Speech-to-text Translation

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Speech-to-text Translation

What is speech-to-text translation?

The speech-to-text translation is the process of converting spoken words into written words. This process is often referred to as speech recognition. Although these terms are almost synonymous, speech recognition is seldom used to describe the wider process of extracting meaning from speech, i.e. speech understanding.

The definition of voice recognition should be taken into account, as it is often correlated with the process of identifying a person from his or her voice, i.e. the recognition of a speaker.

What is speech-to-text used for?

Speech to text is used to recognize and translate spoken language into text by making use of computational linguistics. It is used in various areas. In customer service, it is employed to extract insights from customer conversations to improve customer experience and increase agent productivity. It can also be used to search media content, and even for adding subtitles to media content. There even is a tool (Amazon Transcribe Medical) that Amazon created to record and document clinical conversations into electronic health record systems for analysis in a faster and more efficient manner, which could pretty much automate data entry and provide immediate access to information.

speech to text translation
Source: Nordic APIs

How does speech-to-text translation work?

There are two crucial elements that you need in order to use your voice recognition software: a working microphone that can pick up your speech and a working Internet connection. Because smartphones are small and have limited space for software, much of the speech-to-text process is conducted on the server. When you speak the words of your message into the microphone, your phone sends the bits of data your spoken words created to a central server, where it can access the appropriate software and corresponding database.

When the data arrives at the server, the software can analyze your speech. Programming-wise, this is the tricky part: The software breaks your speech down into tiny, recognizable parts called phonemes — there are only 44 of them in the English language. It’s the order, combination and context of these phonemes that allows the sophisticated audio analysis software to figure out what exactly you’re saying, like the bread, cheese and sauce that differentiate a pizza from a calzone or a sandwich. For words that are pronounced the same way, such as eight and ate, the software analyzes the context and syntax of the sentence to figure out the best text match for the word you spoke.

In its database, the software then matches the analyzed words with the text that best matches the words you spoke. Before the software was up and running, the software programmers spent many hours connecting the distinct patterns of speech waves that certain words create with the written text of those words. It’s this background that the software draws from when it decides which written words to transmit back to your phone, which then appear on the screen and into the text message composition form. Apple’s software for iPhone covers dictation capabilities for eight languages and their dialects (British, American and Australian English, are all listed separately, for example).

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What are the types of speech-to-text technology?

The types of speech to text technology are:

  • Speaker-dependent technology - this is primarily used for dictation software.
  • Speaker-independent technology - this is widely used for phone applications.

What are the advantages of speech-to-text translation?

Advantages of speech-to-text translation
Advantages of speech-to-text translation

1. Increase profits

Speech-to-text translation technology can positively affect the bottom line. A more efficient workforce is the goal of every organization, and the time saved when voice typing can be spent on other revenue-generating activities.

2. Work on the go

Speech-to-text translator software enables you and your employees to work on the go, further increasing productivity and efficiency. For example, conventional typing isn’t something we’d recommend you do while driving. However, voice typing and driving go hand-in-hand. Summarizing a meeting, creating a to-do list for later, or conducting a quick brainstorm are all things you can easily do using dictation software while commuting.

3. Improved accuracy

The best speech-to-text translation software can now provide you with accuracy rates of over 99%. Not only is this comparable to the accuracy of human transcription, it often surpasses it. Voice typing technology makes it easier than ever to create an accurate transcription of calls, meetings, or informal discussions.

4. Improve your employee experience

Improving employee experience is increasingly seen as a crucial part of modern organizational management. Fortunately, speech-to-text software can help. Voice typing can encourage employees to get outside more and break away from their computers from time to time. Whether in a park or a cafe, employees can use voice typing to complete repetitive and routine writing tasks somewhere they enjoy. 

Encouraging employees to get creative with their voice typing is a great way to support them and create a healthier organizational culture.

5. Improve your organization’s accessibility

Incorporating speech-to-text translation technology into your business operations will make your organization a more accessible one. For many people with disabilities who struggle to type using conventional input methods, voice typing is a game-changer. A well-integrated dictation framework will enable current or future employees to choose a digital input method that suits them.

6. Immediate digitization

Using speech-to-text software enables you to begin transcribing at the beginning of a meeting with a single click. The best speech-to-text software even distinguishes between different speakers, reflecting this in the transcription. At the end of the meeting, the transcription will immediately be available on your device. 

One benefit of this is that employees can immediately highlight and annotate the meeting transcription. This enables them or other meeting participants to reflect on meetings while they are still fresh in their minds, possibly leading to more decisive post-meeting action.

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