Accent issues. I need your advice.

by Eduard
43 replies
Alright Warriors,

I really need your feedback on this issue. English is my second language and I know have an accent, but this is the first time I'm actually concerned that it may be a bigger deal than I thought in terms of impact on my business.

Today I got a refund request on an audio guide I created, from an US buyer who said he found my accent thick, had a hard time getting used to it and sometimes had problems understanding what I was saying.

This is the first time I get this sort of a remark about my accent, and my video sales page (with my voice) converts at over 3%, but still... it really got me wondering.

So I'd like your feedback regarding my accent in order to get an accurate idea on how big of an issue my accent actually is. Please go to the link below where there's a video I created. Ignore the text and listen to my voice.

Conversation Confidence | Social Confidence Secrets

My questions are:

1. Do you find my accent dislikeable?
2. Do you have problems understanding what I'm saying?

It's important for me to realize if this is just a minor issue, or I should consider some major changes to the business model due to my accent.

Thanks,

Eduard
#accent #advice #issues
  • Profile picture of the author Ottosh
    I wouldn't say it's dis likable but it isn't the easiest to understand to native english speakers (some people are not subject to diversity), since your sales pitch is on a slideshow.. what you could do is hire someone from Odesk.com or fiverr.com for only 5 bucks.. to do a voice over for you. it's your information but someone elses voice might be a fit.
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  • Profile picture of the author AlexF
    Hi Eduard,

    At least to me your accent sounds ok... Certainly I wouldn't ask for a refund based solely on your accent! Some people just buy products and find excuses to get a refund - this will always happen.

    If it's just an isolated event - don't worry about it

    If this keeps happening - you can hire someone to do this for you as suggested above.

    Certainly there is no need to change a business model because of that.

    Hope that helps!

    Alex

    P.S.: it might be a good idea to hire someone anyway to do this recording and test your conversion rate... If it stays at 3% - then this doesn't matter... If it increases - perhaps you should always get someone to do the voice recording for you.
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  • Profile picture of the author Eleanor
    Hi Eduard,

    I've had a listen and to be honest, I can't see a problem.
    Considering English isn't your first language, you have certainly learnt well - your English is brilliant.

    I think like others have said, if it continues to be a problem then you should consider hiring someone to do a voiceover, but it could just be a one-off and if that's the case then stick with what you do best (a 3% conversion is pretty good).

    Hope that helps

    Thanks
    Eleanor
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  • Profile picture of the author nadal619
    Hey Eduard , also to me it sounds ok and clear .

    and I agree with Ottosh & AlexF , that if you see a lot of people complaining from that and refunding you outsource it, Fiver has god deals.

    Good luck
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  • Profile picture of the author creature
    I also agree with most of the others - you communicate very clearly in English. Of course you accent is noticeable, but I wish I could communicate as well in Spanish as you do in English.

    I think it depends on your market - should not be a problem in the US, but it could be more of a problem for people for whom NEITHER Spanish or English is a first language.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      Let me be politically incorrect here for a moment please.

      I had no problem understanding your accent. Even if I did, the words are right there in front of me and I can read.

      However, in the US there is a bit of a backlash against from "elsewhere" who sell into the US market. I think you ran into such a person.

      There is some resentment focused on immigration issues, jobs outsourced to India and other countries, products manufactured in China...blah blah blah. It's not a debate anyone can have because there is no right/wrong/up/down.

      There is a segment of the population that would back away because there is an accent of any kind. It's a knee jerk reaction you can't stop and only a small segment of the population exhibits it.

      The good news is your accent can be understood without a huge effort - the bad news is you can't please everyone. I wouldn't worry about it.

      kay
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      • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
        One refund is no reason to turn your whole business upside down.

        Here in Florida, we get a lot of folks with different accents, even if they are native-born Americans. If you like comedy, you should overhear some of the conversations you get here - someone from "Bahston" or "Noo Yawk" trying to communicate with a southern good ol' boy. (Think Ray Romano trying to talk with Larry the Cable Guy)

        I listened to part of your video. If I were coming to you for lessons in English diction, we might have a problem. But that isn't the product.

        Unless you start seeing a pattern, issue the refund and "fuhgeddaboutit"...
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        • Profile picture of the author Shaun OReilly
          Hi Eduard,

          I listened to the first couple of minutes of your video
          and had no problems understanding what you were
          saying and I didn't find your accent dislikeable in any
          way.

          Whatever you do in this business - there will be some
          people who either don't like it - or they're looking for
          an easy excuse to refund.

          If you were getting a lot of refunds specifically due to
          your accent then it would be sensible to consider other
          options.

          But if it's just one complaint due to your accent - then
          don't worry about it.

          Just keep on doing what you're doing and be YOU - unique
          and special.

          Dedicated to mutual success,

          Shaun
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          .

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  • Profile picture of the author John Redlinger
    Edward,

    I agree that you do have an accent. However, I do not find you extremely difficult to understand. However, you must also keep in mind that people are different and so is their hearing. I advise you to cheerfully honor all refund requests for this reason.
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  • Profile picture of the author LeeLee
    Absolutely understandable.

    I will make one note though. A while back I had a Filipino outsourcer transcribe an audio done by an Austrian. She had a hard time with it. Maybe when English is the 2nd language for two people it is hard to sort out all the accents.

    Just a thought to throw out there. Most likely it is a serial refunder.
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    I had a similar concern some years ago when I first started
    doing online audio and asked the very question in the
    Warrior forum.

    I've received similar criticism from a Youtube user on one
    of my videos but you really can't please everyone. If you
    did you'd sell to no one.

    I think that your accent fits well the product you are selling
    since you claim that you use to lack social confidence.

    I can understand your English well, but when you've lived in
    New York city for a long time you can understand any
    accent.

    I wouldn't about the problem if reported by just one
    customer.

    -Ray Edwards
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  • Profile picture of the author A.Green
    It is a little thick, but I had absolutely no trouble understanding; however, I used to teach English as a foreign langauge. :-) I think Ottosh makes a good point--some people simply never hear non-native speakers and aren't used to different accents. Otherwise, as the others have said, if people keep commenting you could hire someone to do a vocieover.

    And Kay makes a good point, too. Can't please everyone.

    Actually, I think it says a lot in favor of your social confidence that you even make a video in another language and post it for the world to see. A lot of people are too shy to even try speaking another language. So, you really know what you teach.
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  • You do have an accent - there is no doubt about that...but it is not disagreeable...

    However, if the video is supported by the copy as in your example, I see no problem whatsoever...provided English is not their second language too...and they are having trouble with both the spoken and written word -

    Your accent is understandable and clear. You have a good command of the language, and I do not see a real problem. Trust me, I have heard voiceovers a lot harder to understand than this one.

    Maybe you could try it with a little more "Ricardo Montalban" or "Antonio Banderas" twist thrown in to it... (jk) Women love those guys...:rolleyes:

    3M
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  • Profile picture of the author shane_k
    From listening to the audio on your page, to me it sounds as if you are trying to speak the text as you read it

    Were you looking at the screen as the words popped up and reading them and recording your voice at the same time?

    If you were I would recommend not to do this. In our drama classes they always talked about how this cuts the energy and emotion in your voice.

    So I don't think your accent is a problem at all, you are very clear, but a bit monotone. This monotone comes from lack of emotion or connection to what you are saying, and usually that results when you are reading the text as you speak it.

    Some things that can help

    Take the time to memorize some of the text.



    Stand up when you speak. This allows your diaphram and rib cage to be more open, and your muscles more relaxed giving you a more resonant voice, and allows you to be more emotionally connected to what you are saying.
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  • Profile picture of the author shane_k
    sorry about that but my reply was posted before I was done.

    Memorize the text
    This allows you to be more relaxed when speaking because you know what you are going to say. Usually when people are recording themselves they have a tendency to tense up. So memorizing the text will allow you (at the time of recording it) to remain more relaxed.

    and as we know the more relaxed you are the more resonant your voice will be.

    If you don't want to memorize the text then stand up when you speak. (see above)

    Hope this helps

    Shane_K
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    • Profile picture of the author Eduard
      Thank you very much for you feedback Warriors.

      Yes, this is the first person to ever mention my accent as an issue and ask for a refund because of it. It's good to know that the vast majority of people don't have a problem with it.

      Still, I'll consider creating a second version of my sales video using a voice-over with an American accent and split testing it with the one I have now.

      But the truth is, I want to know that I don't need to rely on the voice of someone else to make a good income online. That I can just be myself.
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      • Profile picture of the author Azarna
        I studied how people relate to accents as part of my degree - it was fascinating stuff.

        Here in Britain your accent would probably be considered far preferable to an American one for this. For no logical reason, considering how many American films and sit-coms we watch, lots of British people are turned-off by American accents in advertising - as the manufacturers of 'Herbal Essences' eventually realised.

        Personally I go totally weak at the knees if I hear a man with a Southern US drawl, and I could listen to Barry Weiss from 'Storage Wars' all day! If he ever does advertisments I am doomed to buy!

        But I find many female American voices somewhat unpleasant to listen to (sorry, ladies,I can't help it). Jennifer Anniston, for example, has a really horrible accent to my ears. She is a beautiful woman, but that voice just really bugs me.

        In studies the lowland Scottish accent has been found to be almost universally liked and trusted. Similarly Italian accents seem to work well when selling 'romantic' things like perfume and fine food and German accents for high-tech and engineering related lines (Vorsprung Durch Technik!). Sure, it is stereotyping, but whether that is politically correct or not is irrelevant - it still affects how people hearthings. National stereotypes are very ingrained in us all.

        So be proud of your accent! It is certainly easy enough to understand. Sure, there may be some people who find it off-putting, there always will be for any accent I guess. But there will also be others who think that it is sexy and appealing!

        You can't please everyone, so just be yourself and sod 'em. (as we say here in England, hehe)
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        • Profile picture of the author Michael Shook
          Everybody has an accent, and once you get used to the way somebody talks, it is almost as if it goes away. Your video is fine, especially with the words on the screen. I don't know if your product is like that but your sales video was easy to understand.

          This sounds to me like somebody fishing for an explanation as to why they want a refund, I think your product sounds fine.
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          • Profile picture of the author andy moore
            Eduard, you have a lovely accent!

            I didn't watch our video, I listened to it. I understood every word and its intention. So personally, I am very happy with it.

            I really would not worry about the numpty who moaned about your accent. Just give him his money and move on.

            A small comment if I may? This just may be me, but I found it rather long. Even in perfect English I would find it long. I question whether the attention of the people this is aimed at would be held for 25 minutes...? Perhaps you could test a shorter version and the longer one? Just a thought but I am impatient!

            Just to amuse you I will tell you this. I am a born and bred English speaker with no particular accent. When I was living in the mid west - Ohio - I was in a store asking for something. Three times the sales lady asked me to repeat myself. Three times I repeated my request. Finally, in frustration she angrily asked: "Do you speak English?!"

            Best Wishes
            Andy Moore
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        • Profile picture of the author DavidG
          Originally Posted by Azarna View Post

          I studied how people relate to accents as part of my degree - it was fascinating stuff.

          Here in Britain your accent would probably be considered far preferable to an American one for this. For no logical reason, considering how many American films and sit-coms we watch, lots of British people are turned-off by American accents in advertising - as the manufacturers of 'Herbal Essences' eventually realised.

          Personally I go totally weak at the knees if I hear a man with a Southern US drawl, and I could listen to Barry Weiss from 'Storage Wars' all day! If he ever does advertisments I am doomed to buy!

          But I find many female American voices somewhat unpleasant to listen to (sorry, ladies,I can't help it). Jennifer Anniston, for example, has a really horrible accent to my ears. She is a beautiful woman, but that voice just really bugs me.

          In studies the lowland Scottish accent has been found to be almost universally liked and trusted. Similarly Italian accents seem to work well when selling 'romantic' things like perfume and fine food and German accents for high-tech and engineering related lines (Vorsprung Durch Technik!). Sure, it is stereotyping, but whether that is politically correct or not is irrelevant - it still affects how people hearthings. National stereotypes are very ingrained in us all.

          So be proud of your accent! It is certainly easy enough to understand. Sure, there may be some people who find it off-putting, there always will be for any accent I guess. But there will also be others who think that it is sexy and appealing!

          You can't please everyone, so just be yourself and sod 'em. (as we say here in England, hehe)
          Wow! Never heard about this.. then again I also have an accent.

          As for the accent - Eduardo, like many have said before.. Unless you start seeing a pattern - don't worry about it.


          regZ
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  • Profile picture of the author Melanie Crouse
    Personally, I have no problem at all understanding you. Mind you, I talk to many different people from many different cultures every day. I'm used to accents, but not Spanish so much. More Asian, Middle Eastern and European here.

    Everyone has an accent to someone else. It's no big deal.

    For a second language, you have an excellent command of the English language!

    I wouldn't worry about that one refund. He/she probably either has a bee in his/her bonnet (as Kay suggested) or they're just looking for an excuse to refund.
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  • Profile picture of the author profit2day
    Eduard,

    I listened, you are articulate. Many people in the US (especially those trying to learn) are not used to/comfortable with accents that are different - that being said. You have a few options:

    1. If it was only one person that complained, ignore it!!!!
    2. Outsource to have someone do the voice over (Not an option if you plan to have your own name/brand)
    3. Get a mentor
    4. Watch US news, most have commentators have their diction on point - listen and practice.
    5. Free Translation and Professional Translation Services from SDL - you can put in what you want to say in any language to translate to English and listen to what it sounds like and practice.


    Carol
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  • Profile picture of the author Arthur Barn
    Sounds not bad Eduard. It depends on the person who listens to what you said. For me, it is understandable.
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  • Profile picture of the author TyCohen
    Does not sound bad, keep going and don't let anyone stop you.

    The truth of the matter is some people are always going to have something to bitch and moan about. (and this is usually why THEY never make it online.. They give themselves to many excuses)

    If you let every obstacle stop you you'll never get anywhere.

    Stay Focused!

    Ty Cohen
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  • Profile picture of the author Arthur Barn
    You have an accent, but honestly, it is very understandable to listen. Just keep going and try to learn more.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mohsin Rasool
    Hi Eduard,

    I find it easy to understand what you are saying in the presentation.

    Do not worry about that comment.

    Just issue the refund and move on!

    Good Luck,
    Mohsin
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  • Profile picture of the author Pauline60
    I have listend to your presentation and had no difficulty whatsoever understanding you. I think your accent is quite pleasant and easy to listen to. Although your accent is strong I do not see this as a problem at all.

    I think the person asking for a refund was just using it as an excuse. Give them their money back and ignore their comments.

    Pauline
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  • Profile picture of the author JamieSEO
    I listened to the presentation and it was extremely easy to understand you and the accent is quite pleasant.

    Like Pauline, I too believe this was just an excuse for the buyer to get a refund.

    On a brighter note - the fact that you take customer feedback on board and check things out bodes very well for your future success
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  • Profile picture of the author TopKat22
    Like everyone else said. Don't worry about it because of one complaint.

    If I had changed everything in my business every time one person complained, I'd be changing things every single day.

    I find it interesting that you are promoting something about social confidence.

    So the person who asked for the refund obviously needed help in social confidence or they would not have purchased from you.

    Maybe, they are just the type of person that buys stuff and acts for refunds. Maybe they are someone with so many social interaction problems that hearing your solutions was more than they could stand.

    Maybe they just realized they shouldn't have spent the money and wanted it back.

    Who knows???

    I can perfectly understand you and I personally like different accents because I like diversity and getting to know people from all over.

    So unless you start getting a high rate of refund requests, I wouldn't give it another thought.
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  • Profile picture of the author Josh Walker
    Ignore the ignorant, and carry on what your doing!
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  • Profile picture of the author curly sue
    there lots of marketers without good voices or don't speak good english but they use actors/video promoters to do their videos. on fiverr there is plenty of people who do video promtions. Find one and be consistent with just the one person.
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  • Profile picture of the author tebor79
    Maybe you can use your accent as a marketing angle for your niche.
    Something like how with your accent you had to strive harder to gain the social confidence you needed to socialize with English speakers. Or something like that.
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    • Profile picture of the author jan roos
      Americans like accents so I wouldn't worry about that one refund because to be honest, I think they just couldn't think of any other excuse to refund your product so they said it's your accent.

      My accent can be pretty thick at times and I mumble so I was hesitant to make my own sales videos. One well known copywriter at a marketing event even told me not to make my own sales videos because of my accent but I did it anyways and it worked out awesome so I say keep doing what you're doing.

      Also, like John said, one refund is nothing and don't let one refund make you want to change your business. If it becomes a big problem then yes but not from one refund.

      Cheers

      Jan
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      • Profile picture of the author Rick Tew
        First, lots of successful people have an accent. Some target a specific field and it doesn't seem to hinder their success. Look at Deepak Chopra.

        I do feel that Kay King might be on target, but that doesn't help you other than to WORK harder at your craft. People will often put aside their views if they come across someone that is obviously talented or hard working.

        Let's move away from the why, because you will and should keep doing what you are going to do to succeed.

        Although I could understand you, I think you should focus in on what shane_k was offering as some tips to improve your work.

        I didn't feel that you KNEW your subject and it lacked a certain passion. You are obviously trying to SELL something and your belief in that product or service will also be a part of how you sell it. Since you want to do the voice-over yourself, then you should take it seriously and learn your subject.

        Otherwise it comes off as a cookie cutter strategy to make money online and the box that came with the How to make money online kit said, "Read This."

        Consider public speaking and standing in front of the mirror explaining this with passion to yourself or someone else. Maybe you can write the script or text around your style of communication.

        Many people are picky about voice and the way we speak because we can't SEE you. We are forced to use our imagination.

        I think considering you are talking about Social Confidence this is something that you need and could use to your advantage - because you could obviously express that it would be a challenge to speak out when you feel that your accent could be an issue.

        It's not a problem and it's not about your accent - anyone speaking in a way that feels like they don't know the material is going to reduce confidence.

        But hey, if your product is selling, it's not broken and neither are you
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  • Profile picture of the author marketingva
    Hi,

    I had a hard time understanding your accent. I'm partially deaf and even with headphones on I find many accents to be hard to understand and just plain irritating. This is my quirk but it may be that the person asking for a refund also has a hearing problem.

    Bonnie
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  • Profile picture of the author Kal Sallam
    A small segment of the US population will dislike a FOREIGN Accent for multiple reasons.
    Like mentioned before, it shouldn't be a problem if it does not occur often.
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  • Profile picture of the author rooze
    Eduard,
    I sense a little anxiety in your post, perhaps you're lacking in social confidence (sorry, I couldn't pass it up).

    Your accent is great, good annunciation, clear and unambiguous. Some people will say anything to justify a refund.

    Stick with it.
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  • Profile picture of the author hardraysnight
    you cant please all of the people all of the time

    refund his shekels, but ask was he satisfied with the content

    seems he is putting the messenger before the message

    put him on your blacklist

    keep up the good work
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  • Profile picture of the author DeborahDera
    I'd suggest running a test. Have someone do a voice over for you and see if your conversion rate changes.

    While it's the first time someone has approached you about it, I'm willing to bet others may have had the same thought either before purchasing, or after, and never said anything to you.

    The cost of a voice-over is relatively low - as suggested, you could try Fiverr or oDesk. If your 3% conversion goes up, keep it. If it goes down, go back to your original video. At least you'll know.



    Originally Posted by Eduard View Post

    Alright Warriors,

    I really need your feedback on this issue. English is my second language and I know have an accent, but this is the first time I'm actually concerned that it may be a bigger deal than I thought in terms of impact on my business.

    Today I got a refund request on an audio guide I created, from an US buyer who said he found my accent thick, had a hard time getting used to it and sometimes had problems understanding what I was saying.

    This is the first time I get this sort of a remark about my accent, and my video sales page (with my voice) converts at over 3%, but still... it really got me wondering.

    So I'd like your feedback regarding my accent in order to get an accurate idea on how big of an issue my accent actually is. Please go to the link below where there's a video I created. Ignore the text and listen to my voice.

    Conversation Confidence | Social Confidence Secrets

    My questions are:

    1. Do you find my accent dislikeable?
    2. Do you have problems understanding what I'm saying?

    It's important for me to realize if this is just a minor issue, or I should consider some major changes to the business model due to my accent.

    Thanks,

    Eduard
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  • Profile picture of the author WillR
    Here's my take. Your English can be understood, yes. Is it as effortless to watch your video as it would be a sales video with a regular and clear American accent? No, I don't think so. I found there was a little work involved watching that video as I was always having to read the slides to make sure I was hearing the correct words. People can argue this point but for me it was not as easy as just sitting back and listening to a strong American accent.

    If you are targeting this product at a worldwide audience, predominantly the US, then yes, I think you could definitely improve things by getting a nice strong US voiceover done. If you were selling weight loss tips it might not be such an issue but your product is based on "Confident and Captivating Conversation with Anyone". For that reason I think it's even more important for you to have a nice clear and confident voiceover for that video.

    Others above have mentioned that your voiceover is fine and should be left alone. That's the nice thing to say. The problem is 'nice' doesn't sell your product. It's always worth testing the two voiceovers against each other since no one knows for sure but I can only see a normal American accent voiceover improving the conversions for you. I don't think it could ever lower them.

    I have a rule in marketing. If you EVER question something, like you have by writing this post, then you HAVE to test it. You are never going to know until you do.
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  • Profile picture of the author ColinT
    Eduard, yes you have a fairly strong accent but I had no problen at all understanding you. I would ignore that refund excuse and carry on doing what you`re doing.
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  • Have you considered getting your PowerPoint slides voiced over by a native English speaker? it's cheap and it works wonders if it's just a few videos. I would recommend you to at least running a few tests.
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  • Profile picture of the author DavidTT
    honestly its okay. I mean, I've seen one just as bad and it worked out pretty well for him.

    If you're really concerned tho, you can still hire someone to talk for you. Cant cost that much.
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