Author:Daniel Lebbie

Ukrainian voices – we hear you on World Voice Day

During the 337 years of foreign rule, the Ukrainian language went toe-to-toe with over 60 laws. Efforts to remove this language from history involved suppressing (or limiting) its use in education, official service, and print. Despite these strict restrictions, the Proto-Slavic language matured into three major dialects with 15 sub-dialects. Today, the language can be found in box office hits that have grossed $2 million worldwide, with a diaspora spreading through 18 nations.

Saturday the 16th of April marks World Voice Day and considering this year’s theme is “lift your voice”, we’re especially thinking of all Ukrainian voices.

The Ukrainian language has been described as soft, melodious, and upbeat. One American national said, “When I hear Ukrainian, I return to my childhood when I visited my Grandmother and Grandfather.” Another national from Pakistan explained, “Though the meaning of the words remained a total mystery to me, it constantly seemed that Ukrainians were talking about something good. It seems that Ukrainian is very kind and soft.”

Vocal attributes such as softness, kindness and light-heartedness have been frequently associated with trustworthiness, demonstrating that tone is an essential factor when it comes to establishing trust.

In her blog ‘6 reasons people trust a female voice over a male voice’, voiceover Debbie Grattan discusses these attributes, highlighting that female voices can be considered more comforting and more trustworthy than a male voice…but why?

Comfort: Harris Interactive polls have found that 46% of participants considered female voices as more soothing than male voices. In addition, a soft voice is associated with comfortability which encourages trust.

Melodic: The musical nature of the female voice can also play a role in the trust it instils

So, for this World Voice Day, how can we all help to lift Ukrainian voices?

Shine a spotlight: ‘Chocolat’ author Joanne Harris has called for the publishing industry to spotlight Ukrainian authors and translators to help support refugees. The author stated: “No decision will be good for everybody… we can amplify Ukrainian voices, creators and translators… these things make a difference.”

Hire Ukrainian translators: With over 4 million refugees having left Ukraine since the invasion, organisations will need to make a considerable effort to support and communicate with refugees; to help them access housing, employment, education, medical and health support etc. Businesses will need to offer services, such as utilities or insurance. With that in mind, get in contact with a  Ukrainian/English translator as soon as possible, to prepare the relevant communications.

Hire Ukrainian voice talents: If you are an organisation who needs to provide advice or information to support Ukrainian refugees, consider Ukrainian voiceovers for your help videos, IVRs or voicebots.  Even if spoken in English, a Ukrainian-accented voiceover will demonstrate empathy and give your spoken messages a trustworthy, gentle, kind, and soft tone of voice, characteristics valued more than ever in times like these.

If you need help and support in contacting Ukrainian voiceovers or translators, drop me a line at Let’s all help to Lift Ukrainian Voices this Easter. 

Thanks, Daniel

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil – Choose Love

Choose Love is a UK-based charity pioneering a new movement in humanitarian aid: fast, flexible, transparent and accountable. Thus far, this movement has enabled them to reach over one million people in 22 countries over 300 projects, with 88% of donations directly supporting refugees.

They believe in putting “love into action” by traveling to countries in need, finding local organisations doing the most work and supporting them with their needs such as funding, material aid or volunteers.

We identified with Choose Love through the values they keep close to facilitate their outstanding work: 

  • Speaking Out – They speak out against injustice. They believe in advocating for long-term change. 
  • Empowering People – They aim to enable refugees to take control of their lives with their work. 
  • Human Dignity – They believe in treating everyone with humanity and respect. 

Our 3 Wise Christmas bots represent three essential tone of voice traits we know help good service communication – warm, human and empowering. Although Choose Love embodies all three of these traits, we picked them as the charity that best represents the gift of being Human. 

But what does it mean to be truly human? 

According to the Merriam-Webster definition, human is about being a bipedal primate mammal, aka Homo Sapiens. But if we delve deeper into ourselves, we find humans are far too complex to be segregated solely as “Primate Mammals.”

We’re human because we possess the ability to empathise, collaborate and hope. We’re human because we can listen and work together to alleviate each other’s problems.

In the words of the late American politician and academic Woodrow Wilson, “There is no religion higher than human service. To work for the common good is the greatest creed.” Similarly, the late anti-colonial nationalist and political ethicist Mahatma Gandhi said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

So being human isn’t just something that we are – it’s something that we should always aspire to be.

If you would like to help Choose Love with their fundraising, please donate or buy some fellow humans a gift. Even a small donation or purchase will help. And Happy Christmas to all the humans we know.

Sierra Leone: A country of diamonds; a language of gems

This Black History Month, we celebrate important people and events in the African diaspora, and where better than my motherland – one of three countries in the world to have been established by freed slaves – a country that has produced over 9 million carats of the world’s high-quality diamonds: Sierra Leone. On paper, this country appears a small, primitive nation. But, in actuality – it’s a country with a rich history and culture. Today, we explore this along with the many lessons we can learn.

Sierra Leone, aka Salone (Sal-own), is in the west of Africa, with Guinea bordering to the north and Liberia bordering the south. 

Discovered in the 1400s by the Portuguese sailor Pedro De Sintra, the country was called “Serra Lyoa,” which translates to “Lion mountains,” referring to the range of hills surrounding the harbour.

Sierra Leone is one of three countries to be created by repatriated slaves coming from America. After the abolishment of Slavery, Descendants of first-generation slaves were sent back to Sierra Leone to live, hence the name of the country’s capital, “Freetown.” But – years of Slavery in foreign land led to these descendants adopting the language of the land they lived in, so once they returned home, this left two speaking groups: tribal and English. To communicate, they needed to create a new language: Krio. 

According to Translators Without Borders, Sierra Leone has 18 major languages. Krio is the most used, but only 10% speak it as their primary language. Since 2005, the most common language was the Mendes (32%) and Themnes (30%); yet, English is the official language used in schools, the government, administrations and media.

Krio is an English-based creole used in Sierra Leone as a Lingua Franca. It symbolises identity – but because English is the official language used in academics, it’s viewed as distortion. Nonetheless, Krio is still the formal language for people who cannot speak English. 

An interesting fact of Krio is 80% of its vocabulary is from English. For example, bagin means “Bargain,” biskit means “biscuit” and gladi means “happy.”

Although the language is from a mix of English and native phrases, the version of Krio differs according to the region:

The western region is where the country’s capital is (Freetown) and is home to most people educated in the UK. These Krios often have British first and last names and speak with a Krio that Westerners can understand. They also speak the best fluent English in the country.

Other regions speak with a Krio that adopts more tribal phrases, making it harder to digest.

In 1996 – 2002, Sierra Leone was victim to a devastating civil war that left the country in a state they’re still recovering from today. As a result, 43% of the country lives below the poverty line, a significant decline from 54.3% in 2011. 

Many people work low-skill labour jobs such as mining, fishing and agriculture; nonetheless, there’s a beauty in the struggle.

These jobs require real teamwork, which positively affects the way people communicate. 

In 2021, Vision Of Humanity named Sierra Leone the 4th most peaceful country in Africa and the 46th most peaceful globally. This reflects in their language and common phrases.

Language and phrases in Sierra Leone encourage acts of service and reassurance. For example, a common Phrase used every day is, “ah dey wit yu,” meaning “I am with you” or “I will help you.” Another phrase used is “Nor worry,” meaning “Don’t worry,” heard in most day-to-day conversations.

These statements, along with body mannerisms, are used to build bonds and trust between communities, which makes life easier for a tribe of people living below means – but what can we learn from this?

  1. Acts of service – Taking the initiative to ease responsibilities and burdens allows someone to feel taken care of and safe.
  2. Reassurance – Reduces stress and anxiety.

Today, Sierra Leone has a lot more exposure and Krio is more recognised. For Example, in Kanye West’s 2005 Grammy award-winning song, “Diamonds From Sierra Leone,” Krio is used in the intro. 

I visited Sierra Leone earlier this year and was amazed at the many white-sand beaches and exotic fruits. I also have an exciting feeling for the nation’s prospect, with various new buildings and projects in the coming years. I intend on revisiting this December. I love my heritage and I’m committed to contributing to their economy as much as here in the UK.



Black History Month – music to inspire and soothe your customers

This week, we’ve helped one key client support Black History Month. We’ve created a music on hold track list featuring world-renowned black artists. The tracks feature music from iconic artists such as Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers and Marvin Gaye. Their songs represent music styles such as Soul, RnB and reggae, which tie into black history. 

Many of the styles on our playlist originate from Blues, born in the 1800s and founded in the Mississippi Delta of the American south.

In the 1800s, most blues musicians were farmworkers by day and would perform at Juke Joints by night. They would sing songs about life’s hardships and love. 

To escape the misfortune of living in the south, many black communities migrated to the Northern regions of America – particularly Chicago. This caused blues to mix with other styles and inspire multiple genres such as Jazz, Rock’n’roll … and later house music.

Blues is based on a specific six or five-note piano scale progression, which differs from the seven-note scale we typically hear in western music. It also follows a twelve-bar progression based around three different chords played in a specific order. This style is found in multiple genres. For example, Elvis Presley’s recorded version of the blues song by Big Mama Thorton “Hound dog” & The Beatles “Can’t buy me love”.

Unconsciously, music has transcended and connected cultures, breaking social barriers in the process – but why is it so loved and addictive? 

It ignites emotion in us, as well as its psychological effects:

Psychologically: Learned Association – Learned association proposes attaching it to particular emotions when listening to a specific music pattern. This could be happiness or sadness.

Emotionally: Healing – According to Psych2go, music can be medicinal. Firstly, it’s been found to help people suffering from brain damage by initiating neurogenesis (the birth of new brain cells). It’s also been seen to help children with Autism by teaching them to be more collaborative.

Would you like to update your track list this month with inspiring, soothing music? If so, contact me via Who knows, you may run into a few faves.


Seems everybody loves a chatterbot these days

Research from Khoros| Digital care, communities, & social media software, the market size of chatbots will grow from 2.6 billion to 9.4 billion by 2024. The Value Of Chatbots For Today’s Consumers( states 60% of millennials say they’ve used chatbots, while 70% note they’ve had a positive experience. 

There’s no denying that the use of AI conversation is growing at a staggering rate – but why? 

In an age of instant communication, where answers to the world’s questions are available at the click of a few buttons, speed and efficiency are key. When you factor in a global pandemic that requires most of the world’s population to remain indoors, the internet becomes a necessity. As a result, companies around the world have had an increase in customer communication online. This is where chatbots enter. 

A chatbot is an AI program that interacts through instant messaging, artificially replicating the patterns of human interaction, providing companies with many advantages: 

1. Chatbots increase capacity: Companies have websites available 24/7, but they don’t always have staff available to deal with queries from customers. By using chatbots, companies can instantly respond to queries outside business hours and in high demand. Thus increasing their customer service capacity.  

2. Chatbots also create more personalised online experiences: Predetermined answers are set beforehand, allowing companies to implement their voice and language tone. This is where we specialise.

Just this week, we helped Silverstone tackle a huge demand of COVID-related questions about the 2021 British Grand Prix. We’ve created a simple chatbot that helps get fast answers about entry requirements, e-tickets, getting into the event and parking. The chatbot also answers follow-up questions that customers typically have. 

This bot brings together our 20+ years of experience in customer service, behavioural science and conversation design. We applied our knowledge of tone of voice and language to create an extra personalised experience. 

We’d love to hear more about your experiences in using AI and chatbots to improve customer service. Shoot us a message and we can get a conversation going!

About me

Hello world, I’m Daniel and I’m Mazaru’s new Marketing Executive. I’m 22 and in my own time, I LOVE listening to music, going to the gym, playing football and healthy/insightful conversation. 

I joined Mazaru because of their unique, skilled and friendly team; additionally, their wealth of knowledge in dialogue, tone of voice, and language understanding. 

After only being here a few weeks, I can say I’ve learnt and am continuing to learn so much! Plus, they know getting me on board was a Godsend – *wink*. Although I’m still young, I have many ideas that I’d love to see come to fruition; we’ll see how it goes – take care for now.