Job Search Tips
Call Center Applicants How-to's: Improving your English speech
June 23, 2015
The Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry in the Philippines is very accepting when it comes to hiring call center personnel. Compared to other fields, most call centers are open to employing anyone regardless of age, sex, and educational attainment as long as you have the basic skill required for the work: speaking English. Make no mistake, it’s not the only skill needed but without it, you might as well consider another job. Another option is, not to give up and actually make an effort to improve your spoken English. We asked a Training Specialist from a BPO admissions training company, April Ibay, to help identify the most common problems of call center applicants. What’s more, Ibay offers self-help tips to address these issues, backed up by her several years of experience in English as a Second Language (ESL) as a module developer for an ESL company, online teacher to Japanese students and English instructor in Thailand. So whether you are a newbie hoping to make it in the BPO world or a call center veteran in need of a tune-up, help yourself below! English-speaking problems When it comes to language, Ibay explains that the most prevalent issues with call center applicants mostly involve lapses in pronunciation and diction, which can be hard to unlearn, especially for speakers with a regional accent. Another problem area is grammar, especially subject-verb agreement and verb tenses. On top of these, applicants who have failed their interviews before, and those who are applying to call centers for the first time, also struggle with confidence issues and are intimidated by the interview process. (Read: Call Center Applicants How-to's: Improving your Attitude) For this article, our primary focus is the speech problems of call center applicants. Consonants According to Ibay, Filipinos are prone to interchanging the following sounds:
- P/F - examples given, ‘Philippines’ gets pronounced as 'Pilipins'; 'Photographer' becomes 'Potograper', 'of' becomes 'op'
- Th (voiced)/D - e.g,- 'Mother' becomes 'Moder'; 'Together' becomes 'Togeder'
- Th (soft/unvoiced)/ T - e.g., 'something' becomes 'someting';'bath' becomes 'bat'; 'three' becomes 'tree'
- B/V - e.g.- 'believe' becomes 'belib'; 'very' becomes 'beri'
- short u/ short a sounds - e.g.- 'cut' becomes 'cat', 'hut' becomes 'hat'
- short i/ long e sounds - e.g., 'bin' becomes 'been'.
- short e ('eh') becomes short i ('ih') - e.g., 'industry' becomes 'endustree' (especially common for those with regional accents)
- short o/ long o - e.g.- 'model' becomes 'mow-del'
- short e (‘eh’) becomes long a (‘ey’) – ‘special’ becomes 'ispeyshal'
- schwa - the vowel sound in many lightly pronounced unaccented syllables in words of more than one syllable. It is sometimes signified by the pronunciation "uh" or symbolized by an upside-down rotated e. A schwa sound can be represented by any vowel".) e.g., the last syllable in the word 'sugar' gets enunciated; so instead of saying 'shu-guhr'; it becomes 'shu-gAr' ; 'available' becomes 'aveylabol'
- Rachel's English
- BBC Learning English
- English Club: On linking consonant to vowel, and vowel to vowel
- Daily Pronunciation Practice