mocking. Clearly, he didn’t understand a word of what he was saying, but he was amused.
The recording studio was in Miami, where 69.7% of the population speaks Spanish. Mocking the language isn’t funny; it’s ignorant. The bilingual studio staff was quiet while he butchered their language, but I was not. In Spanish, I asked them if they needed anything else from us, and then thanked them very much for this opportunity. My recording partner said good-bye oblivious to the disrespect he had shown.
Voice actors are paid to read their lines well, and nothing more. The fewer editorial comments an actor makes, the better. Chances are, your opinions about the client’s customers and products, or simply your jokes will rub someone the wrong way. If someone asks you for your opinion, or if you are asked for an additional read or an alternative interpretation, then by all means provide it. Otherwise, respect the script, respect the client, and respect the studio. That’s the best way to build your reputation and your career.