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Apr 4, 2018 | Read time 2 min

Speechmatics’ Custom Dictionary helps live broadcasters never get names wrong in subtitles again

The easy-to-use interface allows customers to quickly add context specific words to Speechmatics’ dictionary simply via text Today, Speechmatics is announcing the launch of Custom Dictionary, a new feature for the company’s current speech-to-text transcription offering. Live broadcast subtitling has a recognized problem when it comes to names and place names. Custom Dictionary (CD) lets users add context specific words in real-time such as footballer names or breaking news locations, instantly increasing the accuracy.

Traditionally, transcription providers would have to train each specific model for a customer to include special words. However, setting up a new model has typically been very time-consuming, usually requiring an overnight rebuild. Custom Dictionary streamlines the entire process by putting the customer in control and allowing them to add new words in plain text to “teach” the model, regardless of use case or language context. CD enables users to define the context of a conversation in advance, and input those difficult terms into the dictionary, so that when they do come up they are transcribed without error. For example, sports subtitling is dramatically improved with prior input of player names, venues and club names. While developing CD, accuracy remained a top priority, as customers indicated this to be key to improving their value propositions. Speechmatics has successfully improved on its accuracy rates and already comprehensive dictionary by dynamically adapting to the context of individual use cases. When compared directly to Google’s Cloud Speech, and with both Speechmatics’ CD and Google’s API “hints” features enabled, Speechmatics produced a transcript that was more than 12% more accurate*.

Benedikt von Thüngen, CEO at Speechmatics, explained:

“Accuracy is still the key metric for speech recognition systems and it has remained top of mind throughout the development of our solutions at Speechmatics. Understanding what has been said is key and everyone speaks using different acronyms and terminology that is bespoke to them. With CD we now offer the first step towards personalised transcription. At Speechmatics, we pride ourselves on unparalleled accuracy rates, and Custom Dictionary allows us to take our speech-to-text transcription from great to awesome. People often don’t realise how much language is evolving, it’s nowhere near as static as you’d think. This means that as a transcription provider, we have to keep up with this evolution and address our customers’ needs, regardless of their industry. Custom Dictionary is the perfect solution to this problem – not only is it incredibly simple to use, but it’s also very smart and can recognise context and pairs of words to make sure it gets the spelling right.”

Ian Firth, VP of Products at Speechmatics, explained:

“In case of the broadcast industry, for example, closed captioning is an area that desperately needs improvement. From the outdated re-speaking approach to very awkward blunders, the lack of innovation can cause a lot of errors. Custom Dictionary simplifies and improves closed captioning for broadcast.”

The technology can be used in a number of industries, from broadcast and surveillance services, to financial organisations and conduct risk assessment, a vast number of companies use transcription for keyword spotting, real-time captioning and compliance. To try a demo of Custom Dictionary at NAB in Las Vegas, 7th – 12th April, visit Speechmatics at booth SU7813.