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Wednesday, January 04, 2006
NEC Develops Japanese - Chinese Speech Translation Software for PDAs


NEC has developed an automatic, Japanese - Chinese speech translation software, capable of real-time, speech-to-speech translation of travel-related Chinese and Japanese conversation on a PDA.

Operable on a commercial PDA, the software boasts a vocabulary of 50,000 Japanese and 36,000 Chinese words, and realizes automatic speech-to-speech interpretation of travel conversation. A wide range of travel conversation used in a variety of travel situations was taken into consideration during the development of the software, and it has principally been enabled by the realization of speech recognition of general conversation of standard spoken Chinese (Mandarin/Putonghua). Although standard spoken Chinese is the same nationwide, accents differ according to region, making speech recognition complex. In order to combat this issue, data of spoken conversation was gathered from a large number of people from different regions in China, allowing the creation of a large-scale Chinese-conversation speech corpus. This enabled the realization of speech recognition of general Chinese conversation, regardless of the origin of the accent of the person conversing.

The features of this software include:

- A parallel vocabulary, continuous speech recognition engine, which is built with a database consisting of a wide range of conversation sounds and words that enables accurate speech recognition of spoken words.
- A translation engine for translation of spoken words.
- A wave-concatenative speech synthesis engine, which realizes reading through a wave-concatenative speech synthesis method based on a wide range of speech data.
- A total integration module that controls collaborative operation of the speech recognition engine, the machine translation engine and the speech synthesis engine, realizing real-time, automatic Japanese - Chinese speech translation on a PDA.

Although NEC's automatic speech translation software research has been focused on Japanese<->English translation to date, NEC has been able to realize Japanese<->Chinese speech translation software by installing a newly created large-scale Chinese language conversation speech corpus, a Chinese travel conversation text corpus, and an acoustic model and a language model that were developed based on both of these, in the speech recognition engine.


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