Wisconsin Relay Service Tests Speech Recognition
We've been hearing that voice recognition technology might be the
"next big thing" for people with hearing loss for a long time.
It seems it's always just a year or two away from being ready for prime
time. It looks like it may have finally arrived! The Wisconsin Relay
Service is going to start using Voice Recognition to speed its relay
calls. The technology is part of an Ultratec product called Fastran.
One of the problems with traditional relay is that it is slow. People
talk at 150 to 200 words a minute, but a skilled typist can only type
about 60 words a minute. So it takes considerably longer for the
Communications Assistant (CA) to type the spoken message than it took
for the hearing person to say it. Voice recognition offers the
possibility of having the typed text nearly keep up with the spoken
Because the voice recognition software must be trained on the voice
of each speaker, it can't "listen" to the hearing person and
convert that speech to text. Instead, the software is trained on the
voice of the CA, who repeats what the hearing person says into the voice
recognition system, which converts it to text that is sent to the TTY.
I'll be anxious to hear what people think of this new service. So if
you live in Wisconsin, please watch for it and let us know how it works!