#205: Accentuate the positive

In certain places, having the ‘wrong’ accent can be a major handicap. Try being from Belfast during the 1970s.

Today’s invention is a system designed to remove the possible impediment of a regional accent and force people to listen to what you have to say,


The user of the system would speak into a mouthpiece so that their natural accent was inaudible. An internal microphone would then pass the user’s speech to a program trained previously to covert the individual’s voice to text. This text would then be ‘spoken’ by an inverse program in some different accent. Since certain accents are known to carry different connotations, it might even be useful to switch to using an output vocabulary recorded by eg a woman from Edinburgh if one wanted to sound trustworthy (or a Cantabrigian if one wanted to sound arrogant authoritative).

This avoids all the difficulties associated with translating from one language to another: simply a word for word conversion would be required. As long as the word rate was not too fast, this could be accomplished in something very close to realtime and thus allow someone from Glasgow to communicate with someone from Glastonbury without applying any social prejudices.

It would obviously be more useful for application to phone conversations, although certain religious groups who believe that voices are inappropriately sexual might adopt it to allow them to talk freely, face to face, in a machine monotone.

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