The IUP Journal of Soft Skills
An Accent Improvement Model for the Non-Native English Speakers: A Voice and Accent Trainer Perspective

Article Details
Pub. Date : March, 2020
Product Name : The IUP Journal of Soft Skills
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJSS30320
Author Name : Bikram Kumar Singh
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : Management
Download Format : PDF Format
No. of Pages : 12



Increasing globalization has led to the outsourcing of voice operations from Native-English-Speaking (NES) countries to organizations in non-Native-English-Speaking (nNES) countries such as India and the Philippines, thus creating a demand for an entirely new line of training professionals, voice and accent (VANC) trainers. The nNES employees' mother tongue has a significant influence on the Indian English (IE) accent and impacts the NES customers' overall perception and experience of the voice service encounter. The Indian BPM industry faces challenges in hiring nNES employees with a 'neutral' accent. VANC trainers struggle in their efforts to improve the accent of nNES new hires. The purpose of this paper is to present a synthesis of the extant literature, concluding with a six-step nNES new-hire training model to assist VANC trainers during their new-hire accent improvement training program, comprising Transformative Cultural (TC), Accent Analysis (AA), Accent Neutralization (AN), Accent Ratification (AR), Accent Familiarization (AF) and finally a Continuous Learning Process (CLP).


According to Wolfram (2000), "everyone has an accent." The globalization of the workforce has led to increased interaction between native and non-native speakers of languages. Non-native accents are more difficult to comprehend than native accents (Lev-Ari and Keysar, 2010). Speakers of the native accent often tend to form perceptions and stereotypes of non-native speakers that impacts their credibility (Dixon et al., 2002). Increasing globalization and outsourcing in the 21st century has led to a significant increase in interaction between employees and customers from diverse cultural, socioeconomic and language backgrounds. As a result of globalization and outsourcing, there has been an increase in 'voice-interactions' between personnel from Asian countries, such as India and the Philippines, with their clients and customers from outsourcing countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. While outsourcing of voice-operations, such as call center customer services, has helped many companies save on their operational expenditure, it has also led to increasing dissatisfaction among Native-English Speaking (NES) customers during their voice interaction with non-Native English-Speaking (nNES) personnel from the Asian countries. Several studies show that non-native accent speakers have lesser credibility when interacting with people with a native accent. The need for improving non-native English accents so that they are comprehensible to native English speakers has created a new line of employees called voice and accent (VANC) trainers, who are required to neutralize the CSRs' non-native accent and make it as close as possible to native English.


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