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What is a Narrator?

Narration is not just the reading of words aloud. Professional narration is a process of translation. The most obvious example is the way it translates written text into speech. This changes the way the audience receives the message, since listening uses different parts of the brain than reading.

More than that, the narrator interprets each part of speech contained in the text, and alters the vocal delivery to increase or decrease emphasis at appropriate places. As a result, the listener's experience can be vastly difference from that of the reader, even if the words do not change at all.

Compared to other creatures, human beings have complex vocal mechanisms, which allow us great subtlety and nuance by way of the spoken word. However, the advent of modern media created the need for specialists in this field.

Orators and great public speakers have always been prized for their ability to move, fascinate, and excite crowds of people. But telecommunications technologies break audiences up into smaller groups, and spread them over distances of time and space.

Thus, a good narrator must be skilled not just in vocal performance, but also in the use of recording technology. The most obvious example is knowing how to work with different types of microphones, and in different studio settings, to achieve the best effect.

The links on this page will take you to some examples of narration at its best, applied in a variety of applications, for different audiences. In all of them, the constant is a performance that is appropriate to the topic and the audience, and effective in delivering the message.


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