Automatic information retrieval

Speech Recognition


What if a computer-assisted interpreting tool tool could automatically prompt you - while you are interpreting - with the specialized terminology used at the conference, as well as with numbers, abbreviations, places, etc. without the need to perform any search? At the University of Mainz we are making this dream reality. Through the integration of Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR), InterpretBank is able to boost your interpreting quality, helping you with some difficult aspects of the interpreting process, namely terminology and numbers.

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We have developed this experimental feature with simultaneous interpreters in mind, but it can be used also for other kinds of interpretation, for example in a Remote Interpreting setting. The incredible advancements in ASR technology that we have seen in the last couple of years have boosted the word rate precision to unprecedented values. Nowadays training is no more needed to reach high precision values, and the systems are getting more tolerant to signal noise, accents, etc. This is starting to make ASR feasible for the use in the interpreting setting. Of course, ASR is still not perfect, and there are situations as it still doesn't work the way we would like, for example with uncommon accents or too many people talking at the same time. However, in a classic interpreting setting the quality is already very good (see the following paper by Claudio Fantinuoli for some tests) the quality is expected to keep on increasing in the years to come.

How does it work: InterpretBank takes the transcription generated by an ASR engine of choice and applies its algorithms to prompt the user with:

  • the relevant terminology from an event-glossary: this is a glossary, for example, on medicine. Our ontelligent algorithms will prompt you with the translations of your glossary. InterpretBank is also able to correct minor transcription errors.
  • numbers and thier context: all numbers with thier context will be spotted and highlighted.
  • name of places: the name of places, such as cities and countries, will be spotted and displayed.

The extracted information are shown in an ergonomic way. This allows interpreters to immediately spot the needed information, whenever necessary (just look at the promt when in need of help). InterpretBank acts like as a human boothmate, jotting down relevant info for you. As interpreting is a very complex task involving a lot of cognitive activities, we have designed the user interface to be distraction-free and clean. Nothing should distract you from your main activity - interpreting between the languages.

This technology has the potential to change the way information is retrieved during interpretation in highly specialized settings. However, the integration of ASR in InterpretBank is still an experimental feature and targets, for the moment, universities and institutional clients (but we are looking forward to make it available to all our freelancer).

Are you interested in our technology? Get in touch with us.

Read the article written by Common Sense Advisory, a USA-based think tank for executives and managers.

Video: InterpretBank with ASR, offline