If you’re in the voiceover business and recording narration work of any sort, chances are you’ve come across “i.e.” or “e.g.” in some of your scripts. These tricky little abbreviations can potentially pose a conundrum for voice talent: How should we voice them?
First of all, let’s talk about the meanings of each of them. Because even though many people use them interchangeably, the truth is, they actually mean different things.
i.e. stands for the Latin “id est,” and means “that is.” It’s used to clarify the statement before it. So, correct usage would be: He is an entomologist — i.e., he studies insects.
Whereas e.g. stands for “exempli gratia” and means “for example.” In this case, it is used to introduce examples. So correct usage would be: She loves all kinds of flowers, e.g. roses, petunias, daisies and calla lilies.
Now that we know the differences, how should we as voice talent actually VOICE these abbreviations when we come across them in a script? Well, the short answer is obvious: You voice them however the client instructs you to. But if you don’t have the client’s direct or immediate input, you can always voice them as just the exact two-letter combinations that they are written in, “I – E” and “E – G.” Or, now that you know what each one means, you can substitute in “that is” or “for example.”
As always, though, defer to the end client for the final say! (Even if they want you to use the wrong one…)
Hope this helps!