The language of Romance

Ceramic Bench Park Guell - Barcelona SpainWhen we hear Catalan nowadays we think of Barcelona, of Gaudí, of Miró and the strange sounding language with hints of Spanish that so many Barcelona dwellers speak – and this makes us question why we bothered learning Spanish at school.
However, the breadth and depth of Catalan stretches much further than that. It is spoken across Catalonia and in various variants in Valencia, the Balearics, parts of France, Sardinia and even appearing as the official language of Andorra.
It is a language that has had a potted history, declared socially unacceptable or illegal on numerous occasions throughout Spain’s past, yet it has continually rebounded even having its own Reneixença (renaissance) in the 19th century. Today, there are between 10 and 15 million speakers worldwide. And while it shares similarities to its cousins of the Romance languages evolved from Latin (predominantly Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian) – Catalan is very much its own language with a rich history of poetry, culture, art and important agency across industry, politics and commerce.
This became particularly notable last year when we released our Spanish automatic speech recognition system which generated significant interest across Spain, South America and beyond. However, we also quickly realised that, whether for call centres or media monitoring, education or subtitling – potential customers had a need for Catalan as well. Spanish was a good start but for true coverage across Spanish-speaking countries we simply had to have Catalan.
The Speechmatics languages team took it on as part of our traditional Christmas hackathon, and within 2 weeks we had a fully operating system that is available on our website and has already attracted significant interest with users across both our public cloud-based platform and private on-premises implementation.
Carme Calduch, a Catalan Lecteur of Cambridge and Queen Mary University of London tested our cloud-based Catalan transcription service. “Speechmatics has developed a fantastic tool, doing a manual transcription is a laborious task and using this service I was able to obtain a transcript in less than 3 minutes. It is completely automatic, and the result was impressive, because the quality of the transcription is very good. Without a doubt, I’d recommend using this service – it will be really useful to professionals across multiple industries.”
With the list of languages available rapidly growing on the Speechmatics speech recognition system – we welcome everyone to sign-up for a free trial of our public speech transcription service at www.speechmatics.com.

Ricardo Herreros-Symons, Speechmatics

Detecting the pattern of speech

By now it is pretty obvious that speech recognition is taking over the world, and so long as it doesn’t go all Hal 9000 on us, then the future looks very interactive. The promise of a world where light, TVs and coffee machines can be activated without touch has already been realised. But this is a (relatively) simple process of crosschecking what the device thinks it has heard and comparing it to a known list of commands (I have completely oversimplified this – the time taken to reach this technical epoch of voice control is some indication as to the complexity of the process).

We are now seeing more companies working on tech which can delve into the complexities of our voice. Banks are now using your voice as your password, emotion engines can detect your emotion when calling a call centre to give the operative a heads-up if things are about to go south and suggest actions they can take to resolve the issue.

The latest breakthrough comes from Canary Speech – a US start-up – which has developed a way of analysing phone conversations for several neurological diseases, ranging from Parkinsons to Dementia.

A pinch of reality may be required though. This is early stages for the start up. Don’t expect GPs to be replaced anytime soon by a microphone but there is no reason not to think that between machine learning and voice recognition we couldn’t start to see chatbots being used for front line GP care – culminating in the inevitable prescription of Ibuprofen, a staple of the British doctor. The tech that Canary are investigating is not yet fully mature, they will need to rely heavily on using large data sets over a sensible period of time to teach their machine how to effectively identify a problem.

How this technology will be rolled out is a big issue to consider. At the moment, most calls to call centres are recorded for monitoring and quality purposes – that’s monitoring of the call centre operatives, not the caller.  I’m not sure there are many people who would appreciate being told by Vodafone that they have identified them to have signs of dementia. That’s all yet to be ironed out as we get to grips with more of our data being analysed.

From Speechmatics’ point of view the more research that goes into using neural networks and machine learning the better. In-house we are getting better and better at finding more efficient ways of changing speech to text. We are able to do now on a phone – what five years ago – required banks of graphics processors. This has come about because the collective knowledge that computer science has developed in the last 5 years has advanced so much. Research breeds research. The more uses for speech recognition the more ways it can be streamlined.

Luke Berry, Speechmatics

Speechmatics closes growth funding round from leading tech investors.

Speechmatics (http://www.speechmatics.com), the Cambridge-based speech technology company, has received investment from multiple leading investors to accelerate the commercial roll-out of its products. Founded by Chief Technology Officer Dr Tony Robinson, who pioneered PhD research into Recurrent Neural Networks in the 1980s, Speechmatics has developed a unique machine learning technology to harness the full potential of speech technology.

“This is an exciting time to be in speech recognition”, comments Robinson. “We are at the forefront of how deep neural networks are changing speech recognition. With our ever expanding and highly experienced R&D team, we continue to push the boundaries in speech technology, especially around languages, accuracy and deployment.”

The firm received investment from several sources, including technology venture capitalist IQ Capital, AI/machine learning specialist and technology investors Amadeus Capital Partners and a number of leading technology investors including Laurence Garrett (Highland Capital Europe), Cambridge Professor Ted Briscoe, a world expert in Natural Language Processing, as well as co-founders of CSR, and Richard Gibson (previously Exec Chairman at SwiftKey).

Benedikt von Thüngen, CEO of Speechmatics, said: “Over the past two years Speechmatics has seen substantial growth, entirely through cash-flow. The addition of these highly-experienced investors as advisors to the business will help accelerate the on-going commercialisation of our technology and place speech recognition technology at the heart of all communications.”

Ed Stacey, Partner at IQ Capital Partners, added: “Speechmatics’ disruptive technology has significantly greater accuracy than competitors such as Google, IBM or Microsoft, which opens up many new commercial opportunities for speech recognition – from call compliance driven by legislation such as MiFID II and PCI DSS, to content discovery and speech analytics in order to spot trends and understand the voice of the customer.”

With a simple set-up and a combination of cloud and on-premise based solutions, Speechmatics technology enables businesses to generate data about customers and employees which is harnessed to improve process, efficiency, and benefit the bottom line. Speechmatics is now even more equipped to help clients navigate the complex changes in technology, to generate business insights, and to facilitate more powerful communications in the digital age.

In 2016, Speechmatics launched its new AI framework, Auto-Auto, which enables the company to add almost any language automatically. Since building the framework, Speechmatics has released a new language every two weeks, including most European languages, and Greek, Russian and Arabic.

Speechmatics has a successful track record of delivering exceptional results across a wide range of applications and industries: for example, language assessment with Cambridge English or content discovery with Udemy. Other applications include call centre analytics, call compliance, sub-titling, interview & lecture transcription and media monitoring. Speechmatics has developed highly accurate universal models that work across use cases and industries and do not need to be individually trained.

Tony Robinson’s world-class research team utilises the latest ML and AI technology to offer continual improvements in accuracy, an ever-increasing range of languages and new business applications. This technology is also designed to integrate with other applications in the workplace to generate value and insight.
Richard Gibson, recently appointed Chairman, said: “I am excited to be working with another successful game-changing deep technology company out of Cambridge. With this funding, Speechmatics will be able to harness the true potential of its technology and accelerate its commercial roll-out.”

-Ends-

For press enquiries:
Charles King, PR advisor to Speechmatics
Email – Charles.king@weareoctopusgroup.net
Telephone –  020 3837 3769

Japanese language launched on world-leading Speechmatics ASR platform

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Speechmatics today released it’s Japanese language pack to our cloud-based and on-premise Speech Recognition platform.

Proving again the power and flexibility of the Auto-Auto language creation framework, releasing Japanese underlines our commitment to deliver broad language coverage to our rapidly expanding new and existing customer base.

Misquoting Orwell: “All languages are equal, but some languages are more equal than others.”

Benoît Brard from our Languages team here in Cambridge, “For Auto-Auto, some languages are indeed more challenging than others. And Japanese, at first sight, looked scary: our first language without spaces, with a logographic writing system (where the characters represent concept rather than sounds), and no native speakers to hand. It was… all Greek to us. Nonetheless, in a matter of days and a few nudges in places, Auto-Auto has proved to be generic and powerful enough to deliver our first Japanese model without further human intervention.”

Available immediately on the http://www.speechmatics.com web service, we encourage everyone to come give us a try.

Speechmatics release Finnish language capability

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To mark this festive time of year Speechmatics is delighted to announce the immediate availability of our Finnish language capability, in case any visitors from Lapland get lost and need to send an email via speech-to-text, especially late at night on Christmas eve. It’s easier to speak than it is to type when wearing thick winter gloves and riding in a sleigh.

It has been a momentous year for Speechmatics. Our world-leading Speech Recognition platform continues to stay ahead both in accuracy and efficiency, and with our AutoAuto language creation framework we have now released 18 languages, with more to come.

Speechmatics wish everyone a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.

 

 

10,000 sign-ups

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Speechmatics is pleased to report that we have achieved an important milestone in our mission to be the world-leading provider of cloud and on-premise Speech Technologies.

We have reached a 10,000 active user count for our cloud-based speech recognition and time alignment service. With users ranging from the largest multinational corporations, governments, universities and charities, who transcribe anything from telephone calls to recorded interviews to audio/video broadcasts, all the way through to individual students transcribing lecture notes.

Neil MacDonald , Chief Revenue Officer, commented “What is amazing is the speed at which our sign-up cadence is increasing…we expect the next 10,000 users are proverbially just around the corner”

Speechmatics ranked as a fastest-growing company on Deloitte 2016 Technology Fast 500 EMEA list

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Percent revenue growth 502% attributed to developing a highly accurate speech recognition system in multiple languages

Cambridge, United Kingdom, 12th December 2016 — Speechmatics today announced it was ranked as one of the Deloitte Technology Fast 500™ EMEA list, a ranking of the 500 fastest-growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and energy tech companies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Speechmatics grew 502% percent during this period.

Speechmatics’ CEO, Benedikt von Thuengen says “this growth has only been possible because of the brilliance of our technology team led by Tony Robinson (Founder and CTO), who have built a highly accurate and very easy to use speech recognition system that made it very easy to sell”. The technology is now being used across a highly diverse number of use cases, ranging from call recording solutions to content discovery. The recent revenue growth has been fantastic and this year we launched nearly 20 languages which should support strong revenue growth going forward.”

“Innovation is more than technological advancement; it’s also a state of mind,” said Paul Sallomi, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and global technology, media and telecommunications industry leader. “The winners of the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 program in EMEA recognize that this new type of thinking is essential for business success. We look forward to your continued leadership in introducing new tools that can enhance the personal lives of consumers, and drive growth for companies worldwide.”

About the Deloitte 2016 Technology Fast 500 EMEA program

The Deloitte Technology Fast 500™ EMEA program is an objective industry ranking focused on the technology ecosystem. It recognizes technology companies that have achieved the fastest rates of revenue growth in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) during the past four years. The program is supported by the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 initiatives, which rank high-growth technology companies by location or specifically defined geographic area, and are run by the Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited’s Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) global industry group. More information on the program and prior year winners is available at www.deloitte.com/fast500emea.

Now in its sixteenth year, the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA program in 2016 included over 20 countries, including Belgium, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey and the UK. This year’s winners were selected based on percentage fiscal-year revenue growth from 2012 to 2015.

In 2016, Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA companies achieved revenue growth ranging from 212 percent to 28,126 percent from 2012 to 2015, with median growth of 967 percent.

 

About Deloitte

As used in this document, “Deloitte” refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee (“DTTL”), its network of member firms, and their related entities. DTTL and each of its member firms are legally separate and independent entities. DTTL (also referred to as “Deloitte Global”) does not provide services to clients. Please see www.deloitte.com/about to learn more about our global network of member firms.

About Speechmatics

Speechmatics (www.speechmatics.com) provides the world’s smartest speech technology harnessing the latest advances in deep learning.

Founded in 2006 Speechmatics draws on the technologies pioneered by Dr Tony Robinson during his PhD research into Recurrent Neural Networks in the 1980s and has developed new ways of using deep learning. These are combined with the very latest developments from academia and industry.

The automatic speech recognition system powers a wide range of different applications that all depend on converting speech to text as the initial step. Speechmatics has developed universal models that can be used in any use case without any further training. As a result, Speechmatics’ clients are using technology to improve their commercial value, ranging from data predictive analytics to language assessment or content discovery.

Speechmatics has a world class, international research R&D team comprising of multiple PhD researchers. Their unique approach to deep learning pushes the boundaries of what is possible in speech recognition, enabling faster, more accurate and more powerful communications in the digital age.

This technology enables businesses to get a better understanding of their customers and employees, allowing organisations to improve efficiency and daily processes, across many languages, and re-establish speech as the main form of human: machine interaction.

 

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