Ukrainian voices – we exalt you

During the 337 years of foreign rule, the Ukrainian language went toe-to-toe with over 60 prohibitions. Efforts to eradicate this language involved inhibiting its use in education, official service and print. Despite these strict conditions, the Proto-Slavic language, established in the 6th-11th century, matured into three major dialects with 15 sub-dialects. Today, the language can be found in box office hits that have grossed $2 million, with a diaspora spreading through 18 nations.

Saturday the 16th of April marks World Voice Day and considering this year’s theme is “lift your voice,” Ukrainian voices – we exalt you.

Foreigners have described the Ukrainian language as soft, melodious, and upbeat. As American international said, “When I hear Ukrainian, I return to my childhood when I visited my Grandmother and Grandfather.” Another national from Pakistan explained, “Though the meaning of the words remained a total mystery to me, it constantly seemed that Ukrainians were talking about something good. It seems that Ukrainian is very kind and soft.”

Vocal attributes such as softness, kindness and light-heartedness have been frequently associated with trustworthiness, demonstrating that tone is an integral factor when it comes to establishing trust.

In her blog ‘6 reasons people trust a female voice over a male voice’, voiceover Debbie Grattan discusses these attributes, highlighting that female voices can be deemed more comforting and more trustworthy than their male counterparts. But why? 

  • Comfort: Harris Interactive polls have found that 46% of participants perceived female voices as more soothing than male voices. In addition, a soft voice is associated with comfortability which encourages trust.
  • Melodic: The melodic nature of the female voice can also play a role in the trust it instils

When thinking about Ukrainian voice artistry, the current situation will undoubtedly be taking its toll. Studies show that stress reduces the activity in brain regions responsible for vocal control, specifically the ACC, MCC, Insula, Putamen and Thalamus. Stress suppresses these parts, making it harder to create and control sound.  Nonetheless, Ukrainian translators and voice artists are still striving to support and lift the voices of their people every day.

So, for this World Voice Day, how can we all help to lift Ukrainian voices?

  • Shine a spotlight: Chocolat author Joanne Harris has called for the publishing industry to spotlight Ukrainian authors and translators as an avenue of support for refugees. The author has said: “No decision will be good for everybody… we can amplify Ukrainian voices, creators and translators… these things make a difference.”
  • Hire Ukrainian translators: With over 4 million refugees having left Ukraine since the invasion, organisations will need to make considerable efforts to support and communicate with refugees; to help them access housing, employment, education, medical and health support etc. Businesses will need to offer services, for example utilities or insurance. With that in mind, consider engaging a Ukrainian/English translator as soon as possible, to prepare the relevant communications.
  • Hire Ukrainian voice talents: If you are one of those organisations who needs to provide advice or information to support Ukrainian refugees, consider Ukrainian voiceovers for your help videos, IVRs or voicebots.  Even if spoken in English, a Ukrainian-accented voiceover will demonstrate empathy and that all important trustworthy, gentle, kind and soft tone to your spoken messages.

If you need help and support in contacting Ukrainian voiceovers or translators, drop me a line at Let’s all help to Lift Ukrainian Voices this Easter. 

Thanks, Daniel

Daniel Lebbie