What is speech to text?

Speech to text is a speech recognition software that enables the recognition and translation of spoken language into text through computational linguistics. It is also known as speech recognition or computer speech recognition. Specific applications, tools, and devices can transcribe audio streams in real-time to display text and act on it.

How does speech to text work?

Speech to text is software that works by listening to audio and delivering an editable, verbatim transcript on a given device. The software does this through voice recognition. A computer program draws on linguistic algorithms to sort auditory signals from spoken words and transfer those signals into text using characters called Unicode. Converting speech to text works through a complex machine learning model that involves several steps. Let's take a closer look at how this works:

  1. When sounds come out of someone's mouth to create words, it also makes a series of vibrations. Speech to text technology works by picking up on these vibrations and translating them into a digital language through an analog to digital converter.
  2. The analog-to-digital-converter takes sounds from an audio file, measures the waves in great detail, and filters them to distinguish the relevant sounds.
  3. The sounds are then segmented into hundredths or thousandths of seconds and are then matched to phonemes. A phoneme is a unit of sound that distinguishes one word from another in any given language. For example, there are approximately 40 phonemes in the English language.
  4. The phonemes are then run through a network via a mathematical model that compares them to well-known sentences, words, and phrases.
  5. The text is then presented as text or a computer-based demand based on the audio’s most likely version.

What are the types of speech to text technology?

There are two main types of speech to text technology:

  1. Speaker-dependent: Mainly used for dictation software.
  2. Speaker-independent: Often used for phone applications.

These two speech recognition systems rely on software and services to function adequately, with the main type being built-in dictation technology. Many devices now have built-in dictation tools, such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets

What are the applications of speech to text?

Speech to text has quickly transcended from everyday use on phones in homes to applications in industries like marketing, banking, and medical. Speech recognition applications reveal how voice to text technology can increase the efficiency of simple tasks and extend to tasks that humans have traditionally performed.

Call analytics and agent assist

Using a tool like Transcribe Call Analytics allows you to extract actionable insights from customer conversations quickly, enabling improvements in customer engagement and increasing agent productivity.

Media content search

Amazon transcribe converts audio and video assets into searchable archives. It also allows users to improve the reach and accessibility of content by generating localized subtitles in combination with Amazon Translate.

Marketing is one of the leading industries to draw on speech to text through media content search. The introduction of voice-search allows for information about trends in data and consumer behavior for marketers.

For example, speech recognition provides information on people's accents and vocabulary, interpreting age, location, and other important demographics. Speaking is also a much more conversational search mode, allowing marketers to incorporate conversational keywords to stay ahead of trends.

Media subtitling

Amazon transcribe can also capture meetings and conversations through the digital scribe function, improving productivity, accessibility, and streamlining important notes.

Clinical documentation

Amazon Transcribe Medical is a tool for medical professionals to quickly and efficiently record clinical conversations into electronic health record systems for analysis. For example, in banking, speech to text is used through voice-activated customer service. In the healthcare sector, speech to text helps improve efficiency by providing immediate access to information and inputting data.

Why should you use speech to text?

Like all forms of technology, speech to text has many benefits that help us improve daily processes. These are some of the main advantages of using speech to text:

  • Save time: Automatic speech recognition technology saves time by delivering accurate transcripts in real-time.
  • Cost-efficient: Most speech to text software has a subscription fee, and a few services are free. However, the cost of the subscription is far more cost-efficient than hiring human transcription services.
  • Enhance audio and video content: Speech to text capabilities mean that audio and video data can be converted in real-time for subtitling and fast video transcription.
  • Streamline the customer experience: By drawing on natural language processing, the customer experience is transformed through ease, accessibility, and seamlessness.

What are the limitations of speech to text?

New technologies like speech to text don't come without imperfection, and these are some of the main limitations of speech to text:

  • It isn't perfect: While dictation technology is a powerful tool, it is still in its early days,which means there are some gaps in its overall performance. Because it produces verbatim text only, you can end up with an inaccurate or awkward transcript or missing specific quotations.
  • Requires human input: Because speech to text lacks complete accuracy, some human edits to the speech data are required for optimal usage.
  • Requires clean recordings: To get a quality transcript from voice recognition software, you need to ensure the recorded audio is clear and intelligible. This means there needs to be no background noise, adequate pronunciation, no accents, and one person speaking at a time. You also need to provide voice commands for punctuation.

How to choose free speech to text software vs. paid?

Free speech to text software is helpful if you are on a limited budget. However, if you want to transcribe a large volume of audio to text you will need more robust software. Paid speech to text software is often more accurate, faster, and has added features and support.

Most free speech to text software:

  1. Do not offer quality technical support.
  2. Do not offer the greatest speed or accuracy.
  3. Have a limited capacity.
  4. Require a lot of extra editing on your part.

How to choose the best speech to text software?

With so many options available, choosing the best speech to text software can be challenging. Use the checklist below to assess the different speech to text software and make the best choice for you:

  1. No additional software is required - The most accessible speech to text software relies on an internet connection rather than additional software.
  2. Accuracy level is guaranteed - All speech to text services offer a degree of certainty. Some services have a greater focus on transcription, which ensures extra accuracy.
  3. Multi-language support - If you need multi-language support, you will need to choose a speech to text software that meets your language needs.
  4. App compatibility - Some speech to text services can be added to apps, which is important if you wish to use the software across multiple platforms.

How to use Amazon Transcribe for speech to text?

Using automatic speech recognition (ASR), Amazon Transcribe converts speech to text quickly and accurately. Amazon Transcribe offers a range of accessible tools for various uses including call analytics, medical transcriptions, subtitling, and generating metadata for media assets. To get started, simply sign up for a free AWS account and start transcribing with the free speech to text option today.

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