QLOOG Times Vol. 5 – Ryoko Sonoda, Voice of Asterisk in Japan
“Japan’s Allison Smith”
Freelance Announcer Ms. Ryoko Sonoda
“Hasshinon no ato ni (After the tone…)” begins Sonoda’s beaming voice. “Take it from the top again, that didn’t feel quite right.” This was the precision demanded at a recording studio in Osaka, Japan during the recording of the Japanese voice files for Asterisk and trixbox Pro. Allison Smith’s*1 voice has achieved legendary status in Asterisk circles around the world, and when QLOOG committed to localizing the announcements for Japan’s community, Ryoko Sonoda came forward to take on the daunting task of becoming “Japan’s Allison.” Her story is the subject of our interview.
“I’ve always wanted my voice to help others smile.”
“What’s an announcer? I like to call myself one, but I feel most proud when I hear people express their gratitude for my work,” says freelance announcer Ryoko Sonoda. At first glance it might appear that she has little in common with the IT world, but in reality, Sonoda is the voice of Japan’s latest collection of Asterisk announcements. QLOOG translated, recorded, and released its newest compilation in September, following a recent update of the English Asterisk and trixbox Pro audio files. The Japanese edition was recorded and edited by Sonoda with sound director Yuji Asahara.
It takes a vast catalogue of audio files in order to accommodate the myriad of scenarios possible in the Asterisk and trixbox Pro IVRs*2 – 570 separate recordings, to be exact. Nothing has been left out, and that includes the humor of the American originals, as phone geeks across Japan will undoubtedly confound their bosses by chuckling at Sonoda’s adaptations of hidden gems like “weasels have eaten our phone system.”
There is a reason that QLOOG asked Sonoda to lend her skills: her long career as a radio staple and emcee have made us all willing captives to her fun and energetic personality. And we’re not the only ones – Sonoda recounts an occasion where a listener once shared with her, “I have you to thank for being alive today. Your laugh coming over the radio waves was what kept me going during a long bout with illness.”
“My voice reaches your smile,” Sonoda says with a gentle grin herself, and it’s precisely this sentiment that makes QLOOG proud to offer these recordings for the benefit of Asterisk and trixbox Pro users throughout Japan.
Ryoko SONODA : Freelance announcer born in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan. The “Ron-Mari Project,” an initiative she started with her colleague Mari Kihira, holds a yearly event called “Ribbon Knight” aimed at promoting the early diagnosis of cancer.
*1 Allison Smith: Voice talent of the original Asterisk announcement files used around the world.http://www.theivrvoice.com/ http://www.allisonondemand.com/
*2 IVR (Interactive Voice Response): An automatic voice guidance system. Recorded announcements are automatically played depending on the caller’s input.
– October: Off to the 10th Annual AstriCon and KazooCon!
The 10th Annual AstriCon was held from Oct. 8—10 in Atlanta, and luck would have it that KazooCon was to follow the next week in San Francisco from the 14th—15th! QLOOG joined both events and had the opportunity to meet with project partners to discuss exciting new developments in the telephony market.
– October: Hong Kong Electronics Fair
The Hong Kong Electronics Fair is renowned as the largest event of its kind in the world. This year’s event was held from Oct. 13—16, where CEO Kazuhiro Arao attended with two of QLOOG’s technicians. The fair is famous not only for new product demonstrations and presentations, but also for the fact that businesses are able to engage in direct negotiations with suppliers.
QLOOG has never feared change, and we’re always excited to keep up on the latest global developments in hardware and software!
Article & photo: Chise MISHIMA, Translation: Kevin McCoy