Shocking news: Voice to text that works

Published: December 14th, 2007

If you’ve been to a trade show over the last five or six years, you must have seen the demos of software that promises to convert your spoken words into characters in a word processing program. With a little bit of “training” on a single voice, these programs were often capable of rendering prose that, while both surreal and erratically spelled, bore not a passing resemblance to what you said.

So Rogers Wireless’s announcement of a voice-mail-to-text-message service powered by SpinVox left me, shall we say, sceptical. If software that is actually trained to a voice is erratic, how can you expect a machine to recognize and transcribe any old stranger’s voice that leaves you a voice mail?

Well, quelle surprise … The service actually works. Well, I might add.

I threw a few challenges at it after opening with a rather banal “just calling to see if this works” message. It handled the message from an accented



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