On television, for example, men - for obvious reasons - are mostly interpreted by male interpreters and women by female interpreters. However, there are also considerable differences in voices of either sex. For example, we might end up having to interpret someone with a much younger or a much older voice than ours.
Apart from trying to find sound files or videos (e.g. on YouTube) where we may listen to the speaker beforehand and get used to his or her diction and voice and maybe adapt our own voice to it as best as we can, what else do you do to "tune" your voice a little more in the direction of the speaker's voice if there is too much of a difference?
Some years ago, when reading stories to children, I tried to give each character of the story a different voice trying to remember the tone and timbre I had given to the character whenever it reoccurred in the story - something like this might be a useful exercise, but maybe you have more sophisticated suggestions.
Do you have any idea how actors do it?
asked 03 Mar '13, 19:21
I fully agree with Angela. In a "normal" setting (conference, liaison, community interpreting...) we should not imitate the speaker since it could be ridiculous and we could even offend the speaker. Of course, if the speaker shouts, as Angela says, we mustn't shout into the microphone. Nevertheless, I don't think we should always keep the same diction and volume. If the speaker shouts, we can (and in my opinion we should) raise a bit our loudness (that is, without exaggerating and imitating). We are interpreters (not actors), but we are no robots either. Therefore, we should adapt a bit our performance and convey the speaker's emotions (see also this related question). To this end, voice is indeed the best instrument in many cases, especially in TV/radio.
Before making some suggestions, let me explain the six properties of sound (including voice).
You can easily adapt pitch, loudness, duration and envelope, but every person or instrument has a different timbre, which is not easy to change physically (you can do it digitally). You cannot imitate the sound of a flute with a cello, and even different cellos have different timbres. Of course, some actors can imitate different voices after a lot of practice, but that's not the point here.
Maybe the most important property of a voice after the timbre is the pitch (how deep or high). And there is a little trick to control your pitch sitting on a chair. If you want to have a deeper voice, relax your body, lean your body back without touching the backrest of the chair and try to shift your weight to your coccyx (your thoracic diaphragm is expanded and your stomach is under tension). The first time it is better to try this exercise sitting on the floor. Once you have grasped this method, you'll be able to repeat it sitting on a chair. On the contrary, if you want to sound higher, well, this is easier. Apply more tension to your body and bow or lean your body forward (shrink or make your body smaller).
Other ways of adapting your voice, as I mentioned, is through loudness (louder of softer), duration (how long you pronounce a sound; "hellow" vs. "hellooooooow") and envelope (how you attack). I would recommend to analyse the properties of the speaker's voice before a TV assignment. An older person, for instance, will normally be softer in loudness, have a longer duration and a softer envelope.
Ich rate zur Vorsicht bei dem Versuch, es professionellen Schauspielern oder Sprechern gleich zu machen.
Sie sind dafür ausgebildet (langjährige Universtitäts-Ausbilung) und haben eine andere Funktion. Zwei meiner Geschwister sind Schauspieler und Sprecher.
Ein Teilnehmer einer Konferenz sieht den Redner (und seine Gesten) und hört seine Stimme (neben der Stimme des Dolmetschers).
Was können wir von Sprechern und in Sprecherziehungskursen lernen?:
PS: Beim Dolmetschen im Fernsehen/Radio sieht es anders aus, weil die Zuhörer die Stimme des Redners kaum hören können.