Google Voice transcription

If you're anything like us, you take Google at its word that it's not evil, and that it hasn't been running rampant with your ... well, your life ... handing over your contacts, trusting it with your e-mail, and now your voicemail. But the transcription service with Google Voice is a bit of a joke (and a lot of fun at parties). But Google appears to be intent on improving that service, and it's asking for your help. And your voicemails.

From the Google Voice Blog:

Until now, the only feedback you could give was to let us know if the quality of the transcript was good enough to be useful or not, by checking the corresponding box next to the message. You can now go one step further by letting us figure out why it was good or bad. When you rate a transcript, you will be asked whether you would like to donate the message. You have three options:

The messages you donate may be listened to, manually transcribed by us and/or used to gauge transcription improvements over time, but they will never be made public or used for any other purpose than improving the transcription quality.

And if you're feeling generous, you can go back to old messages you previously rated and donate those, too!

So, help a Google brother out. The Google Voice app on Android is the best on any platform right now. Let them your voicemail. Better yet, let's start leaving each other ridiculous voicemails. The more nonsensical the better. Make 'em work for it. :)


Reader comments

Google needs your help to improve Google Voice transcriptions


Count me in. When Google takes over the world I hope to be rewarded handsomely for my compliance.

they could take it s step further and allow users to correct the transcripts, so the engine can learn from the corrections.

I agree with the post above. I waited about 6 weeks for the sign up to go through over this past summer. I like it, no real complaints so far besides all the options for it online. That part can be a little tricky to set it up, well worth it for the features. I suggested to a few friends to check it out, only one did. I think if you have kids the "all phones ring" option is a must have if in an emergency you need to call mom, dad and their home at the same time. Probably freak everyone out if all phones rang in the same room. :o

I find the transcriptions to be either very good, or just poor - nothing in between. In my experience this is caller-specific. Transcriptions are very good for people who speak clearly and seem to have given some thought to what they're saying. On the other hand, transcriptions are poor for people who seem to be rushed, significanly vary the volume of their speech (getting louder for emphasis), accent the wrong syllables, and you can't seem to tell where they're headed with their message even when you listen to it, etc.

With regard to the quality of the transcriptions, I blame the callers, not the transcription engine. If participating in this program can help improve the transcription engine without degrading accuracy on messages it works well on, that's great. But I don't want Google making adjustments that will degrade what's working well now, simply to accommodate people who intentionally speak stangely, or engage their mouth before their brain.

I think it has nothing to do with their technology, and everything to do with the quality of the call. If it sounds like they're leaving you a voicemail in a cave while speaking into a tin can with a peanut butter-filled rag in their mouth, it's probably going to be hard to get an accurate transcription.

The Droid's voice recognition is the best I've ever seen. If it were that good, why wouldn't they use in on GVoice? Answer: they use a *better* one. It's just that the call quality sucks.

They need more than just my help to get it right, I have had many calls from even with good *Call Quality* and then listen to the message and just wonder how in the heck it comes up with the words it does. I have quit letting it transcribe my voicemails and just listen to the voicemail but to help out I have no problem with letting it know it is getting it wrong I would really love for it to work.

Google just needs to buy - their transcription is outstanding! FAR SUPERIOR to Google Voice right now!! I'm in for donating my messages because the technology can and should be better!!

How come a small company like YouMail can transcribe my messages almost flawlessly but the behemoth Google can't get it right? Check out this transcription:

"Have an answer. They marched Arlington of Carter calling from like slowly."

It was supposed to say: "Anthony, Anthony, look sorry to call you so early in the morning."

Good thing I'm not paying for this. What's the point of having transcription if I have to listen to the message anyway? So, yeah, I *may* contribute my messages. But then again, besides the satisfaction of getting properly transcribed messages (like others already give me), what do I get out of it?