01 March 2019
Accent Hero is a free online technology-driven pronunciation-improvement service built around the hypothesis that for most people detailed analysis of sounds is hard because we are trained to analyze visual information. To address that, Accent Hero makes pronunciation differences visual, thus, making it easy to become aware of the necessary improvements.
Today, on March 1st, 2019, we announce a fully-reworked version of the service with numerous improvements:
Sound analysis is a hard task especially on the sub-word level. To prepare for this version, we've analysed numerous scientific papers and open-source projects to incorporate the latest advances in speech recognition, switching to two new deep-learning models for phoneme quality evaluation and pitch detection. The new algorithms provide a much better accuracy (40%+ reduction in the model's predictive error) while still allowing for real-time analysis.
We've fully rethought our training mechanics to make them more flexible. Instead of four fixed weekly blocks of 50 words, we’ve created three independent mechanics for next-word selection:
Previously, Accent Hero supported only 200 words. Now, we support all of those, and, in addition to that, we added 1000 most-frequently-used words in Wikipedia. To do that, we downloaded and parsed all English Wikipedia pages, giving us a nice toolkit for intelligently increasing the number of the words.
We wanted to give users a way to better understand the assessments of their pronunciation quality. Now, you can click on a phoneme bar and listen to the sound samples for the specific phoneme for both the user and the native speaker. If needed you can even correct the technological assessments.
Given the drastic changes the devices that people use to browse the web these days, we’ve rebuilt our user interfaces from scratch to work well on all types of devices: desktop computers, tablets, and smartphones. This makes Accent Hero ready to be used on-the-go and accessible for people in emerging economies who can’t afford to purchase neither a laptop nor a desktop computer.
From a user research, we’ve found that a confirmation from friends that they can pass Accent Hero’s assessments is a great way to increase student motivation, and, thus, achieve better results.
So, we’ve integrated with Facebook, so it’s now easy to share problematic words on Facebook and ask your friends for help or challenge them if they can match the native speaker.
Going through numerous rounds of user research, we've made our user interfaces simpler and more visually pleasing:
We invite you to try out the new Accent Hero and share it with your friends!