Google Voice Transcription

During one of our panels at Balticon Thomas Gideon and I were speculating on automated transcription and the idea came out to try Google Voice (previously called Grand Central). I happen to have a GV account, so I agreed to give it a shot.

I had time this morning, so I made some attempts. In short, it didn’t work.

I’m not entirely sure why it didn’t work. As I play back the recordings that were made, the volume seems ample. The podcast recordings come across like somebody on a speakerphone, which I think would be a common practice for somebody calling you from a car.

It may be that Google hasn’t tackled taking on multiple voices yet and simply cancels the transcription process when a certain percentage of the attempt fails. My control recordings show that a short message transcribes well (even if all words aren’t 100%), but when I make up a bunch of words the transcription is “not available”.

It is also possible that it is just the phone I was using. I’ve received a few voicemails from people “in the wild” and the transcription was much more accurate. I’d say around 95%, where even the successful control test totally munged the end of the quote.

Here are the files and results:

  • Control recording which was successful
    • Transcription text: “hi presented quotes by thomas jefferson a government big enough to supply you with everything you need is the government big enough to takeaway everything that you have the courses history shows that i got a very close to pretty decreases”
  • Control recording which was unsuccessful
  • ITB recording which was unsuccessful
  • TheCommandLine recording which was unsuccessful. (excerpted from his show released May 7, 2009).

If you have an idea of a different approach let me know and I’ll be happy to try it!

With all that being said:

As a traditional voicemail service Google Voice absolutely rocks and the transcription is really cool. Above and beyond the actual coolness of having a transcription of people’s voicemails, the web interface is very slick in how they are presented. The text of the transcript is just below the audio transport bar.

Sample of a Google Voice transcription
Sample of a Google Voice transcription

Words that Google thinks it got correct are traditional black text. Words that it wasn’t sure of are gray. As you play the voicemail it actually highlights each word as they’re spoken and if you click and drag the progress pointer the word highlights follow the movement. Very slick.

Perhaps Google may shoot off an automated transcription service. I’m sure it would be in support of audio web searches, with inevitable Adwords, of course. It sure would make a lot of podcaster’s lives easier!

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/

But Honey, It's For The Studio

This is the audio from a panel I spoke on at Balticon 43 over Memorial Day weekend. A special thanks to my fellow panelists: PG Holyfield, Scott Sigler, and MAinPA.

I believe that this was the first panel I was on during the weekend, and was chosen as “moderator” on the spot without having any notes or talking points to go from. Luckily, we all talk a lot, so there wasn’t a lack of content 🙂

From the Balticon program:
Upgrading your gear is a serious temptation. In these trying economic times, bargains abound and the desire for some new shiny device in your studio sometimes outweighs the other factors in your life. Our panel of technophiles talk about what’s out there, where to buy it cheap, and when you should buy it. We all love our gear, but we shouldn’t deprive our families of food and shelter for the next new gadget.

Advanced Digital Recording

This is the audio from a panel I spoke on at Balticon 43 over Memorial Day weekend. A special thanks to my fellow panelists: Thomas ‘Cmdln’ Gideon, Dan the Fan.

The version I am posting is not edited for content, but has been processed to remove noise and (hopefully) make it more listenable.

Cmdln has posted his own recording from this panel at Archive.org in uncompressed FLAC, MP3, and Ogg Vorbis formats.

From the Balticon program:
This session will go beyond the basics of recording a voice with your built in audio program. We will give an overview of the various types of audio recording equipment and techniques of non-linear audio editing. This should help you in creating advanced productions such as multi-voice dramatizations, music recording and mixing, as well as carry over into video production.

This session will cover: mixing board types and interfaces; microphone types; non-linear audio editing and effects (cut, shift, cross fade, noise reduction, compression, noise gating); multi-track mixing and recording different audio resources.

Products we discussed during the recording:

After The Recording Is Done

This is the audio from a panel I spoke on at Balticon 43 over Memorial Day weekend. A special thanks to my fellow panelists: Noblis Reed, Tyler Waldman, and Thomas ‘Cmdln’ Gideon.

The version I am posting is not edited for content, but has been processed to remove noise and (hopefully) make it more listenable.

Cmdln has posted his own recording from this panel at Archive.org in uncompressed FLAC, MP3, and Ogg Vorbis formats.

From the Balticon program:
There are a lot of tutorials, presentations, and classes on how to record a podcast but when it gets to posting and sharing your cast, things seem to get glossed over. There are many components working in concert to make a podcast feed. This session aims to explain what each of those components are and how they function together. Further, we hope to show you how you can save money by picking and choosing what services provide each piece.

This session will cover: choosing a hosting provider, choosing blog/podcast software; tagging mp3s; writing show notes; uploading files to a host; posting an episode; feed creation; and finally statistics/tracking.