I must say I have never been a big fan of audio guides. True, most of the audio guides I have listened to in my life were those strange sound systems they sometimes give us in museums. What happens is I often don’t have the time the whole visit requires. Often I speed through the museum in thirty to sixty minutes, stopping at the places that interest me the most. With these systems, we are forced to follow a rhythm and descriptions that make me feel like a prisoner.
However, I always appreciate the content, which teaches me a great deal of things. I also like audio books I can listen to while walking to work, cooking or cross-country skiing. They are a great way to nurture the mind.
We don’t just spend an hour or two in a city, we discover it for days, even years, and in my case anyway, I get to know cities from top to bottom and take great pleasure in discovering major boulevards and small side streets, which sometimes hide well-kept secrets.
What I like about the Iqaluit audioguide is that we can discover the town at our own pace, we don’t just pay an entrance fee that is only good for one day. We can even listen to some of the capsules in the comfort of our own living rooms. And we can listen to other sections while jogging or heading over to a friend’s house.
Of course, tourists can listen to the audio guide while following the suggested circuit and, frankly, with the very helpful map that accompanies it, I think it is a fabulous means to discover Iqaluit. But they can also listen to it in the plane before arriving in town or upon leaving it.
The information contained within leaves us with the feeling of owning our environment. The city takes on renewed depth. We feel less like a stranger and are able to impress others with our newfound knowledge.
But I must tell you now that I personally worked on making this project a success. I am the communications officer for Carrefour Nunavut, the only francophone economic development organization in Nunavut. So you might think that I am only promoting my product, regardless of the fact that the audio guide is available free of charge, and you wouldn’t be far off… I am proud of the result. I also believe I am the right person to tell you just how it happened.
The audio guide took 15 months of preparation and planning! And I won’t hide the fact that we stumbled over a few hurdles: scheduling delays, reigning in the egos of some of the collaborators, fixing errors, heading to the office on weekends to catch up, etc. The work on the guide’s content took up the most effort. The text was first drafted in French, then translated into English. It is this version that was read and commented on by the most people. Then the final version had to be translated into Inuktitut, and we had to modify the French version. A few errors were spotted following this process, and you can imagine what that meant for the translation aspect of the project. I personally had to read the text approximately twenty times, so I can recite it to you by heart!
In spite of these little glitches, I really liked working on the audio guide. I am proud of what we have accomplished, and now that everything is finalized and a part of my agenda is freed up, I am ready for Phase 2! In fact, I would like to see the project extended to other topics and communities. Wouldn’t it be great to have an audio guide for Pangnirtung or Kimmirut or more cultural capsules, for example?
The basic principle behind the audio guide is to add to the information available to tourists to our magnificent region. Tourism must not be neglected in the economic development of a region. In 2011 tourism generated $40 million and allowed for the hiring of 1,258 Nunavimmiut. There is much potential for tourism in Nunavut. And we can’t neglect the francophone markets, which hold a great deal of potential for growth.
This second phase of the audio guide is now in your hands. And if the popularity of this experience is positive, we can head out on a pleasant new adventure, listening with our ears as we discover with our eyes.