In what is probably the first time a presidential speech has been automatically transcribed by a software program, msnbc.com used a voice-to-text solution from Nexidia to transcribe last night's address to Congress by President Barack Obama. The online news site got the Obama transcription up in 15 minutes after the conclusion of the speech, we have learned.
Getting the transcript up that quickly was not a scoop. After all, the speech was distributed to the media and the members of Congress before it began, but it marks a significant landmark in the automated transcription of such a notable speech. Not just a transcript, the document was immediately linked to words within the video, giving viewers the ability to find a word and find a related passage.
Executives at msnbc.com say that the transcription was proofed by humans before it was published, but there were very few edits.
Applying voice-to-text for major news events is just a start; the integration of text transcriptions will roll out across many msnbc.com videos.
Interest in the Obama speech and the highly heated news cycle has lead to huge traffic numbers on msnbc.com. We have just gotten this update on traffic, based on internal numbers from Ominture. Here is a statement from the network:
— Andy Plesser, Executive Producer
Update 03/02/09: Beet.TV inaccurately described how this speech was transcribed. Nexidia used the transcript, which was created by a human, and automatically time aligned the transcript – word by word – to the video in a matter of seconds. While a transcript is not required for video search, this "transcript sync" capability highlights how Nexidia technology leverages text to make rich media more valuable. We regret the error.