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Phonologics Commercializes NIH-funded Revolutionary Speech Tool

Phonologics, Inc., headquartered here, has announced that it has developed a revolutionary computerized tool to quickly, economically and objectively measure how well a non-native speaker of English can be understood in real conversation by a native speaker of American English. Phonologics’ Automated Pronunciation Screening Test (APST) is the product of a multi-year, multi-million dollar effort originally funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“APST is unique in that it measures whether or not a person can be understood,” according to Linda Ferrier-Reid, Ph.D., who along with Joel MacAuslan, Ph.D., developed the cloud based system. “APST measures pronunciation, which is the key to communicating person to person, whether a doctor to a patient, a call center representative to a customer, an International Teaching Assistant (ITA) to a university classroom or a pilot to a control tower,” according to Dr. Ferrier-Reid. Dr. Ferrier-Reid is professor emeritus in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology at Northeastern University, Boston, where she was chair from 2000 to 2007, and is now Phonologics Chief Linguistic Officer.

“English is the language of business, science, politics, and education, which is why literally hundreds of millions of people throughout the world are learning to speak it,” says Dr. MacAuslan, the company’s Chief Technology Officer and chief scientist of Speech Technology and Applied Research (STAR), located in Bedford. His work in mathematical analysis, algorithm development and speech acoustics underlie APST’s speech analysis techniques.

“Many of us have had the frustrating experience of contacting a global call center, for example, and finding we could hardly understand what the representative was saying. And the biggest complaint college administrators hear from students is, they can’t understand their ITA, who increasingly hail from China, India and Eastern Europe.”

“Mission critical staff simply must communicate clearly or risk hurting an organization’s reputation, even their business,” Dr. Ferrier-Reid emphasizes. “APST is an economical tool that can help in many ways. It can be used in the hiring process to screen candidates. It can also help people learning English worldwide to pinpoint weaknesses and ensure they focus their efforts where it will do the most good.”

For further information, contact Dr. Rita MacAuslan at (866) 607-9996. Phonologics’ website is www.phonologics.com

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