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Trini finds his Waze

Published: 
Sunday, September 4, 2016
Voice actor Steven Edwards at work. Photo courtesy Steven Edwards Productions

If you use the navigation app Waze and have access to the Waze Coach function, listen out for a familiar accent. One of the voice actors hired to voice this function is T&T’s Steven Edwards, executive chairman of Steven Edwards Productions. 

According to Waze, “The Coach” was designed to make the user feel like an “all-star athlete.” It was developed as part the celebration of the Olympics.

Edwards said he was invited to audition to voice the app through his agent. He was asked to record phrases to be used in the app, such as “left turn,” “right turn in 200 metres,” and “hazard ahead.” In addition, the Coach app included phrases like “Play by the rules” and “A lifetime of preparation for just this drive.” 

Edwards said, “You basically have to be a coach to the person who'll be driving, so you have to have an inspirational tone, as well as the authority required for the other phrases.”

Edwards said he was able to record the phrases in a local studio according to their specifications and send the file to the company. “You don’t have to travel to do anything and it just goes to show that we could stay here in Trinidad and make a living internationally.” He said as far as he knows the Waze Coach function is not yet available in T&T; he expects his voice will be used in the European region, where people are accustomed to non-US accents. 

Edwards said he deliberately chose to keep his Trinidadian accent as he was going through voice training, as he didn’t want to lose that uniqueness. “It's just really cool to be able to take what is uniquely you and compete at an international level with it.”

Edwards said, “There's a lot of opportunity in voice acting and voice-over, as a voice-over artist. You can do it locally, but there's a lot of international opportunity that wasn't available ten, 20 years ago, especially in areas outside the US that are looking for non-US accents. I do work for audio books and animated characters, it’s not just commercials. Once you have the proper training, the sky is the limit.”

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