Spin-my-Blog was based on a similar idea, except (wouldn’t you know it) it posted the resultant text to your blog.
Standards have been slipping of late, though, which led many to believe that the initial promise of highly intelligent supercomputers automagically translating your text weren’t quite as accurate as stated by the company.
That’s not to say they weren’t trying, but when you get Egyptian call center staff telling the BBC they’re hacked off with the whole deal, and then you see some of the laughable translations being sent back (after the computers have failed and the humans have had a go) you do wonder how scalable the whole thing is.
Pissed off workers isn’t a new thing, of course, but privacy is the issue that’s bugging a lot of people. The company was always upfront in as much as it said it used human translation for some parts of voice messages the computers couldn’t translate, but when entire audio messages are being shipped out you do wonder a little exactly who is going to hear your message and what’s happening to it â€” being posted on a Facebook group for Spinvox’s call center workers, perhaps?
Sure, pretty much every phone call you make these days is “recorded for training purposes”, but transcription like this “Hi Andrew how you doing nice so call use my charm man cool I guess but what happening I got a big bomb that I wanna drop facing call me back and also leaving help I guess to you and your next see ___ but I post there you close but it keep on making forest Everest get it right I get you later on ___ you include there cheers mate bye bye.” (thanks Register) isn’t worth the subscription or the loss of privacy.
Speech-to-text services are a great idea, and maybe some decent business and PR moves can restore some confidence in SpinVox. I spoke to Daniel Doulton a couple of years back and the concepts are sound.
You can read Spinvox’s response on its blog.