Word of mouth spreads quickly

Some students exchanged their voices for free movie vouchers Sept. 14.

The students read phrases aloud from a tablet computer to help with the Google Word-of-Mouth project. The project is an attempt to collect voice data of regional dialects, according to a notice in N3. It is intended to improve voice recognition technology and make using voice commands on phones and computers easier. In exchange for approximately 10 minutes of reading phrases, students received an $11 voucher for AMC Theaters.

Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing student Brittany Norman, who heard about the project on N3, said it was not exactly what she expected.

“I thought we were going to be in a computer lab with a microphone,” Norman said. “Being one-on-one was a bit anxiety-inducing, but he was nice and would repeat a phrase if needed,” she added, referring to the Google data specialist who was collecting the data.

Some participants heard about the Word-of-Mouth project by, well, word of mouth. Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing student Marie Ryan was one such participant. Ryan heard about the project from Norman and their friend Katie Wright, who is also in the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.

Some of the phrases participants read from the tablet included, “Go to DSM,” “Recipes with horchata,” and “Videos of cows.”

“One of the phrases I had to say was, ‘Go Justin Bieber,” said freshman computer technology information major Brandon Schrenk.

Some of the words and phrases proved more difficult for participants.

“I knew what to expect, sort of” said Wright, who participated in the Word-of-Mouth project after watching Norman do it. “Some of the words threw me off, though.”

According to freshman studio art major Lauren Coby some of the phrases she was asked to say were “tongue twisters,” and she had to repeat them.

“You get nervous at first,” said freshman French major Caitlin Harrah. “You worry that you’re going to say the wrong thing. But it wasn’t bad.”

The Word-of-Mouth project, which began at 9 a.m. Wednesday morning, was scheduled to go until 12:30 p.m., but it lasted until nearly 1 p.m. 20 people lent their voices to the project, and when it ended, two individuals were still in line but did not get to participate.

Participants were had to be at least 18 years old and be native U.S. English speakers.