Accent Reduction Classes at Indian Call Centers Now Part of “Everyday” Training

learn to speak English like an American with Pronunciation ProMany have struggled with English pronunciation from a call center employee, and likewise, many call center employees in India and other countries have struggled to understand varying dialects of English, from Texan to Californian, New Englander to New Yorker, and many, many more.

But the fundamental error in thinking among native English speakers who have interacted with Indian call center employees is that because their English pronunciation is not good, this means that they don’t know or understand English. Quite to the contrary, mostIndians who speak English as a second language speak with excellent grammar, and often with an extensive vocabulary. The issues they face are primarily a thick Indian accent, and challenges with American English pronunciation.

To this end, many call centers in India have started to make English pronunciation classes part of their basic training for call center employees. In this way, a lot less time on phones is wasted, more customers can be dealt with in a more timely fashion, and more work gets done in less time. It’s an issue of efficiency as much as it is an issue of communication.

According to a recent CanIndia article, “Accent reduction is the need of the hour.” Author Prapid Rodrigues writes on, “foreign-born professionals working at blue chip companies voluntarily sign up for such [pronunciation] classes. It is seen as a way to move up the corporate and social ladder. Accent reduction is actually a misnomer, because it means learning an accent.”

In other words, for those Indians trying to improve an accent in English, many working even within very limited budgets are still doing what they can and must do to reduce Indian accent in English and create more intelligible spoken English—not just to get a call center job, but with the aim of learning how to speak English like an American in order to one day leave the call center behind.

In Mumbai, getting a call center job is an accomplishment, and can be worth a lot when pitted against the alternatives worth far less income. But when an Indian native has done accent reduction training, if he or she does ever end up in the US, Canada, or the UK, the odds at landing a job are much better, and the odds of landing a higher paying job are also much better.

How to Speak English without an Accent: Phonetic Differences Between Chinese and English

English pronunciation for Chinese peopleWhile it is true that more than one-third of all Chinese speakers use the Mandarin dialect, it is also true that there are many other dialects of Chinese, including Cantonese, Wu, and Taiwanese. The differences in these dialects can mean a difference in the various challenges when it comes to learning how to pronounce English correctly and with confidence.

With that said, there are many essential commonalities that make English pronunciation for Chinese people difficult at times. For example, Chinese has far less vowel sounds than American English, and can therefore present an issue when it comes to phonetics and speech patterns that are common in English, and not so common in Chinese.

One of the most fundamental and interesting differences between Chinese and English is that in Chinese dialects, changes in tone and pitch can completely alter the meaning of a word that is otherwise pronounced exactly the same. Now try and imagine this in English. For example, no matter how loudly or quietly, and no matter what octave your voice is in, if you say the word “dog” in English, it means the same (unless you’re speaking in terms of contextual differences like slang) thing—a furry, four-legged mammal prone to chewing bones and chasing cats. In Chinese, the slightest change of tone can be the difference between polite conversation and salty language.

These issues and differences between Chinese and English can make even the most well educated Chinese professional or student sound like they do not speak English. It is often incorrectly assumed by many Americans that pronunciation is the same as fluency or comprehension, and this is simply not true. But for those whose English pronunciation is a problem, a thick accent can deter work associated and defer promotions and other opportunities.

Being able to be understood is the most important part of speaking any language, and that’s why Pronunciation Pro focuses on listening to each English language learner as an individual to determine what his or her unique challenges with English speaking are.