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Telkom Business offers AI speech-to-text service

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Stefan Steffen, Telkom executive for data science.
Stefan Steffen, Telkom executive for data science.

Telkom Business, in collaboration with data labelling start-up Enlabeler, has introduced izwe.ai, an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven transcription and translation platform to provide SMEs with speech-to-text services.

Through izwe.ai, businesses can engage directly with multilingual transcription and translation services. The platform allows SMEs to eliminate the manual work by automatically transcribing and translating important information into text with a high level of accuracy, the companies say.

Industries that benefit from translation and transcription services include education, art and entertainment, health and medicine, and travel and tourism.

Stefan Steffen, Telkom executive for data science, explains: “Every business needs digital tools to remain competitive and you cannot think about digital without mentioning AI. Through this platform, the aim is to enable several different speech-related services.

“Currently, we are making available transcription and translation services, but we are also developing more refined services that are more technical, as it relates to entity extraction, sentiment analysis and other value-added services.”

As part of the collaboration, Cape Town-based Enlabeler will provide Humans-in-the-Loop, a service that allows customers to access translation and transcription services in the various South African indigenous languages.

Enlabeler has a network of digital linguists who are connected to the platform to help provide customers with accurate translations and transcriptions. If a business wants higher accuracy levels than what the machine transcription service can provide, they can opt for the Humans-in-the Loop service, which has been integrated into the izwe.ai website.

Businesses need to upload data on the platform, and it is distributed to the internal digital workforce that will then provide human transcription to get the required accuracy levels – at quick turnaround times.

The price for the service ranges according to the packages selected by businesses.

In a multilingual country such as South Africa, companies must be able to communicate their offerings in multiple languages. Through the izwe.ai translation component, companies can expand their reach beyond English-speaking consumers, notes Telkom Business.

“The translation service is supported by a network of linguists. In that way, we can find linguists that can cater to each customer’s needs. For now, the translation service is included within the Humans-in-the-Loop component.

Businesses can simply upload their documents on the platform and it is then translated into the preferred language, including isiZulu, Afrikaans, Tshivenda, Xitsonga and Sesotho languages, as well as Portuguese, Kiswahili and Dutch,” notes Steffen.

“Some of the technology on speech-to-text platforms is not packaged in a way that is helpful for a local small business. We believe there is real opportunity to add value in areas such as education and healthcare.

“There are also many social use cases, and by having this platform as an asset in South Africa, we will increase the local digital workforce, whilst increasing the impact that we have on our communities.”

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