ProofListening tips and quiz

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Do you want to help out as a PL (prooflistener) or a DPL (dedicated prooflistener) and want a little practice? Especially as a fresh PL/DPL, I have often wondered whether I commented too little or too much, so I made this little quiz so you can see what you would comment on and compare it with my PL notes. If you feel unsure in a project you are DPLing, you can always PM (send a private message) to the BC (book coordinator) or MC (meta coordinator).

Before you do more, please read this wiki-page[[1]]. It mostly explains what to do (and not do).


Encouragement

Of course, it is nice to add some supportive, encouraging comments to the reader as well. Also, when PLs or DPLs make notes, readers understand that to mean "fix this, please." Sometimes it might be helpful to point out something to the reader, not for him to fix in this recording, but maybe to think about for the next recording. Examples can be placement of the microphone (if you hear a lot of plosives) or something to do with the sound quality. It is a good idea to make clear to the reader that you don't mean for him to fix it is this recording and that it is not so bad that it renders this recording horrible. Other times, maybe especially if I DPL a solo, I might mention things that are, strictly speaking, more detailed feedback than standard PL. Again, I make sure to preface it as "you absolutely do not have to fix this, your recording is perfectly OK as it is" or "I am competely ok marking the section PL OK without you fixing this" or something like that. As a PL/DPL we want to provide a service to the reader (and LibriVox), helping to check for editing glitches. What really makes a reader improve, however, is practice. In other words, focus on getting the recording you are listening to as good as you can with a not unreasonable amount of PL notes. The reader will get smoother and better in good time.


PLing Dramatic Works

A note on PLing Dramatic Readings and Plays (in the Dramatic Works forum): A DPL/PL for a Dramatic Reading/Play might have to read along while listening to indvidual files (especially before all the parts are edited together). It is important that all the lines are there for each character... It might be a good idea to ask the BC (book coordinator) or editor what you should focus on as you listen. That way you can make sure to be on the same page.

OK, that is enough talk.


Practice making PL notes here

This little snippet is from the very start of a recording. When I PL, I pay extra attention to the intro disclaimer - it is soooo easy to zone out and not hear what the reader actually says. And mistakes in the intro can make it really confusing for listeners. Listen to the recording and note down what you would tell the reader. You can right-click and listen in a new tab or window, or download and listen in Audacity or another audio player. The project asks for Standard level of proof-listening. Then you can scroll down and compare with my PL notes or go on to section 2 below.

Section 1: https://librivox.org/uploads/xx-nonproject/pl_practice_intro.mp3

Quote from the first post in the project thread:

DURING recording:

No more than 0.5 to 1 second of silence at the beginning of the recording!

Make sure you add this to the beginning of your recording:

START of recording (Intro)

"Section [number] of the Boy Scouts Handbook. This is a LibriVox recording. All LibriVox recordings are in the public domain. For more information, or to volunteer, please visit: librivox DOT org"

If you wish, say: "Recording by [your name], [city, your blog, podcast, web address]"

Say: "The Boy Scouts Handbook, by the Boy Scouts of America. [Section]"


Section 2: https://librivox.org/uploads/xx-nonproject/pl_practice_middle2.mp3

When you listen to do standard PL, it is not necessary to follow along with the text. However, you can, if you want to. I have pasted the text I read below, and you can follow it if you like. What would you comment on here? My PL notes are below.

Quote from the text I am reading from:

I came from my fishing as usual, and appeared at the "ball" with the gun and bag—only I had put on my best leather suit. It was late when I got to Sirilund; I heard them dancing inside. Someone called out: "Here's the hunter, the Lieutenant." A few of the young people crowded round me and wanted to see my catch; I had shot a brace of seabirds and caught a few haddock. Edwarda bade me welcome with a smile; she had been dancing, and was flushed. "The first dance with me," she said. And we danced. Nothing awkward happened; I turned giddy, but did not fall. My heavy boots made a certain amount of noise; I could hear it myself, the noise, and resolved not to dance any more; I had even scratched their painted floor. But how glad I was that I had done nothing worse! Herr Mack's two assistants from the store were there, laboriously and with a solemn concentration. The Doctor took part eagerly in the set dances. Besides these gentlemen, there were four other youngish men, sons of families belonging to the parish, the Dean, and the district surgeons. A stranger, a commercial traveller, was there too; he made himself remarked by his fine voice, and tralala'ed to the music; now and again he relieved the ladies at the piano. I cannot remember now what happened the first few hours, but I remember everything from the latter part of the night. The sun shone redly in through the windows all the time, and the seabirds slept. We had wine and cakes, we talked loud and sang, Edwarda's laugh sounded fresh and careless through the room. But why had she never a word for me now?


Section 3: https://librivox.org/uploads/xx-nonproject/pl_practice_end.mp3

This is the end of a recording (it is not the last section of the book), the last few sentences of a chapter and the outro. Here are the instructions from the first post in the thread. What comments would you make to the reader?

Quote from the first post in the the project thread:

END of recording

At the end of the section, say:

"End of Chapter [number]"

If you wish, say:

"Recording by [your name], [city, your blog, podcast, web address]"

At the end of the book, say (in addition):

"End of Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors and Architects Volume 5, by Giorgio Vasari. Translated by Gaston du C. de Vere ( - 1955)"

PL Quiz

And now: a final challenge! Answer these questions for yourself. My suggestions are below.

You prefer to listen to readers who read a bit faster. Do you comment on that?

You are PLing a section, and after listening to 3 minutes you already have noted down 10 (or many) different things that need fixing. What to do?

You don't like this readers accent - it must be a non-native speaker. S/he does not use American (or British) pronuciation. Should you comment on that?

There was a mouthclick in the recording. Should you comment on that?

This recording is in [a language in which you are proficient]. Yet you can't understand to what this reader says. What do you do?

There is a little bit of background noise in this recording. What do you do?

There are bangs in the recording, it sounds like the reader is moving around and maybe hitting the microphone or cord. Do you comment on it?

The volume of the recording sounds very low. What to do?


Compare your PL notes here

PL notes section 1:

00:00 - please reduce the silence at the start of the recording. It should be no more than 1 second.

00:15 - I hear "librivox dot com" - it should be "librivox dot org"

PL notes section 2:

00:12 - stumble "I heard them da dancing outside"

00:48 - I hear a pause mid-sentence

01:21 - I hear "He made himself unremarked by his fine voice" - the text says "he made himself remarked"

01:39 - repeat "The sun The sun shone"

If you followed along with the text, you might also have noticed that I got the words "cakes and wine" in the wrong order. There is no reason to comment on this. It does not change the meaning. Sometimes we also substitute words, unconsciously, when we read. If you PL something and the reader has replaced a word with a synonym, there is no need to comment on it. If the reader, however, has substituted a word with something that means something different (or opposite), you should put that in the PL notes.

PL notes section 3:

00:04 - repeat "and he was a courteous person .. courteous person and he was"

00:26 - I hear "End of Lives of etc", it should be "End of Section [number]"

00:34 - please add 5 seconds of silence at the end of the recording.


Answers to the quiz

Answers to the final challenge questions:

You prefer to listen to readers who read a bit faster. Do you comment on that?

No. The reading speed is up to the reader to decide. We all have different preferences (as do the readers who listen to LibriVox recordings).


You are PLing a section, and after listening to 3 minutes you already have note down 10 (or many) different things that need fixing. What to do?

Well, it depends. If it is a new reader, I would keep going and write the PL notes as gently as possible. (You can see how many recordings a reader has contributed/claimed by clicking on their name in the MW (Magic Window). Their reader's page will show whether this is a new reader or someone who has made many recordings.) If it is an experienced reader, I might post and list the PL notes for the first 3 or 5 minutes, asking if they'd like me to do PL notes for the rest of the section, too. Chances are that s/he has uploaded an un-edited recording by mistake, or that s/he decides to re-record the whole section anyway.


You don't like this readers accent - it must be a non-native speaker. S/he does not use American (or British) pronuciation. Should you comment on that?

No. There is no "standard accent" for LibriVox so we don't comment of regional variation in pronunciation or the like. Readers from all over the world are welcome to contribute their recordings, and that is reflected in the breadth of languages and varieties of English. If you are considering being a DPL (dedicated Proof-Listener) for a solo you can see if you find a recording this person has already made. If it turns out that you don't like his/her accent or speed, you can keep looking for something else to DPL. LibriVox invites readers to record in languages they speak, other than their native language, as long as they can make themselves understood in it.


There was a mouthclick in the recording. Should you comment on that?

No.


This recording is in [a language in which you are proficient]. Yet you can't understand to what this reader says. What do you do?

This is a tough one. I would send a PM to the BC (book coordinator) or MC (meta coordinator) and get a second opinion.


There is a little bit of background noise in this recording. What do you do?

It depends. If it is a lot of background hum, you might tell the reader and suggest using the noise reduction or see if s/he can reduce it in some other way. A little background hum doesn't do any harm, though. Most readers have to contend with traffic noise, neighbours, etc when recording...


There are bangs in the recording, it sounds like the reader is moving around and maybe hitting the microphone or cord. Do you comment on it?

Yes, I would if there are loud bangs. Maybe the reader can edit them out (though sometimes it is very hard) -- but at least it is good to know about it -- maybe they can be avoided in the next recording!


The volume of the recording sounds very low. What to do?

Tell the reader to amplify it. When I proof-listen, I run the recordings through the Checker or MP3Gain. (An added bonus with the Checker is that it checks that the recording has the correct technical settings.) If the volume falls outside 87-91 dB I ask the reader to fix it. As a PL or DPL you don't absolutely have to check the technical settings (it is the responsibility of the BC, book coordinator). But I figure it doesn't add work much to the task of PLing, so I like to do it. If your are PLing a Dramatic Reading or a Play, the guidelines for individual parts may be different. Please check with the BC (book coordinator) or Editor.