English with no accent

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I've heard a lot of people say "I need someone who speaks English with little or no accent". I'd like to know what the deciding factor is. Which is the standard English with no accent?

Who decides how English should sound like generally? 

Kevwe A.

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#1
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Oghenekevwe wrote:
I've heard a lot of people say "I need someone who speaks English with little or no accent". I'd like to know what the deciding factor is. Which is the standard English with no accent?
Who decides how English should sound like generally?

All you can do is ask them what they are talking about. I think in general people from the UK, Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada are the ones most likely to be referenced as having "standard accents" or "no accents". But who is to say that countries that have millions of native English speakers, such as India and the Philippines, have "non-standard" or "accented" English? It's a tricky and sometimes controversial question.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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#2
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Oghenekevwe wrote:
I've heard a lot of people say "I need someone who speaks English with little or no accent". I'd like to know what the deciding factor is. Which is the standard English with no accent?
Who decides how English should sound like generally?


I generally find that if this is a job ad, it's code to get around discrimination lawsuits. Quite frankly, it's hilarious. My Vietnamese-American friend with limited international exposure constantly tried to "correct" my English accent/pronunciation. One fine day, she met another non-American and I talking, and suddenly realized that there was nothing wrong my accent - I was raised on the British English, and my pronunciation of words reflected that background. 

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#3
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leosmith wrote:

Oghenekevwe wrote:

I've heard a lot of people say "I need someone who speaks English with little or no accent". I'd like to know what the deciding factor is. Which is the standard English with no accent?

Who decides how English should sound like generally?

All you can do is ask them what they are talking about. I think in general people from the UK, Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada are the ones most likely to be referenced as having "standard accents" or "no accents". But who is to say that countries that have millions of native English speakers, such as India and the Philippines, have "non-standard" or "accented" English? It's a tricky and sometimes controversial question.

The funny part Is,all these places you named,the people don't sound alike. They all have variations in their accents. In the US,you have people with different accents so I'm just here wondering exactly what the "standard " English accent is.

Like you said,Its controversial and i couldn't agree more.

Kevwe A.

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#4
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Posts346Likes 181Joined 11/7/2018LocationManila / PH
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Oghenekevwe wrote:
I've heard a lot of people say "I need someone who speaks English with little or no accent". I'd like to know what the deciding factor is. Which is the standard English with no accent?
Who decides how English should sound like generally?


I've heard a lot of people say "I need someone who speaks English with little or no accent". I'd like to know what the deciding factor is.

I worked as a trainer and a recruiter for call centers and when we look for people with "little to no accent", we're referring to regional/local accent. Having an American (or even British) accent is almost never required. What we need though is someone who can speak in a very understandable mannaer and will not draw attention to the fact that they're not "local" so we can avoid unnecessary complaints about immigrants or outsourcing stealing jobs from Americans. We even train them to make sure they sound "neutral".


Which is the standard English with no accent?

When recruiting, our goal really is understandability. That and not having any noticeable regional accent. If their accent is obviously non-native, we recommend that they be trained first if that's an option. Or just not hire them. And again, it's not because their accent is wrong. It's so that the customer can understand them with little to no effort and that the conversation can focus on the customer's concern and not where the agent is from.


Who decides how English should sound like generally?

For BPO recruitment, what's "right" is based on which region they'll be supporting. People assigned to support US campaigns will have a different standard AND accent training from people who'll be supporting Australian or British campaigns.


What we stress from recruitment to training is that there is no right or wrong accent. As service providers though, it's our job to make sure that the people we're speaking with are comfortable. Part of making them feel comfortable is making it easy for them to understand us. That and avoiding any discomfort by drawing attention to the fact that we're not local. That's why we have different accent courses depending on the region they'll be supporting.

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ikay

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#5
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Thank you for explaining Ikaymoreno.


"It's so that the customer can understand them with little to no effort and that the conversation can focus on the customer's concern and not where the agent is from."


What if the Agent speaks clearly and is easily understood but doesn't have the American or British accent. Will the person still need this training to sound "proper"?



Kevwe A.

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#6
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I mean technically we all have accents :D


British people that speak British English will be seen by Americans as people that have accent.


American people that speak American English will be seen by British as people that have accent

:D 

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#7
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Oghenekevwe wrote:
Thank you for explaining Ikaymoreno.
"It's so that the customer can understand them with little to no effort and that the conversation can focus on the customer's concern and not where the agent is from."
What if the Agent speaks clearly and is easily understood but doesn't have the American or British accent. Will the person still need this training to sound "proper"?


Going through soft skills training (accent, basic customer service telephone etiquette) is standard for most centers. So regardless of whether they sound neutral or speak with a mild regional accent, they would most likely still go through training.


Having a "native" accent is almost never required. I worked in the BPO for more than 10 years and I've only encountered one account that required agents to "speak like Texans". We had to hire an external trainer for that. Lol.


I worked as a trainer and I don't sound American or British. In fact, I still have "markers" of Filipino English. Customers dont have difficulty understanding me though and I almost never get asked where I'm from. so... :P


Here's a sample recording I made for one of the centers I worked for. :)

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ikay

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#8
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Thank you so much for clearing that up for me.

Kevwe A.

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#9
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No problem. :)

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ikay

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#10