IBM speaks English

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IBM speaks English

Call centre tool helps build language skills.

Researchers at IBM's India Research Laboratory have developed a web-based, interactive language technology to help people who speak English as a second language to improve their verbal skills.

Based on advanced speech processing techniques, the technology was initially developed for a leading call centre in India to help improve the capabilities of their agents.

The technology also has broad applicability in schools and businesses where global operations will increasingly depend on clear communications skills among employees.

The technology evaluates grammar, pronunciation, comprehension and other spoken-language skills, and provides detailed scores for each category. It uses specially adapted speech recognition software to score the pronunciation of passages and the stressing of syllables for individual words.

The technology also has voice-enabled grammar evaluation tests. These identify areas for improvement by highlighting shortcomings and providing examples of correct pronunciation and grammar.

"Globalisation is a significant driver, and I hope this technology can help develop the language skills that are absolutely necessary for an individual, company, region and country to compete in a global labour market," said Dr Ashish Verma, a researcher at IBM's India Lab, who is working on the project.

Earlier this month, IBM provided bidirectional translation systems to US ground troops in Iraq.
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