Henchmen as kittens… porn, yo?

Writing about old time radio programs at http://jheroes.com means a lot of transcribing from  mp3 files made by collectors over the years from tapes of even older transcription discs.  With my eyes bothering me on a recent morning, I decided to see whether Google’s Android voice recognition  could expedite the transcription process.

Could my Android phone “listen” to an old radio show and convert the dialogue to text? I tested the idea with the plot summary a couple of minutes into episode 6 of an “Adventures of Superman” story titled “Ruler of Darkness.” (See the “Ruler of Darkness” JHeroes.com entry.)

I admit it is not the most static-free recording in the Internet Archive collection, and background organ music probably put the voice recognition to an unfair test.

Here is my eventual (manual) transcription, followed by Android’s two unassisted tries, for your amusement. I’ve highlighted a few words that came out right… but I’m especially curious about the words that Android replaced with asterisks. Did it think the radio announcer said something naughty?

“And now The Adventures of Superman.
“When cub reporter Jimmy Olsen was seriously injured by henchmen of Mike Hickey, political boss of Metropolis, editor Perry White swore he would drive Hickey and his corrupt political machine out of power.
White opened an attack on Hickey in the Daily Planet and chose Joe Martin, war hero and brother of Beanie Martin, the Planet’s copy boy, to run for mayor against the machine candidate in the approaching election.
Enraged, Hickey swore he would nip this reform movement in the bud.”

Android 1.

No seriously injured my kitten or you could drive up with you so don’t want to be my wife definition of elections oregon live in the b*** status other joe wasn’t serious come on out free porn yo

Android 2.

Oh yeah you’re phone daniel seriously injured my kitten like 40 with drive she out of our over then so still want to be my stuff white directions great looking forward sleep well in the b*** account brother

Definitely room for improvement…

Footnote: The accurate transcription also was made with Google’s speech to text. I would listen to a phrase, press pause on the mp3 player, press record on my phone, then speak the phrase in a normal voice at conversational speed or a little slower. I discovered that I couldn’t read the dialogue at radio actor speed if I wanted to!

Finally, I edited the result to fix proper names, capitalization and a few words here and there. End result: My eyes were still tired and my thumb hurt.

But I’ll try again sometime with a more recent, slower-paced radio show. And I’ll do some homework about Android Speech-to-Text or “voice typing” — and  Android Text-To-Speech for good measure.

mild-mannered reporter who fell deeper into computers and the Web during three trips through graduate school in the 1980s and 1990s, then began teaching journalism, media studies and Web production, most recently as a faculty member at Radford University.

Posted in Android, j-heroes, jheroes, oldtime radio

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