Depending on your interpretation, the assumption is that animals speak in the human sense of the words. Animals communicate through a wide variety of means, ranging from sound and, what we interpret as expression, to posture and scent. Understanding the "speech" of animals involves interpreting and understanding these factors correctly.
Theoretically a better ability to do this could be imparted. However, it can also be argued that the very act of working such an elaborate ritual indicates a keen interest and observation of animals in the first place, which in itself affords a deeper understanding of the manner in which they communicate.