Before I came to the US from my home country, I was confident that my English skills were top notch. After all, I could read everything, write proficiently, and understand popular TV shows and movies without any problem. But then I arrived and I was in for a rude awakening. I was constantly being asked to repeat myself and I was also having trouble understanding people when I was running errands, at a restaurant, or meeting new people - they didn’t sound anything like the characters on TV! It was so embarrassing, and the confidence I had when I arrived was completely gone in just a few days.
After a few months in the US, my comprehension was improving, but my accent was still really thick. I was having dinner with a new friend who had immigrated to the US a few years ago. I was telling her that I was feeling frustrated with my communication abilities and the fact that native English speakers were having trouble understanding me. I knew that it was having an impact, not only on getting settled in a new country but also on my career growth. Did you know that it can take just 30 milliseconds of speech (enough time to say “hello”) for a listener to identify a person’s ethnic or cultural background as being different from their own, and make snap judgments about them? Or that studies have also shown that having an accent can mean fewer opportunities for the accent holder, including an up to 16% reduced likelihood of getting hired for a job?
When I shared those stats with my friend, she said, “I think I know what you need,” and she started telling me about BoldVoice, a mobile application that helps non-native English speakers improve their accent, pronunciation, and overall fluency in English. “You should have heard me before I started using BoldVoice,” she said. “No one could understand me. It was so frustrating.” I was shocked - my friend’s accent was barely detectable, and she was super successful. I had just assumed that she went to an American school or spent a lot of time in the US when she was younger. To know that she used to struggle with her accent and now sounded almost like a native definitely made me interested in BoldVoice.
After our dinner, I went straight home to look into it further. I learned that the app offers videos from Hollywood accent coaches, practice materials, and immediate feedback to help users improve their speech in real-time. The reviews (including a few really impressive video testimonials) were great, as was the coverage in Forbes and TechCrunch. BoldVoice offers a 7-day free trial, so I decided to try it out to see if it was as good as it sounded.
From the start, I found the app really engaging and easy to use. The videos from the voice coaches are so clear and provide really helpful tips on pronouncing specific sounds that non-native speakers struggle with. The app uses AI technology to provide feedback on pronunciation and clarity, and it gives you a detailed evaluation of strengths and areas for improvement. You get a list of the words you need to practice most (does anyone else struggle with “chocolate”?) and the study priorities for the sounds that you should be focusing on.
After the 7 day trial, I was hooked and definitely wanted to continue. Working with a coach 1-on-1 would cost up to $600 per month. But BoldVoice is only $90 for an entire year! How could I say no? After just a month of using the app, I’m feeling so much more confident with my speaking, especially on phone calls and in business meetings. My colleagues have taken notice as well, encouraging me to take a more leading role in presentations and client-facing work. I definitely still have more work to do, but my confidence is coming back quickly thanks to BoldVoice and I’m feeling excited about what’s to come on my pronunciation journey!