Having grown up in white-bread middle-America in the 50’s, I never imagined a future for this country that accepted anything else but English. I won’t mince my words: I think it weakens our country to be bi-lingual. That sounds odd coming from me. I’m the son of a Swiss Immigrant, whose native tongue was French, and my mother spoke German in her Iowa farmland school and church through sixth grade.
But back then it wasn’t cool to speak anything else but English. The elegant French pronunciation of my last name — Americanized — was: Kor-vuh-seer’. My father almost NEVER spoke French around the house. He wanted to be an “American”…and that meant speaking English.
That sentiment is apparently gone, now.
Having said that…and getting back to reality…there seems to be no turning back. And besides, the arrogant attitude in America of the 60’s. 70’s and 80’s where the education system only gave lip service to learning foreign languages has hurt us all on the world stage.
So now, it seems cool to be able to hang out your voice-over shingle with the words: “BILINGUAL” or “Spanish AND English VO”. I’d be jealous, but I’m having enough trouble enough accomplishing English. So is it likely in my late-50’s that I’d be able to master a 2nd or 3rd language? I’ve always been great with pronunciations (you might be surprised how many broadcasters are NOT), but believably delivering copy in two languages seems daunting. There are so many Spanish dialects…French lilts…British acccents…American twangs. Where would I start?
IF you’re a bi-lingual voice actor, I’m interested to know how you market yourself…whether it doubles your exposure, your opportunity, your income. Is it twice the headache? Do you have two rate-cards?
Please participate in my brief survey posted in the Voice-Over Friends FaceBook Group.
Or…feel free to react to THIS blog article in the comment section below. I’d like to know your thoughts.