Discussion: Fluency with Footnotes

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Samari
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Post by Samari » September 20th, 2019, 9:45 am

Hi guys,

I'm wondering if a few experienced readers could talk about their approach to reading footnotes in a way that maximizes text fluency.
I imagine it's pretty simple if you have one footnote every several pages, it's not too disruptive. But if there are frequent footnotes, multiples in one paragraph, how do you handle it? Do you lower your voice slightly? Change tones? Give a slight pause? Store them up and only read them at the end of the section/chapter? Is there a standard procedure, or is it somewhat left to reader discretion?

The reason I ask: As a new reader, I was looking through the orphaned projects thinking "What a great place to start" as I noticed an open section on Chaucer in the Library of the World's Best Literature project.

Then I clicked on the text and saw it has over 400 footnotes.

And many of those footnotes are trickily placed and tightly packed - for example, in a single line of poetry with 6 words, there might be three or four footnotes on Middle English pronunciation/origins.

So how do you read poetry without losing its lyricism if you have to pause three times in a line to announce a footnote??? Do you prioritize the technical accuracy or the sentiment? What's normal, and what's your approach? (And maybe this is why that section has been orphaned for so long...?)

Thanks for your thoughts!

KevinS
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Post by KevinS » September 20th, 2019, 12:31 pm

ALWAYS a good topic for discussion.

As far as I'm concerned, the BC is the boss and will (or should) provide detail as to how footnotes should be addressed.

In some cases, I ask readers to ignore footnotes entirely. I feel I can get away with this because my focus is on the main text.

At other times---one of my favorites readers just did this---the footnote is addressed immediately with something like "Footnote One ... [text] End of footnote." These were longer, interesting, and explanatory additions to the main text that certainly had their place in the recording.

And at other times a dialogue is necessary. A BC doesn't always know every inch of the textual ground beforehand and he or she can simply be asked, "What about this one?"

As for citations, I hardly ever include them. I think the same would have to go for readings of Chaucer and the like in terms of its vocabulary. I personally think most listeners would want to listen to the older texts for their music and narrative lines rather than a parsing of what 'yslain' means. (Past participle of slay)

N.B. I'm recording some Chaucer now and it is a bear! But fun too.
"E agora, José?"

TriciaG
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Post by TriciaG » September 20th, 2019, 1:08 pm

Good discussion so far.
The reason I ask: As a new reader, I was looking through the orphaned projects thinking "What a great place to start" as I noticed an open section on Chaucer in the Library of the World's Best Literature project.
Maybe... or leave such a hard section to someone else and start with something easier. :lol: Every section in the Readers Wanted forums need readers (aside from those marked as FULL in the thread title), so if this fish is too big to reel in, cut the line and try for something a bit more manageable. ;)
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Samari
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Post by Samari » September 20th, 2019, 1:32 pm

At other times---one of my favorites readers just did this---the footnote is addressed immediately with something like "Footnote One ... [text] End of footnote." These were longer, interesting, and explanatory additions to the main text that certainly had their place in the recording.
That's a great idea. I like that way of handling it.
And at other times a dialogue is necessary. A BC doesn't always know every inch of the textual ground beforehand and he or she can simply be asked, "What about this one?"
Makes sense, and good to know that there's some flexibility.
As for citations, I hardly ever include them. I think the same would have to go for readings of Chaucer and the like in terms of its vocabulary. I personally think most listeners would want to listen to the older texts for their music and narrative lines rather than a parsing of what 'yslain' means. (Past participle of slay)
I was hoping someone would say this! ... not that it isn't fun to know what yslain means :wink: but I do feel that as you say, most listeners would prefer to hear something smooth and magical over something heavily annotated.
N.B. I'm recording some Chaucer now and it is a bear! But fun too.
Good for you! I don't think my Middle English pronunciation is quite up to the task... yet... *hehehe* but I'll have to eavesdrop on you when you're finished so I can see if I can pick up the tricky bits. Thanks for the info and ideas! As TriciaG said, it's probably better that I leave this particular one to an experienced reader. I just couldn't help wondering how it should be approached, even if it's not me reading it this time.

Samari
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Post by Samari » September 20th, 2019, 1:37 pm

TriciaG wrote:
September 20th, 2019, 1:08 pm
Good discussion so far.
The reason I ask: As a new reader, I was looking through the orphaned projects thinking "What a great place to start" as I noticed an open section on Chaucer in the Library of the World's Best Literature project.
Maybe... or leave such a hard section to someone else and start with something easier. :lol: Every section in the Readers Wanted forums need readers (aside from those marked as FULL in the thread title), so if this fish is too big to reel in, cut the line and try for something a bit more manageable. ;)
Agreed. I was pre-reading the intro text and there was a section that said something like "If you don't think Chaucer sounds amazing, it's because someone's doing a lousy job reading and pronouncing it" :lol: That made me think, eh, better not do a catastrophic flop on the first read. I'll keep browsing for sure.

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Post by Foon » September 21st, 2019, 5:08 am

KevinS wrote:
September 20th, 2019, 12:31 pm
At other times---one of my favorites readers just did this---the footnote is addressed immediately with something like "Footnote One ... [text] End of footnote." These were longer, interesting, and explanatory additions to the main text that certainly had their place in the recording.
I do pretty much exactly that in one of my longer projects, which is an adapted version of Pliny's Natural History. It was written in the first century BC, so there are a lot of errors of course--and most of these are addressed in footnotes. I made a point of including them, also to drive home the point that what is written is incorrect. I include them either where the footnote is, or if that breaks up the flow, at the end of the sentence.
So if the text is:
There were a lot of dragons[1] in Africa.

[1] He probably mistook lizards for dragons.
I would record
There were a lot of dragons in Africa. Footnote: He probably mistook lizards for dragons. End of footnote.

But then, in other projects, I leave all of them out. They're not part of the main text, so including them is not crucial.
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Samari
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Post by Samari » September 21st, 2019, 8:20 am

Thanks Foon! I appreciate the specific example, since this is a sort of subjective/situational issue in my mind.

If anyone else has examples or ideas of handling things differently, I'd be interested to collect some more perspectives.

KevinS
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Post by KevinS » September 21st, 2019, 8:59 am

I might point out that footnotes can become a difficult thing if a BC asks for a Word Perfect listening. In that case, which doesn't seem to appear too often, the PL will need to know all the 'boundaries' and expectations also. It's for this reason, among others, that discussion regarding a reading's specifics be conducted in the project's thread and not offline.
"E agora, José?"

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Post by KevinS » September 21st, 2019, 9:10 am

A final point from me, perhaps---I tend to go on and on---would be the difficulty faced by a reader when asked to read footnotes at the close of a chapter. (I don't think this occurs all that often.) In this case, the footnote needs an anchor to the text which is not always supplied except by the enumeration. I saw this recently when one word of the text was from a language that would not be familiar to many readers at all. The footnote supplied was simply the translation. I don't know what the bosses think of this, but I think it logical to provide some link to the text such as "Musliman means a follower of Islam. This means adding to the existing text, but I don't know how else one would handle the situation.
"E agora, José?"

Peter Why
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Post by Peter Why » September 21st, 2019, 9:36 am

If an end-of-chapter footnote is really essential, then I'd put it at the end of the appropriate sentence, and would tend to expand it as you suggest. There may be dissenting opinions.
Peter
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KevinS
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Post by KevinS » September 21st, 2019, 10:09 am

Peter Why wrote:
September 21st, 2019, 9:36 am
If an end-of-chapter footnote is really essential, then I'd put it at the end of the appropriate sentence, and would tend to expand it as you suggest. There may be dissenting opinions.
Peter
Yes, that's the decision I would make as a BC.
"E agora, José?"

annise
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Post by annise » September 21st, 2019, 11:16 am

If it just a meaning of a word most readers give the word, then the meaning as an aside (as is done on stage).That way the flow is not broken and the listener is not left wondering what the author is talking about.

Anne

mightyfelix
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Post by mightyfelix » September 21st, 2019, 11:34 am

KevinS wrote:
September 21st, 2019, 9:10 am
A final point from me, perhaps---I tend to go on and on---would be the difficulty faced by a reader when asked to read footnotes at the close of a chapter.
I've never come across this in one of our recordings yet. That is, even if the text as printed is not given until the end of the chapter, we'd still read it as Foon described, right at the place where it occurs. In audio, it's just too difficult to wait until the end. The listener would have to try to think back through the whole chapter and try to remember where it might fit and what it refers to.

KevinS
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Post by KevinS » September 21st, 2019, 11:56 am

annise wrote:
September 21st, 2019, 11:16 am
If it just a meaning of a word most readers give the word, then the meaning as an aside (as is done on stage).That way the flow is not broken and the listener is not left wondering what the author is talking about.

Anne
Yes, I think that's the best course most always.
"E agora, José?"

KevinS
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Post by KevinS » September 21st, 2019, 11:58 am

mightyfelix wrote:
September 21st, 2019, 11:34 am
KevinS wrote:
September 21st, 2019, 9:10 am
A final point from me, perhaps---I tend to go on and on---would be the difficulty faced by a reader when asked to read footnotes at the close of a chapter.
I've never come across this in one of our recordings yet. That is, even if the text as printed is not given until the end of the chapter, we'd still read it as Foon described, right at the place where it occurs. In audio, it's just too difficult to wait until the end. The listener would have to try to think back through the whole chapter and try to remember where it might fit and what it refers to.
Yes, it's rare, though I saw it just yesterday or the day before.
"E agora, José?"

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