Posted on October 22, 2008 by | Posted in about LibriVox, For Volunteers, News | Comments: 6 Comments on Proof-Listening

Many people who are not comfortable recording for LibriVox help out in other ways. You might consider helping as a Proof-Listener, making sure that there are no technical problems with an audio file before it goes into the catalog. This includes repeats, badly edited sections, major stumbles, long silences and the like.

Because of the quirky nature of LibriVox (all readers are welcome, and we don’t judge style or accent) PLers are not there to evaluate the more subjective quality of a recording, so:

What types of errors should I NOT be listening?
Text content, reading style, speed, pronunciation, or accents. The LibriVox community values a wide variety of reading styles; what one person finds difficult to hear, another person may really enjoy. The interpretation of the reader is not for our proof-listeners to judge. If you are uncomfortable listening to a particular voice, feel free to return the section to the pool for another proof-listener to claim.

Would you like to help out proof-listening? Read up on it here, and look for the Listeners & Editors Wanted thread in the Forum.



  1. Daniel says:

    Librivox maintainers,

    First of all…this is an excellent site, idea, etc., and thank you so much for taking the time to host it, and inject the public domain with new material (during a time in which the public domain is shrinking). There is only one issue I take, and I would ask that you read this in full, since I offer some constructive advice towards the bottom.

    Why not pronunciation? If proof listening is a valid way of contributing….

    Look, if a word is pronounced incorrectly, that’s not subjective, but entirely objective. There are correct and incorrect ways to pronounce a word. Even if you look at ‘enunciation’ as being subjective, the latter remains true.

    There are long and short vowel sounds, hard and soft consonents, and dictionaries will show you the correct way: most of them online today will even give you an audio file with someone pronouncing it correctly. The reader is almost without excuse.

    Compare this word:

    To it’s pronunciation in Michael Sample’s recording of Dagon, please, and you’ll see what I mean.

    Now, before I conclude, I understand that you are in no way responsible for the quality or works produced by your readers, and not only that, but that by criticizing them you discourage involvement.

    I have a solution. When the reader registers for an account, give him/her the option of deciding whether or not he/she wants feedback from proofreaders regarding either objective things (such as pronunciation), and possibly even subjective things (such as interpretation). There are people out there who don’t want to be bothered, and that’s fine, but there are also people who are looking for ways to improve, and in general it’s going to be those people who will cause the quality of the submitted works to soar!

    Best of luck to this excellent project!


  2. hugh says:

    Hi Daniel,

    We have a sort of informal way for people to register their interest in getting feedback, but I agree we should try to integrate something like your idea into the system…making it happen, however, is another thing altogether.

    But we could just try to make it more known that proof-listening *can* have two different streams, the “just the tech issues” stream, and the “constructive criticism stream.”

  3. Josh says:

    I’m with Daniel,

    I’ve been listening to JD Weber’s reading of the Burroughs “John Carter of Mars” books. While I can get used to hearing the standard North American pronunciation of many words (that I pronounce differently, being from New Zealand), it’s driving me nuts to hear words pronounced so badly that I can’t help thinking that the reader has never actually heard them spoken before.

    Three examples:

    “chasm” pronounced with a “ch” as in chocolate ( i.e. /chāz’əm/rather than /kāz’əm/ )
    “malevolently” pronounced without the “ol” in the middle ( i.e. /mə-lä-vənt-lē/ rather than /?mə-lěv’ə-lənt-lē/ )
    “escape” pronounced with an “x” like the way some people pronounce “espresso” ( i.e. /ěkskāp’/ rather than /ĭ-skāp’/)

    There are others, but I have not been keeping note. Those are just three that I couldn’t forget.

    I don’t know what process the readers go through, but I would happily take notes and give feedback whenever I have listened to a recording. Maybe if the readers were willing they could simply commit to re-recording sections at some time in the future? Maybe a forum or wikiwiki for those recordings that have been flagged as open to constructive criticism could be generated and listeners could log words (and time-stamps) for review.

  4. Mike says:

    Dear Librivox,

  5. I think they guy did a great job. A few mispronounced words, some of them fairly uncommon words (EXSCAPE a million times), but other than that was great. Very smooth, just enough insertion of his own attempt at character voices…. I was very impressed. Really appreciate him/everyone involved doing this.
    I kept realizing I didn’t hear allot of cuts, stops or starts. I imagined that if I did it there would be many many spots where you got a sense for me stopping and starting the recording to cover up a blunder. I doubt I could do as well.

  6. see…I couldn’t even type a simple paragraph without a silly error or two.

Sorry, comments are closed.

Browse the catalog