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TMA Associates is soliciting information on European speech- processing projects for its 1994 "Trends in Speech Recognition" marketing research report. Contact Colin Brace (colinb, +31 20 6854300 Fax, of LANGUAGE INDUSTRY MONITOR to add your work to the listing. The report may also be purchased from William Meisel of TMA, +1 818 708 0962, +1 818 345 2980 Fax. [ELSNET, 9/25/93.]

Is it hard to turn a phonetic transcription into English text? Cheetah Systems (Fremont, CA) sells a turnkey transcription system for $10K. Cheetah began in 1987 as "the 11th company in a 10- company industry," but now follows only Quixote Corp. and Xscribe. Their $15K package for television captioning is #1 with a 60% share. Phonetic codes are produced on 22-key chord units that can record 250 wpm. (Four to six keys are depressed simultaneously, and more than 20K abbreviations are in common use. Court reporters train for 4-5 years, then earn $50K-$100K per year.) A PC running 1M lines of C and assembly code can process 200 pages of stenographic code in 14 seconds. Professionals still do the hard part in recording the codes: sorting out multiple voices, distinguishing homonyms, capturing nods or communicative actions, and understanding heavy accents, speech impediments, and whispers. [Joseph R. Garber, Forbes, 8/2/93.]

Celso Alvarez-Caccamo has been collecting opinions about speech recording on SONY's new $700 digital mini-disc players. Current models clip high volumes and frequencies above 15kHz, but work about as well as digital audio tape. You can record 128MB (almost 600MB compressed 4:1, 60-74 minutes) on each disc and each battery pack. A 10-second buffer prevents skips due to physical shocks. Playback by tracks has obvious advantages over tape editing, but current models don't let you vary the speed. The discs resist damage, but any damage at all might prevent an entire disc from being read. Future availability of players is also a serious concern. [[email protected], LINGUIST, 9/21/93.]

DSP sound cards for PCs, Amiga, and Mac allow you to record and edit either 2-channel stereo or up to 16 channels with 256 tracks per channel. $20K processing systems may include compression, notchband filters, rocking, equalizers, MPX, Dolby, etc, with sliding and matching of tracks. Minimal systems require a $1,500 DSP card and a 300MB hard drive. One hour of 16-channel sound may require four 1.2GB SCSI II wideband hard drives. After editing, the audio may be recorded on CDs, digital audio tape (DAT), Sony MiniDiscs, or Philips' digital compact cassettes (DCC). CDs can be written to in multiple sessions, but you need a $4K CD ROM writer. DAT players use helical scan that makes tape-to-tape editing difficult. MiniDisc and DCC compression algorithms lose some of the high frequencies. MiniDisc, DCC, and DAT systems in the US also have analog filters to degrade multigeneration copies. DCC is often the best choice at present, as it has slightly better fidelity than MiniDisc and the players are compatible with standard compact cassettes. [Eric James Adolphson ([email protected]) and David Powers ([email protected]), LINGUIST, 10/2/93.]

Desktop CD recorders are discussed in John M. Hartigan's "Compact Disc Recording: A Technical Overview," CD-ROM Professional (9/93), pp. 102-106. [Teri Rinne, Current Cites, PACS-L, 9/27/93.]