From Your Lips to My Mobile

Ever had such a hectic travel schedule that when you call back to your office you find you have 15 voicemail messages and can't find a pen to write it all down? Why isn't there a technology to translate voice to the written word so you can have the messages emailed or sent as text messages? After decades of refinements, speech-recognition software is still not good enough to reliably recognize free-form speech from many different speakers—exactly what's needed to master the average voice inbox. London-based SpinVox has come up with a clever work-around. Its new service uses the latest speech-recognition and artificialintelligence software to analyze voice messages. When the software comes across a word or phrase it can't decipher, it alerts a human operator, who steps in to translate. The software learns from the operators' example, becoming more productive as it accumulates experience. The technique enables SpinVox to cover unlimited messages a month with 12 network operators working in English, Spanish, French and German.