Arwa is a Palestinian women who speaks both Arabic and English. She actually became a voice over artist by coincidence. It was never in her plans but she tried it once and discovered she had a real talent for it. She then started practising and learning till she became the superstar that she is now.
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. During this sacred month adult Muslims will fast from sunrise to sunset. The purpose is to purify the soul and refocus their attention on Allah while enduring sacrifice and self-discipline.
So what’s it like to be a professional voice actor during Ramadan. We ask Arwa a few questions about her life during this time.
1. What inspired you to become a voice over artist?
I’ve always dreamt of having a microphone or being a radio broadcaster. I grew up watching old cartoons and listening to Tariq Al Arabi acting and singing in cartoons. And I still do, and I’m still inspired by him and his family they’re all still really special and great voice overs that I admire.
2. What’s it like to work as a voice artist during Ramadan?
If I had to record during fasting hours then I could manage short script projects. For longer scripts such as stories, audio books or presentations I prefer recording at night when my vocal cords are hydrated and relaxed. I tend to record at night and leave editing work for the next morning.
3. Tell us about a typical day in your life during Ramadan?
During Ramadan I wake up after 9 am since there’s no breakfast or no school for the kids. I tidy around the house, read some verses of Quran while kids are still asleep, surf the internet a little and then start working on small freelance tasks or recording short scripts. In the afternoon I start preparing Iftar (the meal Muslims eat after sunset). We pray a Maghrib prayer (one of the five prayers for Ramadan) and also serve some sweets.
After that, the males in the family would go to Taraweeh prayer (an optional prayer). I would typically sit down to finish my tasks till they are back. Then I take my turn to pray Taraweeh and have a nap, mostly we stay awake till Suhur (the early morning meal eaten before sunrise) before we pray an Alfajr prayer (a prayer half an hour before sunrise) then go to sleep.
4. What kind of food will you typically eat after sunset?
It is exactly like lunch but at sunset. The meal includes soup, dates, tamarind juice or carob juice. The main dish is made with recipes using meat or chicken with cooked rice with or without vegetables, such as Mulukheya, Maqloupa, or Mansaf. For desserts; Qatayef with cheese, Knafeh, or any kind of Arabian sweets.
5. What kind of voice over work do you enjoy most?
I like all types but mostly enjoy storytelling, audiobooks, e-learning, documentaries and commercials.
6. What’s your favourite quote in Arabic?
“كن الصوت، ولا تكن الصدى” Which means; “Be the voice, and don’t be the echo.” be the source of greatness and don’t simply imitate others.
7. What is the most challenging thing you experience during Ramadan?
It would be getting used to a different schedule for a full month where there are only two meals; Suhur, before daybreak, and Iftar at dusk. Both meals break my routine but Iftar needs more time to prepare than a regular lunch.
8. How is Eid al Fitr celebrated when Ramadan finishes?
Eid al Fitr is the first day of the month Shawwal, after Ramadan is over. It lasts for three days, the first day starts with an Eid prayer, then we gather to visit our relatives and neighbours, where Arabian coffee and baklava are served besides Eid cookies.
9. What advice would you give to companies looking for Arabic voice overs during Ramadan?
I am glad you asked, when fasting, the voice actor will not eat or drink anything during the day which makes the vocal cords a little bit tired and dry. However, one or two hours after Iftar, it’s much easier to record with a lively and relaxed voice. So my advice is, be patient and be prepared to wait till the next day to receive your files. To be on the safe side give an extra day to deadline.
Listen to Arwa’s voice samples here: