Discussion:
Where did the BBC buy their speech-to-text converter?
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Windmill
2014-07-30 20:09:41 UTC
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I just saw it translate 'draped in the Grenada flag' as 'dropped the
grenade in flight'.

Quickly corrected, of course. I imagine they have a fast typist, and
maybe a built-in 5 second delay loop, rather than AI clever enough to
revise its estimates of the probabilities.

But you have to wonder.
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Richard Tobin
2014-08-01 21:43:23 UTC
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Post by Windmill
I just saw it translate 'draped in the Grenada flag' as 'dropped the
grenade in flight'.
Live subtitling is generally done by phonetic typing, or by computer
speech recognition using a human who repeats the words (this produces
much better results than speech recognition on the original). Neither
of these technologies is perfect...

-- Richard
Windmill
2014-08-04 22:10:15 UTC
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Post by Richard Tobin
Post by Windmill
I just saw it translate 'draped in the Grenada flag' as 'dropped the
grenade in flight'.
Live subtitling is generally done by phonetic typing,
Not sure what that means. Typing phonemes on a special phoneme
keyboard? Or typing the equivalent names on a standard keyboard?
I can see that might be the poor best approach if the typist didn't
know the language he/she was listening to, but surely it'd be very slow
and open to mistranslation even if the typist had an extremely good
ear. (And hopefully no languages incorporating 'click' sounds!)
Post by Richard Tobin
or by computer
speech recognition using a human who repeats the words (this produces
much better results than speech recognition on the original).
I can see that if a translation program had been trained on a
particular person's voice, having that person repeat what he heard
ought to work fairly well. But I doubt if that was happening in the
case which drew my attention (maybe the later correction happened in
that way).

I know that the technology is very good in some applications; about 25
years ago my doubts were proved unjustified when BT's international
directory enquiry system got me the correct number for an establishment
in Vancouver. Leaving me astonished and impressed.

However some of the subtitles you see on TV nowadays are wrong but
comprehensible, some are hilarious, some are libellous, and some defy
the understanding of a non-expert.
Post by Richard Tobin
Neither
of these technologies is perfect...
Indeed. But I wondered if the BBC were using software which was a
spinoff from something originally written for an agency which had a
particular interest in certain words above all others, so that the
weighting of probabilities was skewed.
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Windmill, ***@NoneHome.com Use t m i l l
J.R.R. Tolkien:- @ S c o t s h o m e . c o m
All that is gold does not glister / Not all who wander are lost
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