Speech to Text: the secret to unlocking the PTE Speaking Section
For many students and professionals who speak English as their second language, the Speaking section of any English proficiency test is one of the most challenging obstacles to overcome. As a result, the Speaking section is aimed at gauging the comfort level of a second language English learner while communicating in English. Thus, it will assess your ability to pronounce and enunciate clearly, as well as how well you are able to articulate your thoughts into speech. Therefore, oral fluency is the key to cracking the Speaking section of the PTE.
To achieve the best results, one must familiarise themselves with the concept of speech to text in the PTE.
The most common questions about speech to text include:
- What is the Speech to text in PTE?
- How is speech to text scored?
- How to score well in the PTE Speech to text section?
In this article, we will cover the essentials of PTE speech to text. To begin with:
What is Speech to text?
The PTE is a computerised test. This means that the test-taker is graded by an intelligent software algorithm according to some set prerequisites. The Speaking section includes a speech to text software which transcribes the test-takers response to each individual question. By transcribing the speech into a text format, the software is then able to dutifully assess it against the answer key and allot the score for each question accordingly.
How does speech to text work?
Speech-to-text is a very common software application used in several online applications such as Siri, Google Search and Bixby. To prepare for the Speaking section of the PTE, it is prudent for the students to acquire one of these voice recognition and voice-to-text applications and acquaint themselves with its use.
The important thing to remember is that all of these gadgets operate on the same principle, which is to receive the input via a microphone and process it instantly so that it may be precisely matched with a word in the target language – in this case, English.
So how does the speech to text software in the PTE score your answers?
Once your answer is transcribed by the software, it is graded on two key points: content markers and pronunciation markers.
Content markers are to validate the correctness of your response. Meanwhile, pronunciation markers assess the fluency of your language use. Consider the following example question:
“Where is the Taj Mahal located?”
Now ideally, the candidate should provide the answer verbally as such:
“The Taj Mahal is located in Agra in India.”
This sentence will be transcribed and checked for the content markers – words such as “Agra” and “India”. If you do not include these words in your answer, it will be marked as incorrect. The remaining parts of the answer will be assessed for your correct pronunciation of words such as “located.”
Tips to follow while practicing this type of question for PTE
In general, there is a favourable link between the speaking abilities score and the pronunciation score. Thus, to score well in this section, you can follow the practice tips mentioned below:
- Practice reading aloud: You can start with short paragraphs and then move on to longer and more challenging texts. Remember that you will need to speak continuously for the entire length of the Speaking test, so it is best to build your stamina to be able to speak consistently over a long period of time without dips in quality.
- Practice freestyle speaking: Use activities to hone your abilities to speak on any subject with confidence and skill. Some activities you can try :
- One-minute story telling
Eg.: What did you do during your summer vacation?
- Describe Object
Eg. Describe your bedroom.
- Name 5 Things
Eg. Name five of your favourite movies.
- Roleplay Conversation with a Friend
Eg. Pretend one of you is a car salesman and one of you is the buyer.
- Use a speech to text software to test your pronunciation and locate weaknesses and areas for improvement in your speaking skills. You can practice here: LINK
Speaking in a foreign language can be intimidating for many. However, through dedication, hard work and daily practice, you can improve your speaking skills and ace this section.