Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question about how accent reduction training works? Are you an HR professional and want to know more about our onboarding package? Are you an entrepreneur pitching your product? Here are the FAQs our clients ask most often. Feel free to contact us for more information and to schedule a professional accent evaluation.

About Accent Reduction

What’s wrong with having an accent?

Nothing! Accents contribute to our global diversity. However, people with accents often express feeling held back professionally and/or socially.

Your accent may make it hard for others to understand you, especially on a videoconference or phone call, or in fast-paced situations. In today’s highly competitive job market, clear communication is an asset high on every employer’s priority list.

What happens when I reduce my accent? Will I lose my native way of speaking?

Your native accent will always be a part of who you are. You can switch back into your original accent whenever you want—but eliminating the “hard edges” of your non-native accent will make for a much smoother cultural and professional transition.

Developing a new accent is a key communication tool for living in the United States, but it does not mean your cultural identity is lost. However, you should be comfortable with the idea of speaking with an American English accent before starting accent reduction training.

What is Standard American English?

Standard American English (SAE) is not native to any U.S. region. SAE is considered the most neutral, least distracting way of speaking American English.

Fluent and gentle, SAE highlights resonant, open vowels, and intonation that rises and falls smoothly. English is a stress-timed language that alternates constantly between stressed and unstressed words. Actors, radio broadcasters, and public speakers use SAE because it’s clear and easy on the ears.

Is accent reduction covered by health insurance?

Health insurance does not cover accent reduction classes. However, it often covers speech or voice therapy if you have a speech, language, or voice disorder. Many of our team members are licensed speech-language pathologists and can help guide you in the right direction.

Will my company cover the cost of speech or voice training?

Some employers will cover our services as part of their personal development or continuing education programs. Ask your employer or HR specialist, and let us know how we can help.

Can’t I just use YouTube or books to learn American English on my own?

You can learn a few good things from videos and books.  However, to experience meaningful change, most people need consistent feedback. A professional instructor specializing in accent reduction is the best person to determine if you are hearing and producing sounds correctly. Many of our students have tried learning on their own but decided to go for private instruction once they realized they weren’t getting feedback or proper direction.

Why should I choose AccentsOff Speech and Voice Improvement services?

We have been devoting ourselves to the focused specialization of accent work since opening our NYC doors in 2011. Our instructors, a team of six licensed speech-language pathologists and/or Accent-Communication Specialists, are all U.S. natives and have extensive experience in accent reduction, English language enhancement, and presentation training.

Each of our instructors is a Masters-level graduate and has completed an intensive and ongoing AccentsOff training program.  Each holds a unique and complementary background in the arts (music, acting, writing, etc.). We have ten years of experience working with clients from a broad range of business sectors and professional industries.

In addition to highly personalized instruction, you will receive lifetime access to our unique library of hundreds of home practice texts and audio files.

Finally, our reviews and before-and-after recordings speak for themselves!

How do our sessions work?

How long will it take for me to see results? How many sessions will I need, and how often?

That will depend on your goals, frequency, and how developed your accent is. Most people take sessions once or twice a week, and start noticing changes during the very first class.

Developing a new way of speaking is a cumulative process. If you think about how long you’ve been speaking with accented English, then you can appreciate the time and effort of learning a new accent. Some clients have graduated from our program with extraordinary results in less than 20 sessions.

What is your approach to accent reduction and American accent improvement?

The instructors at AccentsOff use a unique approach that teaches you how to speak clearly by listening in a careful, natural, and relaxed manner. Our methodology includes ear training in combination with articulatory placement and oral posture adjustment. Our goal is to give you the resources and support you need to see the change immediately and keep the progress going during home practice. We encourage you to take risks and experiment. Our goal is to help you learn the American English accent at a comfortable pace, with long-lasting benefits.

Where and when are sessions available?

We are based in NYC and most of our sessions are conducted on Zoom.  Interested in in-person sessions in New York City? Please let us know! We offer flexible scheduling 7 days a week, including weekday evenings and weekends.

Are your classes private or group?

We offer private and semi-private instruction. Sign up on your own, or meet us with a friend or colleague. (For HR departments interested in group classes at your location in the NYC area, please call our director Rochel deOliveira at 212-729-1304).

How much does the program cost?

We begin with a free evaluation to determine how long we feel it will take for you to achieve your goals. Most clients work with us for several months. See our Fees page for more information.

For Employers and Human Resources

How do I know if my staff member could use accent training?

You’d be surprised how many foreign-born professionals feel insecure about having an accent! And if your employee is difficult to understand or is shy about communicating, that is a sure sign that an accent reduction program would be helpful. If you have hired foreign-born staff members, consider speech and accent training as part of your onboarding package. These skills help employees get comfortable in the workplace, speak more persuasively and effectively, and get up to speed as quickly as possible.

We emphasize daily practice and provide lifetime access to our unique library of home practice materials. We can also help with upcoming presentations and written communication.

How do we set up training for an employee?

The first step is to meet you or your employee for a Zoom Discovery Call.  The call takes about 15-30 minutes and is free of charge. During this initial meeting, we will find out more about your needs and discuss in detail how our accent reduction and speech improvement programs work.

After that, we will set up a complimentary, 1:1 speech evaluation, where we map out and analyze the accent or speech pattern. This helps us design each individual student’s personalized curriculum. Finally, we will present you with a written proposal. Once payment is received, your employee and the instructor will set up a weekly class schedule.

Interested in group classes at your NYC area work location? Let’s start a conversation about that. Please call our director Rochel deOliveira at 212-729-1304

Have a question you don’t see in the FAQs? Read more about how our program works, or simply contact us here.

Have more questions about accent reduction training?

We understand how critical it is to stay a step ahead of the competition and take control where we can. Learning how to become a crystal-clear, engaging speaker is one of the most important life investments you can make. Find out more about improving your American accent by scheduling a Discovery Call and complimentary Speech Evaluation.