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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Dave Webb
Dave Webb is a freelance editor and writer. A veteran journalist of more than 20 years' experience (15 of them in technology), he has held senior editorial positions with a number of technology publications. He was honoured with an Andersen Consulting Award for Excellence in Business Journalism in 2000, and several Canadian Online Publishing Awards as part of the ComputerWorld Canada team.