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World and Press November 2 2022

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16 World and Press | November 2 2022 | Photo: Getty Images Software makes call centres sound American LANGUAGE The developers of the software say that it could help to reduce racist abuse, but critics have accused the company of whitewashing. By Keiran Southern 1 THE DAYS OFstruggling to understand a call centre operator’s accent on the other side of the world could soon be over, a Silicon Valley start-up suggests. Sanas, based in the San Francisco Bay area, has developed software that can change an accent, improving communication on both sides of the phone. 2 A demonstration on the company’s website features an Indian accent switched at the touch of a button to sound like an American, albeit one with a slightly robotic edge. The designers have been accused of racism and “whitewashing”, however, for promoting a generic Western accent. 3 Sharath Keshava Narayana, a Sanas co-founder who worked in an Indian call centre, dismissed the criticism. “Should the world be a better place for accepting people?” he asked. “Yes. We built this for call centre agents because imagine if you were waiting tables, and every second person you served abused you. For me and for my team, this is about 15 million call centre agents. If we can make them smile at the end of the day, not having to go through this abuse, we’ll take that win.” 4 Sanas was started by Maxim Serebryakov, Shawn Zhang, and Andres Perez Soderi, Stanford University graduates. Narayana joined as a founder in May. The software was inspired by a Stanford student who had a temporary job offering technical support over the phone in his native Nicaragua. He was racially abused and called stupid for his accent by English-speaking customers. Narayana said the majority of staff at Sanas were immigrants. 5 The software is already being used in India and the Philippines. The company said feedback from workers was overwhelmingly positive. 6 Don Heider, chief executive of an ethics centre at Santa Clara University, California, accused the developers of excusing racism. “It assumes that American Midwestern English is the standard for the world,” he said. “When you operate on that assumption, you whitewash a huge part of the world.” © The Times, London/News Licensing This article originally appeared in The Times, London. Die nächste Ausgabe erscheint am 3. Dezember 2022. Kein Plan nach dem Abi? 26. November Düsseldorf Kostenlos registrieren: references EINTRITT FREI 0 – 3 RACIST ABUSE rassistische Beleidigungen; s.w.u. to racially abuse — whitewashing Vorgehen, bei dem nicht weiße Menschen ausgeschlossen und durch weiße ersetzt werden — albeit “O…l"bi…It‘ wenngleich — edge h.: Klang — generic “dZ´"nerIk‘ typisch — co-founder Mitgründer(in) — to dismiss criticism Kritik abweisen — to wait tables kellnern 4 – 6 native Heimatland — overwhelmingly mit großer Mehrheit — chief executive “Æ-Ig"zekj´tIv‘ Leiter(in) — ethics centre “"eTIks‘ h.: Zentrum für Angewandte Ethik — to excuse etw. entschuldigen — to operate on an assumption “´"sømpS´n‘ von etw. ausgehen solution Page 15 | Across 2 BRAINPOWER • 4 BOISTEROUS • 5 BOOST • 7 ASSASSIN • 9 WINCE • 11 CONJURE • 12 EMPHASISE • 13 VOID • 14 COMICAL • 16 OCTOGENARIAN • 17 DEFTLY • 18 RESIDUE • 19 CHEERILY Down 1 LONESOME • 3 ADOLESCENCE • 4 BARFLY • 6 SNAPPY • 8 PERIODICALLY • 10 AUSPICIOUS • 15 DETECT Englisch für die Kleinsten My first English book Animals ¤ 9,90 [D] ISBN 978-3-7961-1070-2 (1) Rishi Sunak to be … Los Angeles Times; 24.10.2022 (2) ‘Jurassic Park’ may ... The Guardian; 19.08.2022 (3) Hollywood production in ... Los Angeles Times; 23.08.2022 (4) Paddling makes a … The New York Times; 27.08.2022 Nebraska man squashes … The Washington Post; 31.08.2022 (5) Trump is getting his … Bloomberg News; 10.09.2022 (6) Some Brits are abandoning … The Washington Post; 01.09.2022 Don’t be ‘squeamish’ about ... The Washington Post; 29.08.2022 (7) Queen’s death leaves U.K. … The New York Times; 10.09.2022 (8) Irish farmers say … The Guardian; 29.08.2022 Swedish island holds … The Washington Post; 26.08.2022 (9) Devastated by floods, … The New York Times; 11.09.2022 (10) US tech barons … The Times; 19.08.2022 A Banksy on the wall … The Times; 03.09.2022 (11) Britain’s pubs are … The New York Times; 03.09.2022 (12) World’s loneliest … The Times; 06.09.2022 (13) Hindu nationalism in … Los Angeles Times; 07.09.2022 (14) Learning an … The Times; 29.08.2022 Google to stop giving … The Guardian; 11.08.2022 (15) ‘Homesickness’ by … Star Tribune; 11.05.2022 (16) Software makes … The Times; 27.08.2022

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