sound waves becoming voice prompts


Voice Prompt Creation

A company's automated phone system should make a great impression on its callers. The pre-recorded voice prompts they hear should guide them quickly and seamlessly to the information they need, and contribute to a positive caller experience.

Careful editing and enhancement of the original voice recordings are essential for building clear, professional-sounding prompts, especially if the raw recordings were done with a non-professional voice or by recording personnel unfamiliar with the characteristics of the telephony environment.

Using proprietary batch procedures and hand-editing techniques, Third Wave Audio will quickly turn your raw voice recordings into a uniform set of optimized and verified voice prompts, ready to be loaded onto your IVR (Interactive Voice Response), AA (Auto Attendant) or ACD (Automated Call Distribution) systems.

Comprehensive: More than just the usual digitizing and editing into separate, named segments, the Voice Prompt Creation service is a fast and thorough overhaul of your recordings, which assures the quality and consistency of your final voice prompts, regardless of changes in the original recording procedure:

The voice prompt process includes...  
  • Match volume and tone of previous audio
  • Remove distracting noise, pops & sibilance
  • Shape tone to improve intelligibility
  • Smooth large volume differences
  • Filter out false DTMF tones
  • Trim leading and trailing silence
  • Convert to your system's audio format
  • Report any file name duplicates and inconsistencies

We also verify every word of your recordings against the specification script and report any discrepancies. In most cases, we can fix these problems by editing, which avoids the delay and cost of re-recording.

We make sure your voice prompts are perfect every time.

Third Wave's Voice Prompt Creation service is perfect for anyone who records voice for telecom applications, but doesn't have the time or resources to produce professional, quality-controlled announcements from their original recordings:

  • Companies that record their own messaging
  • Voice talents who record in home studios
  • Prompt recording firms that need additional support
  • Anyone who wants to improve their current telecom audio, or port it to another system

Inexpensive: The Voice Prompt Creation hourly rate is $50 USD. Orders of around 100 short prompts usually take only one hour, depending on prompt lengths and recording quality. Larger jobs are even more economical, and usually take only slightly longer than the recording time.

Easy: Just send an e-mail including the recording script, the target audio format and a link to the raw audio files. We'll contact you with any questions and return your finished prompts ASAP, usually within 24 hours. If you need a price quote, please ask for one by e-mail.

*For details, please see the Voice Prompt Creation FAQ below.

You may also be interested in our Format Analysis service.

Quality voice messaging conveys a professional image to your customers. Whether you record with telecom audio experts like Third Wave Audio Services or you record elsewhere, let us finish the job by building your final voice prompts with our Voice Prompt Creation service.

Voice Prompt Creation customers include:

• Weight Watchers • Voicetech • New York City HRA • Washington State DOL
• People's United Bank • The Denver Post • Barclays • The City of Seattle
• Kroger Pharmacy • TransAmerica • Qvox Voiceworks • CCS Medical
• Geisinger Health Services • Northrop Grumman • Branch Banking & Trust • ThyssenKrupp Stainless

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Voice Prompt Creation FAQ

Please read through the Frequently Asked Questions below. We will work with any audio you send us, but following a few rules will help us complete your order more quickly and inexpensively.

Feel free to contact us if you have any other questions.

Why should I have Third Wave Audio Services build my voice prompts?

  • Experience: We've done professional voice prompt editing and post-production for over 15 years. We know how to find and fix problems in prompts as we build them, which saves everyone time and money.
  • Speed: Using proprietary batch processes and editing tricks, we do a more thorough job in one hour than others do in several hours.
  • Consistency: Your voice prompts will always sound great, regardless of changes made in the recording procedure. They'll concatenate seamlessly with previous prompts and give all your systems a uniform, natural sound.
  • Accuracy: We find mistakes the recording people miss and can usually fix them with editing. 

Consider us your Voice Prompt Quality Assurance Team.

  • Simplicity: Orders and deliveries are by e-mail and FTP. Pricing is by simple hourly rate, and there are no hidden extra charges for longer prompts, conversion to certain formats, electronic transfer, etc.

We also store and index all your audio, docs and configuration info permanently and free of charge, so future updates are even faster and easier.

What is the turnaround time for Voice Prompt Creation?

Most audio is delivered by 5pm Eastern of the next business day. Orders of over 100 prompts, orders that arrive after noon Eastern and orders in languages other than English may take an extra day or two.

An exact turnaround is hard to determine without first seeing the prompt list and hearing the raw audio. This is because prompt length varies widely, and more problematic audio will take extra time to fix.

Rest assured that we'll do what we can to deliver your finished audio as soon as possible.

What audio formats can Third Wave support?

We can deliver audio in any format, including WAV, VOX, ULAW, ALAW, MP3 and Nortel's MMF (.mmd/.mmi).

If you need an uncommon format or you would like a trial prompt file for testing, just send us a sample of your system's existing audio, we will match its format and send you a trial audio prompt to test.

How do I place a Voice Prompt Creation order?

Simple: Just send an e-mail including...

  • the prompt script, with prompt names and spoken phrases.
  • a link to your raw recordings. If you'd like to use our ftp server, just ask us for a private login and password.
  • a sample of previous system audio, so we can match its volume and tone.
  • technical details such as format, level and any silence padding required.
  • the desired turnaround time.
  • your contact information.

How can I avoid delays with my order?

In addition to reading this page, we recommend that you send us your final script(s) for review, even before you record. We'll check for problems like typos, inflection instructions, inconsistencies and duplicate file names, then we'll contact you to settle any issues.

We find that resolving questions early usually cuts recording, processing and delivery times.

How can I exchange files with Third Wave Audio Services?

You can e-mail documentation and small audio files up to 20M. Larger files can be sent by...

  • FTP (File Transfer Protocol). Just ask for private login info to use the Third Wave server at no charge.
  • Online file transfer services such as Dropbox or HIGHTAIL (formerly youSENDit.) E-mail us the link.
  • Fedex, UPS, DHL, USPS to Third Wave Audio Services.

Can Third Wave process voice prompts in languages other than English?

Sure, we do it all the time. Simply slate any languages not written in the Latin alphabet (such as Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Tagalog, Hindi, etc.) with the prompt number (preferred) or file name.

IMPORTANT: Please read Do I need to slate each prompt...How much silence should I leave...? and What is acceptable 'silence...' below.

***The recording personnel are responsible for accuracy on recordings in languages other than English. We often find inconsistencies and problems, but we cannot always troubleshoot these scripts completely.

What audio format should I use to record my prompts?

Short answer: Mono WAV or AIF, 16-bit, 48K.

Long answer: We can work with any popular format, but for the highest quality results, raw voice prompt audio should be recorded in a linear 16-bit PCM format such as WAV or AIF. Sample rates of 44K, 32K, 22K or 16K are also acceptable. These will yield progressively smaller file sizes, but also lower quality.

We can also digitize recordings from DAT, MiniDisc or cassette, which will take additional time.

What recording level and processing should I use for voice?

Recorded peaks should be no more than -3 db, preferably around -6 dB.

We recommend recording "flat" (using no EQ other than maybe a hi-pass filter) with no more than 5dB of peak limiting or compression—unless you're matching existing audio that was recorded differently. Additional processing should be done after recording, on a copy of the audio, so that the original raw recording can be preserved.

How should I divide my raw audio files?

Raw audio can be either session files (each file containing several prompts), or individual prompt files. Session files should be recorded with at least a two-second pause between prompts and slates to help us edit them quickly.

Please read the questions about silent pauses, recording order and file naming below.

Do I need to slate each prompt recording when sending session files?

Slates (recorded cues to identify each prompt) are unnecessary for languages written in the Latin alphabet. For other languages (such as Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Tagalog, Hindi, etc.), please record a short slate before each prompt, consisting of either the prompt number (preferred) or its name.

Please read the questions about silent pauses, recording order and file naming below.

How much silence should I leave between prompts?

Please leave at least two seconds of silence between slates and prompts. (The pauses between prompts should be longer than the pauses within the prompts.) Editing will take longer if the pauses between slates and prompts are too short.

For example:

A session file with no slates should look like this:

<prompt> <2secs> <prompt> <2secs> <prompt>, etc.

A session file with slates should look like this:

<slate> <2 secs> <prompt> <2secs> <slate> <2secs> <prompt>, etc.

What is acceptable as silence for the 2-second pause between prompts?

The two-second pauses in your raw recordings should be free of any "man-made" sounds like clothes rustling, chairs creaking, breathing, etc. Your recording meters should show only -60 dB of ambient room sound or less.

Is my recording order important?

Yes! Please record session files with the prompts in the same order as they appear on the script(s) you submit. If we need to look for your recordings, it will take longer and may cost more.

If there is more than one script, you may prefix the script filenames with a number, indicating the order in which you recorded them. (e.g., "01_main_app.doc", "02_store_locations.doc", "03_dates_numbers.doc", etc.)

Please read "Are my audio file names important?"

If you'd like the final prompts delivered in groups within a specific folder structure, please indicate the folder names on the script(s) above each group of prompts.

Are my audio file names important?

Yes! Multi-part session files should be named consecutively (e.g., "session-01.wav", "session-02.wav", etc.), so they follow the recording session and script order. You may name larger orders in parts if you wish (e.g., "main-app-01.aif", "main-app-02.aif", "locations-01.aif", "locations-02.aif", etc.)

If your prompts are in separate files, they should either have temporary sequential names in script order (such as "prompt001.wav" and "prompt002.wav") or their proper final names ("greeting.wav", "main_menu.wav", etc.)

Please read "Is my recording order important?"

Can I include outtakes?

Sure. We'll be happy to remove false starts, coughs, noises and long pauses. If possible, please provide script notes to help us locate them.

If you include alternates, redos or inserts, we prefer to have them at the end of the session (if possible), with a slate to identify each additional recording.

Please put editing instructions on the script or in your e-mail. (For example, "Use alt#2 at end," or "Insert of paragraph 4 follows.") It's useful to have a right-hand column in the script for notes of this type.

What are your rates?

The hourly rate for Voice Prompt Creation is $50 USD. Orders of up to 100 short prompts can often be completed in one hour, depending on message lengths and audio quality. Larger orders take a little longer, but cost less per prompt.

How can I get a price quote?

Easy: Just send an e-mail requesting a quote. The e-mail should include the following information, so we can estimate the job accurately:

  • your final prompt listing (with prompt names and spoken text)
  • a good, representative sample of the new raw audio
  • the target audio format specifications
  • a representative sample of any existing system audio, for format analysis and sonic matching.
  • the desired turnaround time

What are your payment terms for Voice Prompt Creation?

Net 30. We require payment by check within 30 days of order delivery. Checks should be sent to "Third Wave Audio Services."


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