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Vietnamese-Made App Wins Top Prize at SXSW

The Vietnamese creators of English-language pronunciation app ELSA took home the top prize at SXSWedu's 2016 Launch Startup competition last week.

CEO Van Dinh Hong Vu, 33, and the app's CPO, 29-year-old Ngo Thuy Ngoc Tu, were awarded top marks for their pronunciation program along with fellow creator and CSO Xavier Anguera, reports Tuoi Tre.

The app, whose name stands for English-Language Speech Assistant, assists non-native English speakers in improving pronunciation through voice recognition software, which identifies the missed or mispronounced sounds in a speaker's words.

Since its launch, ELSA's Android version has been downloaded 7,000 times, while its newer iOS version racked up 2,000 downloads in two days. For Tu, the positive user feedback is a sign the app is working.

“More than 10% of users have cleared all available levels of the app, many of whom responded positively, saying it was the app they had been waiting for,” said Tu, according to Tuoi Tre. “Regular users of the app experienced drastic improvements in their pronunciation and came gradually closer to achieving a native-like accent.”

This year's SXSWedu startup finalists were selected by an advisory board from over 100 applicants whose work contributes to the improvement of early, K-12 and higher education.

[Photo via ELSA, video via YouTube user Khanh Nguyen]

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