Pronouncing names of students and alumni - For Universities | E-Speech

Expert Name Pronunciation
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How does NameSayer work?

NameSayer automatically generates a "best guess" pronunciation for any name. And for names with more than one pronunciation, it generates alternate pronunciations. For example, a name like "Weinstein" is most commonly pronounced as "WINE-stine", so that's NameSayer's "best guess" pronunciation. However, it can also be pronounced as "WINE-steen", so that's an alternate pronunciation.

  • Students log in to NameSayer, and then see and hear all NameSayer pronunciations for their name and choose which pronunciation they use.

  • Commencement announcers log in to NameSayer's "reader" page, where they see and hear the pronunciations for all your students, so they can practice with the names. Commencement announcers love having both expert phonetic spelling and audio.

  • Your commencement administrator can download the phonetic spellings to Excel and print them on your Walking cards for graduation.

Does NameSayer really give phonetic spelling and audio for every student?

Yes! NameSayer gives expert phonetic spelling and highly intelligible audio for every student. That's because they are automatically generated by very sophisticated, proprietary software.

Your commencement reader won't struggle with student-provided phonetic spelling and won't need to write notes on pronunciation

How is that possible? At E-Speech, we are experts in pronouncing names, because we have spent years researching name pronunciation. And we have dual expertise: we are linguists with strong computer science backgrounds, so we've developed sophisticated name pronunciation software. NameSayer software is the best in the world and, in fact, it is the "engine" for many large, commercial voice recognition systems. It is also used in some call centers to help agents who need to contact people by phone.

Does a commencement announcer really need both phonetic spelling and audio?

It is much faster for a person to see a list of names plus phonetic spellings than for to have to click a link for each name to hear audio. However, sometimes phonetic spellings can be difficult or unclear, so being able to listen to audio can help.

How accurate are NameSayer's pronunciations?

Very! About 90% of students who use NameSayer say that one of NameSayer's pronunciations is right for their name.

More than 2/3 say that the "best guess" is right; another 20% say that one of NameSayer's alternate pronunciations is right.

How do I know that NameSayer pronunciation is right for a particular student?

Since more than 2/3 of students say that NameSayer's "best guess" is right for them, this means that for students who don't log in, there is a high probability that NameSayer's "best guess" is right.

What if NameSayer's pronunciations are wrong?

First of all, only about 10% of students say that none of NameSayer's pronunciations is right. In that case, the student can record their name or else type a description.

E-Speech staff will transcribe the recordings or description so that your commencement reader will get expert phonetic spelling and audio even for names that NameSayer got wrong.

And if a student's recordings or descriptions is unclear, E-Speech will contact the student to clarify their intended pronunciation

How good is NameSayer's phonetic spelling?

It is expert phonetic spelling. We have developed proprietary algorithms for representing phonetics in "newspaper phonetics," which is easy for people to read.

Again, we are linguists and computer scientists. We believe that our phonetic spelling is far superior to phonetic spelling provided by students, who often have poor understanding of how to write phonetic spelling.

And if your announcer likes another phonetic alphabet like the International Phonetic Alphabet or like the ones commonly used in dictionaries, NameSayer can display the pronunciations in that alphabet, too.

How good is NameSayer's text-to-speech audio?

NameSayer's audio is produced by an American English text-to-speech system that has very high intelligiblity.

NameSayer's text-to-speech is often easier to understand than a recording made by a student who speaks their name in a foreign language, or who has a heavy foreign accent, or who has recorded their name in a noisy acoustic environment.

Wouldn't it be better to have students' recordings?

You might think so, but it's not necessarily true.

First of all, many students won't record their names at all. That's because many college-age students have an aversion to voice-based communication. Furthermore, foreign students are sometimes "shy" about recording their names. Students find it easier just to pick the right pronunciation for their name.

Second, student recordings are often hard to understand - either because the student has a heavy foreign accent, speaks in a foreign language, or records in poor or noisy acoustic conditions.

What's it like to work with E-Speech?

We work closely with you to give you exactly what you and your commencement readers need ... and we try hard to make it easy for you.

We're happy to put you in touch with universities who have used our services.

Can we use NameSayer pronunciations for uses other than commencement?

Yes. We offer the ability to download NameSayer's mp3 files and phonetic spelling, so that you can incorporate them into your school's database and student records for other uses where accurate name pronunciation is important --- such as fundraising or classroom rosters.

Does NameSayer have an API?

Yes. You call our API with a name as input, and we return our best guess pronunciation as phonetic spelling and an audio file.