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Saturday, July 16, 2011

On-line pronunciation services

Two individuals, a former student and an on-line TOEFL instructor recently asked me to promote on-line pronunciation training services. I won't do it.

Voice recognition software is not good enough to be an effective language training tool.

I have written more than 20 books and most of my curriculum using the best voice recognition software available, Dragon NaturallySpeaking. It's saved me a lot of time, but it is still only about 95% accurate, meaning that it makes mistakes recognizing the words which I say about 5% of the time, and I'm a NATIVE SPEAKER.

The accuracy rate for non-native speakers is going to be FAR LOWER than 95%! So use it at your own risk. I think there is a risk that you'll get inaccurate feedback and advice.

If you need to improve your pronunciation, and most Japanese do, a qualified and experienced accent reduction coach (or better, a licensed speech therapist) is the best option. If you have severe pronunciation problems, I think that's the only effective option.

 Please use English well.