Questions About "Speech-to-Text"

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Questions About "Speech-to-Text"

Postby Tape Splicer » Sun Oct 19, 2014 3:13 pm

A friend of ours asked about transcribing spoken word to text via "speech - to - text" technology. The fellow is retired, on a fixed budget.
The questions posed to me were:
1) Will a microphone plugged into a computer accurately pick up spoken work from a portable cassette machine speaker?
2) What software is required to accomplish the above task without blowing out the bank account?
The alternative is having someone type the text as the tape is played. .
The floor is now open for discussion.
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Re: Questions About "Speech-to-Text"

Postby jon » Sun Oct 19, 2014 3:20 pm

Last time I checked, the conventional wisdom of the last 30 years was still correct: error rates are high enough that a good touch typist can transcribe faster than someone could find and correct all the errors made by the software.
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Re: Questions About "Speech-to-Text"

Postby PMC » Mon Oct 20, 2014 9:14 am

Tape Splicer wrote:A friend of ours asked about transcribing spoken word to text via "speech - to - text" technology. The fellow is retired, on a fixed budget.
The questions posed to me were:
1) Will a microphone plugged into a computer accurately pick up spoken work from a portable cassette machine speaker?


The cassette can be recorded to MP3, but there is no software to read random text and type it, that is free. A dictionary is required to read and match spoken words, and none exists.

Tape Splicer wrote:The alternative is having someone type the text as the tape is played. .


Touch typists can do 200 wpm today... but they charge for the same by the hour.
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Re: Questions About "Speech-to-Text"

Postby Tape Splicer » Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:58 am

Jon, PMC; Thank you both for your input.... Yours were the two folks I was hoping to hear from on this item. I your short concise answers will now be cut and pasted into an emailed to the fellow involved. Thanks again TS
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Re: Questions About "Speech-to-Text"

Postby Mike Cleaver » Mon Oct 20, 2014 11:05 am

I've been using this since it became available.
I've used some of the very expensive software programs.
Many were pretty awful.
I currently use the one built in to MS 8.1.
The better quality microphone you use, the better the programs work.
The more quiet the environment where you are working, the better the results.
The more you use the program, the better it learns to recognize what you are saying.
The more clearly you speak, the results improve markedly.
Until you learn to use it and the formatting commands, it will be frustrating.
As anything else, the learning curve can be steep but after you master it and use it more frequently, it is very efficient.
My keyboarding rate is in the high hundreds per minute.
I still keyboard for short notes and messages.
But for long texts, voice recognition software, after you master the intricacies, certainly can speed up what you are doing.
Many technical people, doctors, lawyers, etc. have been using this successfully for years.
Even smart phones now do a pretty good job of speech to text.
Mike Cleaver Broadcast Services
Engineering, News, Voice work and Consulting
Vancouver, BC, Canada

54 years experience at some of Canada's Premier Broadcasting Stations
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Re: Questions About "Speech-to-Text"

Postby Tape Splicer » Mon Oct 20, 2014 6:17 pm

Mike; Thank you for your comments as well. They have also been cut and pasted into an email and passed on to the inquiring mind in question. I believe I've heard from "the three wise men" of " Radio West" on this subject.... Quite a "think tank", or "brain trust" if you will.
For your interest the fellow in question is eighty and wants to convert lecture material (some 200 cassettes worth to text)... quite a job ahead of him.
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Re: Questions About "Speech-to-Text"

Postby PMC » Mon Oct 20, 2014 8:07 pm

I believe the guy should keep these as MP3/MP4. If they are lectures, the listener gets the real deal and the source. It is simple to record from a cassette to mp3, using the sound card within the computer. After the files exist as MP3, then feed them through the latest software if desired to see if it can make sense of it all... again it comes down to a dictionary of the words.
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Re: Questions About "Speech-to-Text"

Postby Tape Splicer » Mon Oct 20, 2014 9:39 pm

PMC; As I understand the fellow, he wants to publish the work in written form ...
I've spoken to him about creating MP3 files of his life's work... this also might be under consideration, but going to a print format for the work is uppermost in his mind. Thanks for the followup.
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Re: Questions About "Speech-to-Text"

Postby jon » Tue Oct 21, 2014 1:02 pm

One of our readers suggested this page for information on testing the technology at no cost:
http://www.techsupportalert.com/content ... rowser.htm
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Re: Questions About "Speech-to-Text"

Postby Tape Splicer » Tue Oct 21, 2014 10:59 pm

jon wrote:One of our readers suggested this page for information on testing the technology at no cost:
http://www.techsupportalert.com/content ... rowser.htm

Thanks Jon and "friend" ... I'll pass the information on. TS
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Re: Questions About "Speech-to-Text"

Postby PMC » Wed Oct 22, 2014 3:48 pm

Wanted to add to this because of the stated age of the man who would be doing the work, and my personal production experience.

Converting all the tapes to mp3 will save the content, because cassette tapes do not retain their contents. A while back I found an old cassette and could only salvage 30 minutes of the 45 minute tape. The tape was recorded back in the early 80's.

If the translation software only does this, a sentence at a time, the cassette player would not take the punishment. It was stated he has 200 tapes.

It is far easier to replay or cue an mp3 sequence than a cassette sequence.

I wish him the best in the translation.
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