A teacher friend asked for male and female volunteers to record some English dialogue for teaching purposes. So my team mate Duke and I stepped up and prepared to read a few lines for a tape recorder on Saturday morning. Yes, 15 minutes or so on a Saturday morning shouldn't be a big deal.
However, this morning, I found myself in a small hot recording room crowded around a single microphone with Duke and four Mongolian "tweens" (not quite preteen, not quite teenagers) and about 12 pages of dialogue! Dialogue such as "This is my friend Ben. What is your friend's name?". It took us about 45 minutes to record the first page as we kept having to do retakes - this tween wasn't speaking up loud enough, this tween was reading too fast, this tween was mumbling, and you get the idea. After a while, we kept having to do more takes because people's tummies started growling (and the microphone picks it all up) so we decided to take a break and go to the tiny convenient store in the building - where the tweens filled up on sugar. Probably don't have to tell you that this didn't help things go any quicker. Four hours later, after tons of giggles, shuffling paper sounds, retakes, sweat, yawns, throat clearings, "shhh"'s, etc., we were done.
I actually did have a fun time and what's neat is that this recording was for a standard English book that all Mongolian children will be taught from. Ours will most likely be the very first native English speaker voices they will hear. Yes, that's right, yours truly is going to be famous among all Mongolian 5th graders.