Where in the World are the authentic accents?
Gone are the days when ELT audio was only recorded in a classic RP or with a ‘BBC’ British accent (thank goodness!). Now the majority of the ELT projects we record require a broad range of accents and dialects, rejecting the doctrine of Native Speakerism and embracing the diversity of the modern English language as it is really spoken today. And actually that’s not that surprising as there are over 160 English dialects around the world with only 37 of those in the UK. Most of our clients are valuing the importance of sourcing authentic accents for their projects, which is no easy task (looking at you, authentic Caribbean accents). Our casting team works hard to secure authentic accents, which means we’re now linking up remotely to studios all over the globe.
One of the most common accents needed in our products is American English. We work with an amazing studio in New York who are basically the American TDD. While we have a growing list of phenomenal American actors on our side of the pond, what’s trickier to find over here are American child actors, who quickly lose their accents once they relocate to the UK. So, we rely on our friends in NYC to find us talented kids Stateside who specialize in ELT. We aren’t restricted by licensing in the States with the benefit that we can usually organise sessions at shorter notice, although the time difference does pose an issue resulting in sessions late in the evening to accommodate the kids recording after school - so late nights for everyone in the UK!
The increasing importance of authenticity doesn’t need to mean compromising an ELT script to remove more unusual accents. With the rampant increase of home studios sweeping across the world, finding any and all accents has become infinitely easier. And with TDD’s super organization and efficiency, we can book in a dozen or so accents all on the same day. This would have been almost impossible pre-Covid (our studio would have needed a revolving door). So the next time you’re scouring your audio script for representation or even briefing out your authors, remember the world’s the limit!