Checking Your Voice

I’d been asked by an interpreter recently “How do I check if my voice is alright”.  I thought it was a trick question – we’d just done a 2 hour voice workshop, but later I realised that some people who use their voice in their work all the time,  just want to get on with the job and not think about their voice.  Your voice will not sound good if you’re ill, or low or grieving.  Your voice signals when you’re over-tired.  How many of us are asked by friends “Are you feeling alright” when we’ve just answered the phone.

I took the opportunity to talk to Linda Hutchinson, a very good voice and singing coach, at the 2014 Voice Clinic forum and talked with her about how to check on your voice.  We came up with the following:

Are you having to force your voice to get a sound?

When you say Ahhhh for 30 seconds is the sound continuous or is there a break?

Does your throat feel sore?

Is there any swelling in your neck under the areas of your ears?

Are you able to breathe in and out easily  through your nose?

Are you able to breathe in and out easily through your mouth?

Is it a problem to swallow?

Do you have any pain around your neck, shoulders and upper back?

Is there a lot of breath escaping when you speak?

Does your voice change pitch suddenly?

Is there a ringing in your ears when you speak sometimes?

Does your voice sound nasal when your jaw is relaxed and easily opened?

Do you have heartburn or an upset stomach?

Do you have any noticeable tension in your head or chest when you’re speaking?

It’s always best to rest your voice for a while if you’ve been using it for an extended period of time.
Head and Neck



Interpreters Giving Speeches

“Aging in today’s Society” and “Emigration” are not the easiest of subjects to be objective about.  Yet this is what the students on the MA Interpreting course at the London Metropolitan University were asked to be in their speeches.  Interpreters need to speak about such subjects because they are aiming to pass their exams to be accepted as interpreters in the UN or EU.  It was refreshing to hear some constructive information on how different parts of the world deal with these issues.
Their voices are not yet full, but you can see and hear the potential.  The speeches in French are particularly good.   My concerns after listening to the speeches:
Will there eventually be a waiting list in the west for dignitas?
What will the UK do if a large percentage of immigrants decide to return home?
You can see them if you click on the link in the photograph below.

Interpreting simulaneous

When an interpreter is involved in simultaneous interpreting, they are interpreting all that is said for others to relay on into different languages. It means that they are relied upon to speak clearly in a way that others are able to easily understand and interpret from. Timing is essential. It could be from English into Italian into Hungarian into Russian.  Just like Chinese whispers the meaning can be distorted and you realise how important an interpreter’s job is.

Negotiating Tactics for Powerful Women

Every successful woman started off having to learn how to negotiate.  The vice-president of an international credit card company told me how she once felt that  white water rafting without an oar would have been a preferable experience.  Negotiation is an essential skill and you will need to know how to do it if you want that promotion.

Here are 11 Points that have Helped  Women in Power Negotiate more Successfully

(Do the check list before speaking – for those who’ve worked with me on the Improve Your Voice by 90% course)

1.  Ask for what you want

2. Separate the person from the issues you’re negotiating.   Keep it clear cut.

3.  Use “what if” statements and see how they react.

4.  Make sure that you aren’t giving way too many small concessions.

5.  Never accept the first offer.  This is the first on their list.  Find out what’s on the bottom and top line

6.  When you have agreed a point write it down.  At the end of the meeting ask the other person to sign the list of points you’ve agreed upon.

7.  Under pressure to make a decision you don’t like? – say that you have to refer to “your team”.  Make sure it’s a group.

8.  Being pushed too hard? – avoid reacting, aim to stay silent for a short time before replying in a lower voice (lumbar region for those who’ve worked with me on the Improve Your Voice course).

9.  Make any concession conditional on receiving a concession from the other side.

10.  Never concede to blackmail or bullying – whatever you want, it’s not worth giving in to this behaviour.

11.  Avoid splitting the difference.  In financial terms this can be a ruse unless you’ve already received concessions.

Click on the photograph of Marissa Mayer and contact us for a newsletter and we’ll keep you posted on news of how to get great communication skills.

Marissa Mayer CEO Yahoo Inc.
Marissa Mayer CEO Yahoo Inc.

.© Frances Parkes  2003/2014 all material researched, devised and written by Frances Parkes.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Frances Parkes, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.