Help With the "Speaking Practice" Activity
First off, please don't be discouraged or frustrated if you're getting a low score. This feature is a work in progress, and we still have lots of tweaking to do! So it doesn't necessarily mean your pronunciation is bad, as it could also be a technical issue.
Whatever the problem is, your detailed feedback is very helpful in helping us find problems and act fast to refine features like this.
Here are some common issues:
The Loading Wheel is Stuck Spinning
Members have resolved this in the past by turning off an adblocker, (eg. Ad Block Plus), since this can interfere with our site needing to communicate with the speech API that processes your recording.
If you try on another modern device and/or web browser version, that can also get you up and running again quickly.
"Nothing was recognized"
Here are some possible scenarios.
Make sure to listen back to your recorded audio so you can hear whether audio was captured, and if the quality is good enough to understand what you've said. Other possibilities:
- The microphone could be muted
- If you're using a slow device, there may be an added delay from the time you approve the microphone access, until the time the actual recording kicks in. Try waiting an additional couple seconds, even after the "please wait" message goes away. Then listen back to make sure something was recorded
- Old web browser version – If you know how, please update your web browser. You can check to see if a newer version is available by going here: https://www.whatismybrowser.com
- A Learning Studio bug could be preventing the feature from working. In this case, please contact us. It will be helpful to know which browser and device you are using so we can try to recreate the problem on our end. The more details you can provide, the better! We're sincerely grateful when members take the time to provide this kind of detailed feedback. As a temporary measure, you can try updating your browser or switching to another browser / device.
Determining Whether It's a Learning Studio Bug, or An Issue With Your Device
To help us find a solution, an important step is to determine whether audio recording in your web browser in general, or if it's specific to our site. One way to do that is to use this third-party utility: https://online-voice-recorder.com/
If that tool doesn't work for you, then that likely means that the problem is a software setting or hardware failure on your end. You will probably have better results trying again using an alternate, modern device, (Tablet / Smartphone / Computer), if available.
A Lower-Than-Expected Score
If you're pretty confident that you pronounced something decently, but still can't get a high score after multiple attempts, once again, don't be discouraged or frustrated.
We have run into phrases that even we get a low score on, requiring us to make manual adjustments. Since the Learning Studio is made up of thousands of phrases, these manual adjustments are a continuous work in progress.
The technical challenge for us is that the system can become less confident about what it heard, when there are other words or phrases that exist that sound similar to the current phrase. We could have named that score, "how confident the robot is that it understood you" rather than "accuracy", but that would be a bit too wordy.
Other possible issues:
- Your recording quality may be too poor for the words to be recognized. You can try moving your mouth closer to the mic, reducing background noise, or switching to a different mic or device that produces better results when you listen back to your own recording. Have a listen back to your recording before submitting it, to see if this could be the issue.
- (As mentioned above), If you're using a slower device, there may be an added delay from the time you approve the microphone access, until the time the actual recording kicks in. This may cause the first portion of your recording to be cut off. Try waiting an additional couple seconds, even after the "please wait" message goes away. Then listen back to see if you can hear all the words before clicking "Check".
Disabling the "Speaking" Activity
You can disable this feature here: https://www.practiceportuguese.com/account/?action=learning-studio
Either way, we'd be grateful to hear about your experience, since we're always reassessing where to focus our resources to better serve our incredible members like yourself :)