I’ll be posting evaluation tips for over the next few days for those of you who are listening to audiobooks with a critical ear. One challenge for both listeners and narrators is determining correct pronunciation of words. On my old Audiobooker blog, I had a request for resources to check the pronunciation of names, with a focus on online sources with sound files – from one of my favorite audiobook narrators, Kate Reading, whose reading of The Host is a top title in my library. Here are some quick tools to use when checking the accuracy of an audiobook narrator’s work – or for your own use!
Pronunciation Guides for personal & commercial names:
Voice of America’s name pronunciation, with quick & easy sound file search: http://names.voa.gov/
From Inogolo: English pronunciation of the names of people, places, and stuff. This site has sound files, which take awhile to load: http://inogolo.com/index
Name web search: http://inogolo.com/websearch
From the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS). These are not sound files, but have easy-to-follow phonetic guides:
The ABC Book, a pronunciation guide to commercial names: http://www.loc.gov/nls/other/ABC.html
Say How? A Pronunciation Guide to Names of Public Figures:
How to pronounce children’s & YA author names (sound files recorded by the author!) from Teaching Books:
Place name pronunciation guides:
Merriam-Webster Geographic Dictionary print edition is a great resource: http://www.merriam-webster.com/cgi-bin/book.pl?geog.htm&9
Or try the place name at Merriam-Webster online to see if there is a sound file: http://www.merriam-webster.com/
Columbia Gazetteer of the World Online: a subscription database with sound files, which may be available through your public or academic library: http://cup.columbia.edu/static/gazonline
Oxford Dictionaries Online’s “Ask an Expert” – send your question via this link!
Sometimes the best option for a place name is to call the area’s public library and ask for the pronunciation!
Try this site to find a local library in the US: http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/libraries/librarysearch/
Or this one for library websites from around the world: