|Talky Bird app interface (Photo: Framgia)
Developed by Framgia, Talky Bird’s (https://talkybird.com/) most special feature is that it uses voice recognition technology to evaluate users’ pronunciation, based on a synthesis of Japanese language and voice practice.
After the user pronounces a word, the app analyzes and evaluates it against criteria such as content and pitch. Learners receive a visual and graphical comparison of their score, which is out of 100, and some useful advice.
The technology can help learners be more active in practicing Japanese and feel as though they are learning directly with a native speaker.
The name “Talky Bird”, or “chatty bird”, is inspired by the pheasant - the symbolic bird of Japan.
An Android version is to be launched this year. Framgia’s programming team intends to add new functions such as conversational training with an AI Chatbot for those at higher levels and vocabulary training for beginners.
It allows users to work on their pronunciation whenever they can, rather than taking a class. The app is specifically designed for those with a Japanese language level of N4 or above and who wish to improve their communication skills.
Lessons are divided into two categories: Japanese for everyday communication (asking for directions, buying at the store, etc.) and Japanese for communicating at the workplace (introductions, getting to know people, etc.).
“During the process of recruiting students to work in Japan, we found that many have difficulties communicating in Japanese,” said Mr. Hiroaki Ishida, Project Manager at Framgia. “This is a major disadvantage if you want to work at a Japanese company.
Those wanting to improve their pronunciation, however, need a Japanese teacher, which can be expensive and there are too few of them in Vietnam. We therefore developed the app to help people communicate confidently in Japanese and increase their job opportunities.”
Talky Bird team
Framgia began cooperating with universities in Vietnam in 2014 and has taken more than 1,000 students to work in Japan, where they live in a Japanese environment and communicate and work in Japanese.
The Japanese language has the largest number of learners in Vietnam.
In 2017, 71,242 Vietnamese sat the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT); the highest in Southeast Asia and the third-highest in the world. Japan is also the largest foreign investor in Vietnam and is the country’s fourth-largest trading partner.