Speech Technology Magazine

 

Speechmatics Builds 46 Languages in Just 6 Weeks

Speechmatics put its Automatic Linguist AI framework to the test during Phase 1 of Project Omniglot to learn as many languages as possible.
Posted Nov 29, 2017
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Speechmatics, a provider of automatic speech recognition technology, has completed Project Omniglot, an internal innovation challenge, having built 46 speech-to-text languages in just six weeks. This brings the total number of supported languages to 72.

Due to the speed at which the languages were produced automatically, Speechmatics is offering them for free initially.

This initial phase of Project Omniglot has proven that the machine learning framework behind Speechmatics' Automatic Linguist (AL) artificial intelligence framework works. It can automatically learn the sounds (phonemes) of a language as well as the grammar and semantics to determine which sentences make sense.

"We are already seeing a shift to a speech-enabled future where voice is the primary form of communication. Transcription not only eases the lives of many people but opens the door for new opportunities, especially in regions with lower literacy rates," said Benedikt von Thüngen, CEO of Speechmatics, in a statement. "As a company, we have focused on accuracy and deployability, whereas through AL and Project Omniglot we focused on increasing our language coverage. As a team we are very humbled and impressed by the results we have achieved and are excited by the potential opportunities we will now enable. We would love for people to try the new languages, give us feedback, and see how we can develop them from there."

"The framework we've created works completely autonomously and so efficiently that we can experiment with languages that would otherwise be uneconomic to build. Also, it now gives us the ability to iterate rapidly on any given language and improve them at an unprecedented pace," said Tom Ash, speech recognition director at Speechmatics, in a statement. "We have built [automatic speech recognition]for languages spoken by communities in the Philippines, India, or central Asia, all of which are often overlooked. There are over 7,000 languages in the world, and our ultimate goal is to make speech recognition technology available to as many as possible."


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