Product that does the job of transcribing spoken words into text in real-time, allowing non-native English speakers to read, understand and contribute to ongoing conversations
How can we make it easier for non-native English speakers in Canada to navigate conversations in the workplace?
Good communication is an important skill in any environment with human interactions, and when it comes to workplaces, good communication is an integral element of business success. A language is a communication tool and people need to understand each other for communication to be effective.
For immigrants moving into a new country, being able to communicate in the lingua franca of their home country is an important factor that boosts how engaged they are in the workplace, their contributions, and their eventual success. A Statistics Canada Research has shown that immigrants that are more skilled in their ability to communicate in English or French are more likely to be employed in higher-skilled jobs, whereas those who lack such skills are more likely to work in low-wage jobs.
User Pain Points
To understand and address this problem effectively, we conducted user interviews to be able to ascertain the pain points of non-native speakers who work with teams of native English speakers with different speaking styles.
Of the immigrant, and non-native English speakers that were interviewed:
- 67% said that they have a hard time understanding their colleagues' accents in the workplace.
“I work in a place where people speak differently from the way I speak. Being able to understand their accents will make me more productive at my job”.
- 50% said they preferred when their managers/colleagues communicated tasks to them via emails:
“I find it easier to get my tasks done when they come in the form of emails. When it’s verbal conversations, I struggle to hear the accent and I end up not being clear on what to do”
One user responded when asked for their major pain point in understanding their colleagues. The response was “They talk really fast, and I don’t always get their pronunciations. Because of that, I am less engaged during meetings, and it doesn’t help with my visibility at work”
Immigrants that are non-native English speakers need an easy way to process and understand speeches directed at them in the workplace.
All users from the research mentioned the challenge of fast speaking and different pronunciations while another female user who worked in a male-denominated industry referred to the excessive use of sports references.
Landing on the Solution
Based on the pain points of our potential users we identified two main pain points - fast speaking and pronunciation.
For these non-native English speakers, it’s not the lack of basic understanding of the English language, but rather the accent of native English speakers in Canada and how fast they speak. So, these are the two jobs to be done the solution aims to address directly.
ELOQ will take out the frustration and communication barrier between native English speakers and non-native English speakers by creating text-based transcriptions of spoken words for easier understanding.
Explanation of the Solution
ELOQ makes active listening easier for non-native English speakers who have challenges understanding the speaking styles, accents, and pronunciations of native English speakers in Canada.
Users only have to use the product in getting transcribed text of words spoken to them and they can read, comprehend and process the information.
For ELOQ to be functional, the user must grant the product access to record audio in whatever setting they are.
I plan to continue with this project and work with a team that can build this project and launch it. I believe it is a solution that will help non-native English speakers develop better confidence in the workplace, improve their visibility and break down some of the communication barriers that exist today.
In the future, ELOQ can add more features based on user's needs and feedback.
Product Manager Learnings:
As a product manager, it is important to focus on understanding the problem and the job to be done. From my user interviews, I learnt a lot about the problem which guided me to ways to potentially solve the problem for users.
I also learnt to be very specific and spot on with my questions to users as it’s easy to get derailed in the conversation.