Nadine O’Regan: Call centre staff have new technology to disguise their accents – sounds good to me

Accents can trigger prejudice, so a Silicon Valley company has developed live cloaking software to disguise the voices of workers in foreign call centres, making them sound more American

For years, call centre workers in countries like the Philippines and India have been trained by managers to try to neutralise their accents. Picture: Getty

Not so long ago, I was in a radio studio in Dublin when a broadcaster said to me: “You went to boarding school, didn't you?” I knew, without him saying it directly, that what he was actually querying was my accent. I have a neutral Irish accent, you see. It's not immediately obvious that I'm originally from west Cork.

Having an accent that's hard to place can raise certain questions, usually expressed in a roundabout ...