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A Tech Startup Removes Accents from Call Center Workers’ Speech. Does that Mask Bigger Problems?

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The tech startup Sanas transforms accented English to a white, midwestern American voice. Sanas contends that this technology can help overseas call center workers who are dealing with racist harassment. But those who have studied call centers and the “white voice” say this only puts a filter over the very problems the technology aims to remedy. We’ll talk with experts about intolerance for accented speech, the challenges facing international call center workers and what it means to “sound white.

Related link(s):

Sanas, the buzzy Bay Area startup that wants to make the world sound whiter


Sharath Keshava Narayana, Co-Founder & COO, Sanas

Joshua Bote, assistant news editor, SFGATE

Winifred Poster, director, Labor Tech Research Network; adjunct faculty in International Affairs, Washington University St. Louis; author, “Borders in Service: Enactments of Nationhood in Transnational Call Centres”

Tom McEnaney, associate professor of Comparative Literature and of Spanish and Portuguese, UC Berkeley


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