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July 8, 2008 /

MacWorld Review of the Soundbooth Beta and Speech Search

Here’s a link to the MacWorld First Looks at the beta of the next version of Soundbooth.

All in all it’s a good review. The one thing I did want to respond to were the reviewer’s comments about the new speech search feature.

The reviewer’s results in creating speech to text transcripts were only about 50% accurate. The accuracy of the transcripts generated by the speech engine will vary depending on the quality of the audio and the type of speech. It will work best with broadcast quality audio like news feeds. One way to test this is to pick up a newspaper or magazine and record your own voice reading a news article. There you will see results in the 90% accuracy range. (Any USB mic will work fine for this and if you don’t have one Blue Microphones makes a couple very nice affordable USB mics called the Snowball and the Snowflake).

Now as the reviewer noted even with a 50% accurate transcript the speech engine will capture enough keywords to enable you to easily search through your audio stream. This really speaks to the heart of what makes this new feature so valuable. Speech search is about speeding up the editing process by enabling you to easily locate specific words in your audio clips. Also, with the new metadata panel you can easily correct words in the transcript. For each word there will be a confidence rating displayed giving you an indication of whether the word is accurate or not.

The other thing to note about the speech engine is that is has different language models including ones to cover different dialects. This will give you more accurate results when you have speakers with an Australian or British accent. For the beta we only ship the American English language model, but other language models will be available with the shipping release.

Join the discussion

  • By John Kirk - 11:26 AM on December 30, 2008  

    I tried Soundbooth transcription with an Australian speaking ina radio studio interview and got about 3% accuracy which was as good as useless.There was no Australian accent option in the trial software. Totally dissapointing

  • By Lawson - 2:43 PM on January 5, 2009  

    Hi John,The shipping version of Soundbooth CS4 does have support for the Australian accent and should give you much better results.Regards,Lawson

  • By Tarwin Stroh-Spijer - 9:09 PM on February 26, 2009  

    I have Production Premium and there isn’t anything other than US English option. Again, probably about 5% for myself on studio record audio.

  • By Lawson - 5:46 PM on March 2, 2009  

    Hi Tarwin,Have you activated your copy of Production Premium CS4? You should have the ability to select different languages within either Premiere Pro or Soundbooth CS4. It is only the trial versions that are limited to US English.-Lawson