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BPO boom: A career in voice & accent training
Maahi Singh
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January 09, 2008

The globalisation marathon has not only enabled a developing country like India to grow, but has also opened up numerous doors to success and career development. As the BPO industry evolves, training and development stands out as a domain to identify, polish, groom and promote talent through people management skills. A large chunk of training resources in any BPO is constituted by voice and accent trainers.

What is voice and accent training?

Voice and accent training is one of the most popular training programmes in the BPO industry. It is designed keeping in mind the diversified globalised culture and the need of business outsourcing -- the speech skills of Indian BPO employees are groomed and refined and they are taught how to improve their overall English conversational skills to meet international standards.

Voice and accent training enables the BPO industry to step forward and introduce the concept of American/ British accent versus the Indian accent. The way an American speaks is different from the way an Indian speaks.

How does voice and accent training help?

Voice and accent training imparts the basic concepts of the English alphabet and its corresponding letters, which further represent their respective sounds, and thereby improves overall conversational skills. A native English speaker uses vertical lip and jaw movement while speaking; on the other hand, an Indian uses horizontal lip and jaw movement while speaking. This small difference affects the overall speech clarity and the ability to pronounce a word correctly.

Besides incorrect mouth or jaw movements, several other factors like the rate of speech, pronunciation, grammar and MTI (mother tongue influence of any native language over English) are major bottle necks for an individual to overcome while he/ she goes through voice and accent training.

Overall, this training programme enables employees in an organisation to unlearn and relearn the English language in the correct way. This is important, as front line employees in a BPO interact with a global customer base.

How does one become a voice and accent trainer?

The career path of an effective voice trainer starts with a focus on understanding the fundamental concepts of language learning and pronunciation. Voice and accent training isn't just about making a fancy speech in English or demonstrating the accent of a native English speaker; the job of a voice and accent trainer is to train and groom people, who are not only different from each other but also represent different cultural backgrounds and language dialects.

People who already know how to speak in English, however, miss out on the small aspects of the language, as small as the Hindi to English translations of their own ideas and the fact that Hindi is a phonetic language, whereas English is not.

Phonetically, the Hindi language is spoken the way it is written and written the way it is spoken. On the other hand, the English language is not spoken the way it is written, nor written the way it is spoken. Opportunity areas like this give voice and accent training its next milestone.

Tomorrow: The job profile of a voice and accent trainer

Maahi Singh is a Senior Training Consultant with WCH Training Solutions, a New Delhi based Training & Consulting firm.

WCH Training Solutions is organising a 4 day Certification Workshop for aspiring Voice & Accent Trainers from January 17 to 20, 2008 in New Delhi. For details, write to or call Deeksha Singh at 09968317763.

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