At Marketing Messages, our international Voice Talent roster largely consists of in-country talent – voiceover professionals that live within the country of their spoken language. This allows us to provide our partners and customers with the highest level of authenticity for their multi-language voice recordings.
Sam, who records in three different languages and who lives in Malaysia, is one of the most recent Voice Talents to join our roster. She took time out of her recording schedule to talk to us about her history with Mandarin, English, and the many names associated with her other primary language, Malay.
Like most Chinese Malaysians, I grow up speaking 3 languages: Mandarin (my mother tongue), Malay (my national language), and English (for obvious reasons). My uni years in the UK was a major factor in improving my fluency in English that now comes with a tad of a British accent.
As a kid, I had lunch in front of the TV while Spanish telenovelas were broadcasted. That’s probably why I cultivated an interest in Spanish and ultimately minored it in my degree.
As a native and bilingual English speaker, I booked many bilingual jobs, especially eLearning materials and introductions to Asian countries where the majority of the script is in English, with certain Chinese phrases and names of landmarks. Being able to provide different accents (British and Chinese Malaysian/Singaporean) also contributed to numerous localized projects or Asian characters.
I remember a rare project that required both Mandarin and Spanish, that was a really fun one!
I’m also exposed to other languages: My parents spoke different dialects (Hakka and HengHwa). I can’t speak both but I understand their conversations. Cantonese is the last language I tried to pick up just by conversing casually with my peers. I’ve never booked any jobs with these though, don’t think I ever will haha.
Can you talk about the many names used to refer to Malay?
Sure! They are more or less the same thing:
1. Malay = the English name for the Malay language
2. Bahasa Melayu = Bahasa means “language”, melayu is “malay”, so it’s the Malay translation of “the Malay language”.
3. Bahasa Malaysian = It’s usually “Bahasa Malaysia” rather than “Malaysian” because our country likes to think we are special and sometimes refer to our national language as Bahasa Malaysia, when it’s really just “Bahasa Melayu”.
4. Malaysian = Adjective I guess, like Malaysian food, Malaysians (ppl born in Malaysia), Malaysian culture, so then you have the Malaysian language, which is not actually defined by 1 language, even though our official language is Malay, we are too multicultural to conclude a single language as the “Malaysian language”.
What or who inspired you to take up the craft of voice recording and what are your goals?
2 years ago, I was unemployed. My music partner (from my duo band Seraphine) said that my voice was very suited for ASMR projects and suggested that I give it a go. Prior to that, it never occured to me that voice acting was even a thing. Since I already have all the recording equipment (thanks to my music ventures), I created a freelancing profile on Upwork and started from there. My first gig was a supporting role on VAST Horizon, a sci-fi audio drama by Fool and Scholar Production. I fell in love with voice acting and kept going, even after I secured a full-time position.
There is no particular voice actor I find inspiration from. But if anything, I love Family Guy and the fact that Seth MacFarlane voices 4 main characters (Peter, Brian, Stewie, and Glenn) is something I’ve always been mind-blown by.
I don’t know if every voice actor has a goal in mind, but I would love to one day narrate for National Geographic. I love narrations and I love pieces that pass on knowledge to the listeners. I started an Instagram account to do these narrations and I can only hope that my listeners will find my voice soothing as well as the content insightful.
Don’t get me wrong, I like character work and have voiced in various audio dramas with more realistic, grounded delivery, as well as animated, over-the-top roles. Even survey reports and “dry” topics like medical eLearning materials get me excited too.
I feel extremely grateful for having the privilege to pursue my passion.
When I step in my tiny make-shift booth to do any type of voice overs, I feel happy and content that I get to temporarily step out of being myself, and be someone else.
Ready to listen to Sam and other Voice Talents in the Asia Pacific region? Listen to their custom audio samples and then let us know which Voice Talent you’d like to use for your next voice over recordings.