Voice Variables

By Timothy Dyck  |  Posted 2003-05-05 Print this article Print

Voice Variables

Because so many variables affect speech recognition accuracy, its difficult to know for sure if the approach will work until users can try it for themselves in their own environments.

Officials at ScanSoft—which bought NaturallySpeaking from the bankrupt Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products N.V. in December 2001—claim a 15 percent improvement in accuracy in this release, due in part to an updated Vocabulary Optimizer feature that allows NaturallySpeaking to scan word processor documents or e-mail to determine typical word patterns (see screen).

Tuning NaturallySpeaking to a particular hardware environment was simpler with Version 7 than with past versions weve tested. Microphone testing and customization of recognition dictionaries took us only about 7 minutes.

The software includes six base language profiles to use as starting points for users that have American, British, Australian, Indian or Southeast Asian accents. Interestingly, the American accent profile came in adult and teen versions. (The teen version is customized to handle teen-agers higher-pitched voices.)

Timothy Dyck is a Senior Analyst with eWEEK Labs. He has been testing and reviewing application server, database and middleware products and technologies for eWEEK since 1996. Prior to joining eWEEK, he worked at the LAN and WAN network operations center for a large telecommunications firm, in operating systems and development tools technical marketing for a large software company and in the IT department at a government agency. He has an honors bachelors degree of mathematics in computer science from the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, and a masters of arts degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada.

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