Easy English Communication
Workgroup collaboration on systems such as WebEx.com work well for discussing a topic and making decisions, as long as all of the participants speak the same language. At IBM’s China Research Laboratory, a new project called Easy English Communication is underway that uses audio, video, and text in a Web conferencing session, where a text stream is generated automatically by a speech transcription engine.
The text transcription is important because it is a more accurate way to do real-time translation. Speech-to-speech translation systems tend to be error-prone, not only in the pronunciation but in the translation itself. For speech-to-text transcriptions, error rates are only about 10% when the speaker users a near-field microphone, compared to greater than 20% error rate for standard speech recognition systems.
“EEC proposes an alternative approach [to speech recognition] using real-time speech transcription, called captions, to help non-native speakers achieve a better comprehension in computer-mediated communication,” says Yong Qin, the senior manager leading the speech team at IBM Research in China.