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Industry Research : Filipino English – a Quick Analysis

#contactcenterworld, @TeledevPH

Roland Cerera, a Marketing Manager with TeleDevelopment Philippines takes a closer look at the quality of English being spoken in the Philippines in the following article.

Attributing to its rich colonial past, the Philippines has become one of the best non-native speakers of the English language. The presence of western culture is prevalent in the country, from media to the academe. Schools are staffed by teachers whose medium of instruction is in English as with most communication channels. Given that language is continuously evolving considering several factors like intonation related to language orientation and assimilation, a unique Philippine English is developed.

Proficiency Trends Over Time


It is interesting to note that the writing score has improved from 2014 but it is nevertheless still far from the spoken marks. 2009 was when spoken English proficiency was at its highest, this is justified as the number of test takers are still low and the industry was then on a flourishing stage. As the industry continued to grow over time, the number of applicants taking the Versant test also increased proportionately.

Proficiency in the Philippine Regions


Manila, albeit the capital of the Philippines and where most big players are located, has only placed third among the key cities in the country. Again, this is but a snapshot of the bigger picture, nevertheless it can be attributed to how talents from different provinces migrated to Manila to find work.

Cebu is the second most populous metropolitan next to Manila. It is also home to some of the finest schools and universities enabling it to produce quality talents. Davao is a highly industrialized part of the Philippines where industries and academic institutions thrive. The serenity of the province makes it an ideal location for quality job seekers.

The Philippine Spoken and Written English Proficiency

As with any country, proficiency in English is relative to education level and social status of a person. This therefore translates to a wide spectrum ranging from a dismal English to a native-level fluency. Let us take a closer look at how the Philippines fare with the other regions in terms of both written and spoken English proficiency.

versant_english_scores_across_eleven_regions.png versant_writing_scores.png

It is imperative to note that the figures provided above are the result of all Versant Test administered per country and cannot be used as an actual representation of the entire populace. Nevertheless, this will provide us with a snapchat of the topic landscape.

Despite ranking second in terms of spoken English, it is alarming to note that the Philippines ranks second to the last in writing proficiency. This can be attributed to the earlier premise on colonization and assimilation. To most Filipinos, speaking the English language can be a plus in both academic perception and social status. It has therefore left everyone thinking that speaking in English well will put them at an advantage.

This is relatively true to a certain point. The IT-BPM industry has surpassed overseas remittance as the biggest contributor to the nation’s economy. A chunk of the needed workforce needed for this thriving business is on voiced operations. Having a good English speaking talent can certainly be advantageous as companies are now raising the bar for acquiring employees.

Why the Poor Grammar?

English is a very complicated language, there are many rules and conversely, exceptions to those rules. Grammar and syntax are among its complexities and will therefore, take time to master. Conversational and formal/literary speech, debatably remains to be a compliance-sensitive aspect. The moment one makes an error with sentence construction or uses words contrasting to their strict dictionary meaning and purpose, the overall context already changes even to the point of not making sense to a native speaker.

The Filipino culture is also another avenue to inspect. Words are translated in verbatim as such, the message no longer becomes conversational and more grammatically sound. Even if the medium of instruction for education is English, sadly, most of the curriculum are not aligned with the Industry requirements.

Leaning towards capturing quality talents for any industry, it is essential to address the issue on both spoken and written proficiency. English is the primary means of communication across all regions and all industries and trades competing in the global market. The Versant Test can help make a rationale and effective assessment to better determine the areas of language a candidate needs to improve. This can translate to a more open line of communication and cost-effective correspondence in other businesses apart from the IT-BPM industry where it is a main component.

Over time, we can expect that the influx of graduates can exponentially improve the data if intervention and proper assessment is observed. The integration of industry relevant subjects to the academic curriculum can intensify the English proficiency of students who will eventually join the workforce. Another factor that needs to be seriously addressed is the capacity of the educators to competently teach the language. Assessment and intervention should actually start with the teachers who will then dissipate it to the students.

#contactcenterworld, @TeledevPH

About Roland Cerera:
A student of law and a part-time educator. A teacher by heart and a writer and manager by profession.

About TeleDevelopment Philippines:
Company LogoTeleDevelopment has been providing clients with global outsourcing and back-office solutions since 1991. Since that time, we have supported over 450 captive and outsourced contact centers and BPO providers’ human capital and processed development needs. Our expertise is the result of engagements with in-house as well as service providers and shared service centers throughout the world. Working from our offices in the United States, and the Philippines; we deploy experienced professionals to help organizations succeed from any location — domestic, near-shore, and offshore. We provide most comprehensive HR solutions to help make your organization more streamlined and effective: >Versant, our automated telephone agent screening tool >Near Hire through Management Training >Executive Recruiting >Agent Staffing >Outsourced HR Management >Consulting Services.
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Today's Tip of the Day - 0 - 100% Rollout Can Hurt

Read today's tip or listen to it on podcast.

Published: Wednesday, January 11, 2017

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2023 Buyers Guide Automation

1.) Agara

Agara is an autonomous virtual voice agent powered by Real-time Voice AI. It is designed to have intelligent conversations with your customers, vendors, and partners without any assistance from human agents. It can handle a wide variety of calls including inbound customer care calls, outbound lead generation calls, appointment scheduling calls, and overdue payment recovery calls.

Agara is available for several industries including banking, insurance, retail, e-commerce, airlines, and telecom. Powered by advanced Real-time Voice AI that understands speech in real-time, automatically determines the right process to follow and guides the caller along in the process with natural conversation.


EVA Voice Biometrics
Powered by Auraya's patented ArmorVox engine, EVA is a voice biometric extension that provides secure and seamless identification & verification capabilities for Amazon Connect. EVA provides delightful customer experience by removing the friction of providing PINs, passwords or secret information in order to prove caller identity. EVA comes standard with active and passive modes and a simple yet powerful agent interface. This allows for personalised self-service and a more friendly and efficient experience when interacting with an agent.

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Call Adapt

Soundboard Software
Call Adapt is a cloud-based digital soundboard application designed for contact centers. It works with any type of call and integrates with your existing dialer system. Powered by smart audio technology, Call Adapt gives your agents the ability to converse with customers in real time using programmed keyboard shortcuts. The result is perfect pitch delivery and less time spent on repetitive tasks.


Cognigy is a global leader in Conversational AI Automation. Its platform, Cognigy.AI, enables enterprises to automate customer and employee communications using intelligent voice and chatbots

Consilium Software

Consilium UniCloud™
UniCloud™ is an intuitive platform that allows Enterprises to deploy and manage their Unified Communication (UC) and Contact Center (CC) services with ease and entire provisioning can be completed in seconds using this comprehensive tool supporting digital transformation. The latest release 7.0 of UniCloud™ is a multi-tenant platform that transforms the delivery, management, and integration of collaboration and contact center solutions, for both Cloud and On-Premise deployment models.
With its single-pane-of-glass views and quick provisioning tool, UniCloud™ is instrumental in reducing the time to provision an entire multi-cluster Cisco collaboration platform, including contact centers (C...
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eGain Corporation

eGain Solve
Proven, Easy, and Guided Journey to Automate Customer Engagement in a Digital+AI World


Automated Language Testing
Emmersion offers automated assessments to quickly and accurately test speaking, writing, and grammar fluency in 9 languages and counting. We help contact centers improve CSAT scores by screening for top talent and retaining top performers.

OpsTel Services

The SPEED solution solves for service level issues while cost optimizing the environment with automation.

Provides an enhanced way to speed up & optimize invoking temporary agent skills configuration changes into the contact center environment.

Speed allows you to schedule both future changes & temporary changes that auto-revert back to the original state when scheduled time expires.

Speed features:

*Automated / Scheduled Temporary Agent Skills Configuration Management
*Immediate Temporary or Reoccurring Schedule Skills Configuration Changes
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