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Get Compensation for having an accent

They teach you how to roll your r?s and soften your d?s. How to bite your lower lip when you say ?victor? and how to move your jaw back when you say ?whisky?. If you fancy a job at a BPO then how you speak is of prime importance.

india Updated: Jan 31, 2006 11:52 IST

They teach you how to roll your r’s and soften your d’s. How to bite your lower lip when you say ‘victor’ and how to move your jaw back when you say ‘whisky’. If you fancy a job at a BPO then how you speak is of prime importance.

Your voice and accent should fit smugly into the accent of the country you are serving. To train you in the accent of the country is the job of voice and accent trainers a new breed of professionals who have come up as a direct result of the ever-increasing call centres.

The voice and accent trainers make sure that a caller calling from across the seven seas does not have any trouble whatsoever in understanding the Indian executive who takes his or her calls.

“The idea is to make the caller feel that the person on the other line is just a few blocks down from his office, not thousands of miles across the world’’, says Nitin, a voice and accent trainer working with a BPO. But a communication trainer’s role extends beyond twirling the tongue and biting the lower lip while talking with a clipped British accent.

Instead, trainers are expected to know what voice modulation is all about, its range, the timbre, the tonal quality and the resonance. “The kind of accent that is required American or British depends on the kind of business a company is handling. But as far as the trainer is concerned, he must know the distinction between the two. After all, we are talking of specialists,” says Hena Alam of Keane Worldzen. Says Roma Chadha, who has done her Masters in Communication Management from the USA and worked as consulting trainer with several call centers in India, “To become a voice trainer, one must have an excellent command over English, a sensitive ear tuned to nuances of accent and an ability to communicate with large groups.”

Voice modulation being an integral part of the call centre business, the demand for communication trainers is on the rise. And since it is a nascent industry, “the right kind of people” are in short supply. “A voice trainers job entails, among other things, neutralising of regional accents and moderating the rate of speech,” says Roma, who has also authored books on the topic.

Freshers are not preferred as voice trainers by most BPO’s for the simple reason that one is required to handle and train teams. A communication trainer with three years of experience joins at the middle level in most cases. Then, he graduates to become a training manager, where the role expands to organising schedules, training programmes etc.

At the senior level, the trainer finds himself increasingly involved in managerial tasks. The role diversifies as one moves up the corporate ladder. Since a Voice Trainer is deemed to be a specialist, he is better placed professionally than greenhorns in a call centre. The start is anything between Rs 12,000 and Rs 20,000 every month plus other emoluments.


People from language training institutes in call centers can also be hired as Voice Trainers. Interestingly, some leading call centres even appoint former flight stewards as communication specialists. So, all you require is the ability to communicate and a modicum of specialisation to be in this interesting line. Who says, it does not pay to have an accent?

SMART BOX
Say it in style
The following institutes offer accent and voice training:
• Accentual USA Inc, Gurgaon, New Delhi
• Hero Mindmine, New Delhi
• The Academia Insitute,
Bangalore
• Relationship Management Services Pvt Ltd, Mumbai
• InfoWav Technologies,
Dwarka, New Delhi

First Published: Jan 31, 2006 11:35 IST