Accent Reduction FAQs
Q: How long does it take to change my accent?
A: Most students begin to see improvement in the very first session. For most students this is the first time they have ever been able to recognize what their problems are and take a structured approach in fixing the problems. By identifying the major problem areas and working on the most significant problems first, improvement is made. It won’t take many sessions with doing your homework, when others will start to say, “Your English has really improved!” and the number of times you hear, “Please say that again!” will decrease.
Q: For classes over the phone – Can I change my accent if I cannot see the trainer’s mouth?
A: Yes. Seeing the mouth and tongue position is a minor part of learning to say a sound properly. The lesson materials contain pictures when needed to help you place your lips and tongue.
Q: Are the teachers speech pathologists?
A: No. Accent reduction is all about changing speech habits. There are certain techniques that are used to accomplish this change. Our Accent Reduction Trainers are English trainers who are trained in these special techniques. Once they are trained, they have earned the position of ALTA-Certified Accent Reduction Trainer.
Q: How does the live online training through WebEx work?
A: About 15 minutes prior to your class, you will receive an automated email providing you with login details. Simply click the link in your email invitation to join your instructor online at the scheduled time. During this process, you will get visual prompts to join the VoIP or the phone conference. Taking a live online lesson is exactly like working in a classroom. You will be able to see your instructor and interact with her/him, sharing documents, Power Point presentations, audio and video files, as well as internet content. With our live online instruction you can fully or partially record any of your WebEx sessions for reference, review, and reuse. To watch your WebEx recordings, you just need to download the free WebEx player on your computer. [Please note that this feature is not yet available if you attend your sessions from an Apple device.]
Q: What is the price of ALTA’s Accent Reduction Programs?
A: Most of the prices of our programs are in the sections dedicated to each program. Here is an overview:
- Accent Reduction Assessment for corporate clients and for individual clients: $99.00
- Self-Guided Study for corporate clients and for individual clients: $199.00
- Private Instruction for corporate and individual clients: $899.00
After first enrollment, renewals or enrollments in one of the other programs within two months of the last day of the previous program will be discounted 15%! Due to the customizable nature of our programs Group Accent Reduction and Train the Trainer, a free quote on these services will be provided after a needs assessment: click the red Contact box at the top of this page to reach a Sales Representative via email.
Q: What if I stop before I finish all of my sessions with the Trainer?
A: You can stop at any time. If you decide to stop for any reason, just tell us and, if it is within one year of your starting, we will return to you the money for the sessions that you have not taken (only applicable to programs with trainers). For example, Juan decides to return to Mexico and feels he does not need to improve his English further. He has completed three of his ten sessions. Juan contacts us and we credit his credit card account for the money equivalent to seven sessions.
Q: Can I pay for my sessions online or send a check or money order?
A: Yes, we offer all means of payment. All prices are in U.S. dollars. Our online payment is through a secured payment system. Your credit card information is safe. If you prefer to pay using a check or money order, that is okay too.
Q: Why are ALTA’s programs based on my first language?
A: Many of the pronunciation problems that you have are caused by you using a sound that is not in your native language. The problem sounds that you have are similar to the problem sounds that other ESL students have from your native language. Native English speakers confirm this when they say that you have, for example, a Russian or Chinese accent. The ALTA Accent Reduction Programs are based on research that identified the specific sounds that each language group (e.g. French, Mandarin, Spanish, Japanese, etc.) has when speaking English. For example, 70% of native Spanish speakers have trouble properly pronouncing the “st” sound in stick, while native Mandarin Chinese speakers have no trouble at all with the “s” sound. In another example, the final “l” sound in feel is omitted by 67% of the Mandarin speakers and 17% of the Spanish speakers. Your native language tells us the typical problems that you MAY have. The assessment that you take at the beginning of the program tells us the specific problems that you DO have.
Q: I have not had success with using tapes or CDs in changing my accent. Why is this program better?
A: All the ALTA Program first defines your problems based on your first language, then teaches you to say the sound properly, if it is the case, with the help of an Accent Reduction Trainer. If you enroll in one of our Self-Guided Studies, you have a wide range of online resources you can count on. Unfortunately, most tape and CD accent reduction programs are not first-language specific and do not help you focus on your specific problems. Under these circumstances, you waste a lot of time working on sounds that are not a problem for you.
Q: How do I schedule my initial assessment?
A: You do not have to schedule your initial assessment. After you register online or by fax or mail, we send to you by email the reading as an Adobe Acrobat file (Acrobat Reader is available free at www.adobe.com.). We also provide a telephone number that you call to complete your reading. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We record your reading and within two to three business days we will have your assessment results sent to you by email.
Q: How do I schedule my sessions with the Accent Reduction Specialist?
A: As soon as we will receive the results of your initial Assessment, we will contact you via email with all the steps you need to take to schedule your classes. You can schedule your classes by telephone (404.920.3816), fax (404.920.3801) or email (training [at] altalang.com). Tell us who you are, the date and time you want to take your session and your time zone. Your time zone is very important because we schedule over many different time zones and do not want to miss your session because of a time misunderstanding. We will then confirm your session via email. Many students set up a fixed schedule, for example, every Thursday at 7:00 pm EST, others schedule their classes by appointment.
Q: Can I cancel my session or reschedule?
A: Yes. If you tell us by 4:00 pm (Eastern Time U.S.) on the business day before your session, you can cancel or reschedule without charge. After that time we do not have enough time to inform the Accent Reduction Trainer and will have to charge you for the session.
The Accent Reduction Trainers
Q: Who are the Accent Reduction Trainers?
A: ALTA has a well-defined process for certifying trainers.
- Candidate trainers must first demonstrate that they are experienced in teaching English as a Second Language (ESL).
- Next the candidate trainers must take an accent test to demonstrate that they have the Standard American Accent.
- Candidates who pass the accent test receive training in how to teach Accent Reduction using ALTA’s methods and materials. Included in this is demonstrating understanding of how to teach pronunciation, intonation and word stress.
- Finally, the candidate trainers must pass ALTA’s live training exercises in which the trainers demonstrate that they can actually teach the lessons.
Once a candidate completes all four steps, he/she is recognized as an ALTA-Certified Accent Reduction Trainer. Certification is valid for three years.