July 21, 2010

Speech Recognition: There Actually Is An Open Source Solution

If you happen to have followed the path of speech recognition software over the years, you know that it's been a rocky road. Pundits ranging from Ray Kurzweil to Bill Gates, have, at various times, proclaimed speech recognition to be the wave of the computing future, but you probably rely on mice, keyboards and pointing devices to interact with computers more than microphones. Today, there is an interesting query posted on Slashdot, asking whether there is any free, open source software in this area. Well is there?

Speech recognition software has gotten better over the years, but the problem with it remains that it's in the neighborhood of 90 percent accurate--if you train the software to get used to your inflections--and that's not good enough for some people. It is good enough for some, though. I know some journalists who do all their transcriptions with Dragon's proprietary software, or with IBM's ViaVoice. But what are the open source alternatives?

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