Audio Search: Google Gets with the Program

March 27, 2019

Searching audio files has been difficult. Exalead, before Dassault bought the company, dabbled in audio search. One could key in a key word and jump to the segment of a file which contained the word or phrase. That was in 2006, maybe 2007. That was, despite my advanced age and inability to recall the innovations from search and retrieval wizards, more than a decade ago.

I read “Google Podcast in Episode Search Is Coming, Shows Now Being Fully Transcribed.” The write up reports:

Google Podcasts is now automatically generating transcripts of episodes and is using them as metadata to help listeners search for shows, even if they don’t know the title or when it was published.

I spoke with a person who translates audio recordings from one language into English. Here are some highlights from that chat:

  • “Even though I am a native speaker and fluent in English, it is very, very difficult to make out what some people are saying. I slow down the recording. I listen several times. I fiddle with the sound.”
  • “Accents pose a problem. For example, if a person is speaking one language but learned that language by osmosis, the pronunciation is often strange. In some cases, I have no idea what the person speaking is trying to communicate. Some people do not articulate or put the stresses where a native speaker puts them.
  • “Muddled sounds pose big challenges. I am not sure why but even modern recording equipment drops sounds. In some cases, rustling or tapping fuzzes what the person is saying.”

Net net: How accurate will the transcripts be? The answer is going to be like the accuracy scores for facial recognition? Maybe 50 percent to 75 percent accurate out of the gate. But better than nothing, when one wants to sell ads which match the translated key words, right? Will Steve Gibson stop creating transcripts of Security Now? Probably not.

Stephen E Arnold, March 27, 2019


Comments are closed.

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Meta