QCRI in deal with UK’s Speechmatics to take Arabic transcription technology global
UK-based company Speechmatics is to use technology developed by the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI), a division of Hamad bin Khalifa University, to take Arabic speech-to-text services to its global customers.
The Cambridge-based Speechmatics will use a QCRI product known as QATS (QCRI Advanced Transcription System) to transcribe Arabic broadcasts and audio files into text and subtitles.
QATS can transcribe modern standard Arabic as well as four major Arabic dialects: Egyptian, Levantine, North African and Gulf Arabic.
QCRI’s executive director Ahmed Elmagarmid said Qatar was leading global research in speech technology for Arabic.
“This is not just a technology transfer - it is much bigger. It will allow information sharing in Arabic around the world,” Dr Elmagarmid said.
Speechmatics’ chief scientific officer Tony Robinson said the development, which used the company’s recently-announcement Auto-Auto framework, would ensure Arabic-based content was “more discoverable and easily consumed”. Dr Robinson was a pioneer in developing the application of deep learning in speech recognition in the 1980s and 1990s at the University of Cambridge.
“Speechmatics will help QCRI expand their reach to a broad range of industries and geographies with market leading speech-to-text services based on the latest research in machine learning and artificial intelligence,” Dr Robinson said.
QCRI Arabic Language Technologies principal engineer Ahmed Ali, who has been leading the speech team, said Deep Neural Network (DNN) and Recurrent Neural Network (RNN) architecture were used in QATS’ development.
“We used more than 2,000 hours of Arabic speech to develop and train QATS, in addition to a large archive of the Web 2.0 content,” Ali said.
Ali said the agreement would also give QCRI access to diverse data which would enable it to further hone its Arabic language technologies research.
An independent media monitoring company in May 2015 found QATS consistently outperformed its leading competitors in both standard and dialectal Arabic benchmark tests by at least 10 per cent.
It also won the “Best in Show” award at the third edition of the BBC’s #NewsHACK event in December 2014 for translating BBC Arabic videos into English, including subtitles, and voiceover using speech synthesis.
Al Jazeera Media Network has been using versions of QATS to transcribe its daily Arabic news reports for almost two years. Until now, more than 3,000 hours have been transcribed using the product.
Arabic is the world’s fourth most popular language and is spoken in at least 60 countries.
In the Media
There are few things social media users love more than flooding their feeds with photos of food. Yet we seldom use these images for much more than a quick scroll on our cellphones. Researchers from ...
A signature catchphrase, a heavy push for jobs, his son-in-law’s digital operation and a blowhard, braggadocios style of speech ultimately handed President Donald Trump the White House on Election ...
Cyber security experts in Qatar and the region have advised caution and not to access any emails or other information from unknown sources, following the recent wave of cyber attacks across the world...
Children and teenagers will be given a rare chance to develop their computing skills with world-class computing scientists at the first summer computing camp to be conducted by the Qatar Computing ...
The Qatar Computing Research Institute’s new Creative Space, which conducts fun activities to teach children computing skills, has successfully held its first Open House event. About 100 children ...
The QCRI – MIT CSAIL Annual Research Project Review is open to the public on Monday, March 27, 2017, at the HBKU Research Complex Multipurpose Room. The annual meeting is a highlight of a ...