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SpinVox "Recognition" Is Often Expensive Human Transcription 226

An anonymous reader writes "SpinVox offers to convert voice messages to text using a system called D2 or 'the Brain.' According to BBC News, said 'Brain' is often of the old-fashioned kind: SpinVox is sending private voice messages to South Africa, the Philippines, and maybe Egypt to be typed by people in a call centre, despite being registered as keeping all private data inside Europe and claiming that the text is somehow anonymised. Insiders say they transcribed 'love messages, secret messages' and everything else from beginning to end, and the company is being bled dry by the cost: SpinVox has been locked out of one of their data centers over a payment dispute. SpinVox refuses to comment further on details — but according to their web page, they're 'enabling the Speech 3.0, Voice 3.0, and Business 3.0 markets,' whatever that means."
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SpinVox "Recognition" Is Often Expensive Human Transcription

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  • by Ponga ( 934481 ) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @07:00PM (#28801499)
    Seriously. If their target market is English speakers and the people doing the translating don't speak English as their primary language... dude. Seriously. Nevermind the privacy issues here...
  • Re:Business 3.0? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @07:12PM (#28801623) Journal

    We're already on Bubble 4.0. The first bubble was Goldman Sachs orchestration of the dot-com bubble (selling worthless websites to stock market speculators). The second was the mortgage bubble. Then Goldman Sachs orchestrated the oil bubble of 2008, and now they're creating another bubble built on money borrowed from China (aka the bailout bubble) which is not real production, but fiat.

    That's 4.

    So invest now in the market. Thanks to Goldman and their buds in the treasury/central bank (former GS employees), Bubble 4.0 will soar to 15,000 and sometime in 2004 will burst, so make sure to sell your stock in 2003. Aren't roller coasters fun?

  • by sixtrillionmiles ( 1604439 ) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @07:34PM (#28801841)
    One of my first jobs was for a company that scanned medical records and had computers read the text. Or, at least, that was how they advertised it. Actually it was me and about 100 other people reading the medical records and typing them in...
  • Re:Speech 3.0 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by amake ( 673443 ) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @08:41PM (#28802389) Homepage

    He's probably referring to the frequency with which vowels appear in any given word. Yes, Japanese has only 5 vowels, but because almost all syllables in the language are simple (1 consonant)(1 vowel) pairs, almost every other letter in a written word is a vowel.

    A common tongue twister:

    Nama-mugi, nama-gome, nama-tamago (uncooked wheat, uncooked rice, uncooked eggs)

    Notice the abundance of vowels.

  • by MrMista_B ( 891430 ) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @09:01PM (#28802535)

    And now you're saying that people who barely speak or understand English, let alone the subtlties of the language, being paid to transcribe English, is 'technically sound' and 'the best way to do it'? ...

    Frankly, I'm not sure anymore if you're serious, or just being sarcastic.

    Next you'll probably tell me "Oh, see that motherboard made of flammable wood? Regardless of it's flammability, it's the best flame-proof way to make a motherboard."

  • Anonymous Coward (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 23, 2009 @09:46PM (#28802783)

    I have been using spinvox on my phone for almost two years. It works great, I don't ever get phone messages that have private / sensitive info. Even if they come out and say that they've been using people all this time, I'd still want to continue using the service. It's been great rarely having to listen to voice messages. In the past, my messages would build up for weeks to the point that my mailbox would be full and then I'd go through and delete them. If I had a missed call I'd call back and not listen to the message first. Now, I get an email almost immediately and can conveniently read the message. Maybe I'm just super lazy, but I like the service privacy issues be damned.

  • Re:Bender vs Apu (Score:1, Interesting)

    by pbhj ( 607776 ) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @10:32PM (#28803013) Homepage Journal

    I call Raciest on you.

    You must not have worked with Indians before, they are just as good if not better then most American Workers, today.

    All the ones I speak to in India are liars.

    Guy on phone: "Hello, my name is Gordon"
    Me: "Then how come you can't pronounce it?"
    Guy: "We are calling from 3, your phone supplier, do you have contract at the moment"
    Me: "If you're my supplier, you tell me"
    Guy: "I'm sorry .."
    Me: [HUP].

    Beats starving to death for sure. If they didn't start the call by lying to me they'd stand a chance of me listening.

  • Re:Bender vs Apu (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Jedi Alec ( 258881 ) on Friday July 24, 2009 @03:06AM (#28804247)

    Also, the idea of having a robot transcribe your love messages is far more acceptable to many than having a guy listen to your deepest thoughts and giggling while doing so. Who knows? He might even put a few jokes in there.

    Heck, you can just see it...that's movie material right there.

    Spinvox employee #1 to Spinvox employee #2: "Oh man, will you look at this? How is this guy ever expecting to get laid when this is how he tries to woo a woman?"

    Spinvox employee #2 to Spinvox employee #1: "Well, we did just get paid for the first time in 3 months. Heck, I'm in a good mood, give it to me and I'll fix it up a bit for him."

    Queue 2 hours of cheesy Hollywood romantic comedy ending with customer's girlfriend living happily ever after with Spinvox employee #2.

  • Re:Bender vs Apu (Score:2, Interesting)

    by linzeal ( 197905 ) on Friday July 24, 2009 @03:25AM (#28804341) Homepage Journal
    There are some fucking idiots in India too but really the quality is about the same as the states per individual and a crap shoot on a company that has no track record. I've had good experience in India too and I'm Buddhist so I greatly respect the Indian culture and peoples, but when I've had a bad experience in India it was like getting skullfucked with a hot poker, mostly because the Indians were far more racist than anyone on my team back in the states and talked to us like we were fucking children, lied to us, made up fake reasons the product was not out the door on time and when we finally got the code it took us 10 seconds to realize they had stolen it all from some open source projects and run it through a munger/renamed some variables. The good experiences we have had outweigh the bad but the bad experience caused us to re-evaluate doing in-house projects and look to using COTS or open source solutions instead.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"