One Spelling To Rule Them All

UPDATE: Stephanie from, Dave Courvoisier, and Bobbo have joined the fray!  We may just get a consensus on this.

Alright, I can’t be the only one who is being driven nuts by this.  I assume it came out of folks trying to register URLs for their VO websites that were not already taken but now it has just become a free for all and I think we should decide on a clear winner so I can sleep at night.1 What other industry out there has such a myriad of spellings?  None, because that would be stupid.  Instead I’m the one who feels stupid every time I have to decide what to write in an email or letter or just about anything.  I usually use the default term “Voice Talent” when talking about myself or others because I think it is descriptive and has a nice ring to it, but once I get to voiceover/voice over/voice-over I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing and I’m just like a little kid playing in Mommy’s makeup box.2

Now I’m sure you understand the weight of the situation at hand.  No less than the fate of our future is at stake and so I call upon you to draw your line in the sand.  Stand up and make your voices heard, shout your choice from the rooftops as if your life depended on it! Remember those who have sacrificed so much in the past so we can be where we are today and honor them by laying this issue to rest once and for all and restoring unity and sanity to our great profession!  Vote for change!  Vote for hope! Hell, do it for Pony Boy if you’d like, lets just do it.

Check out the voting widget thing over there on the right under the microblog and make your choice.  If you have a blog or website of your own, please grab the code and share it there too.  All the votes should go to the same place to be tabulated.  I’ll keep the poll open for exactly two weeks and then a winner shall reign supreme.  Anyone who uses the losing terms afterward will be met with scorn and will be forced to forever walk the earth accursed and bedraggled.  Either that or they face Thunderdome.  I haven’t decided yet.  Either way it should be pretty cool.

1. I’m not quite right, you know.
2. Wow, there had to be a better analogy than that for me to use.

13 Comments to “One Spelling To Rule Them All”

  1. Bob Souer says:


    I will be happy to suffer whatever scorn you wish to heap upon me, but voiceover is the term I will use because it’s the one with the least false positives for searches.

    My best to you.


  2. Diane Havens says:

    Ah, Google rules them all, eh, Bob?. I guess that would make sense since few really know how to search properly, never mind spell. You’re asking a lot now, aren’t you, Mister Sheppard? Geez — teachers!

    I’ll stand with Merriam Webster and VOICE OVER. I can’t be bothered with hyphens.

  3. Amy Snively says:

    Bob’s right. With all the “voice over IP” results, and stuff like “he had to raise his voice over the loud music,” we’re left with no other choice than to take a stand in favor of an industry-wide adoption of the neologism “voiceover.”

  4. Diane Havens says:

    Okay, now. I’m putting all three on my website (or is it web site??) Audio book or audiobook? Pod cast or podcast??

    Oh, the burden of neologists!

  5. Brad Venable says:

    Oh, the crappy false-positiives. :P

    Guess we can just do some SEO (search engine optimization) on all the terms, right? :D

    My vote is for voiceover.

  6. Bob Souer says:


    Another term that’s been in favor for some time now is voice actor, which doesn’t appear on your poll. How’s that for adding confusion?

    Be well,

    • Sure voice actor and voice talent confuse things but they are personal choices we make to describe us or our profession. The name of the industry itself is what is in question here. I’m surprised the one word “Voiceover” is taking such a large lead. It ticks off my spellcheck even typing it here.

  7. Diane Havens says:

    Yes, Erik. We must notify the dictionaries to go our way on this. Since once in a while we may get someone looking for voice actor-talents that will actually consult a dictionary before searching, and that, I hope, will include some of my former research students. It was always my advice to them. There are also such things as Boolean limiters.

    Common usage will eventually change these things. Maybe we can convince Google to address this issue for us. And cinematographers may just search using the abbreviation V/O. Though don’t get me started on slashes.

  8. Donna Miller says:

    Hi Erik,

    I prefer voiceover as it is smooth and kool…

  9. Mandy Nelson says:

    My preference is for voiceover though I do use every version on my website since there is no standard. Yet. I made sure the term was included in my dictionary years ago so the computer would stop giving me a hard time.

  10. Ralph Hass says:

    I voted Voiceover in the poll (spelled pole in Canada:) ) but, as Bob Souer indicated, voice actor is a good one.

  11. My vote is to call our industry:

    overpopulatedwithwannabemakeaquickbuckwithlittletalentandnodrivewhiletheremainingpros havetofightthroughthecluttertalents

    My feeling is this term is succinct and very exclusive with little chance of any other industry trying to claim it as their own, i.e. VOIP.

    Just a thought,

    Best always,
    - Peter

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