One of the most useful speech recognition applications today is the front–end call router. However, it is also one of the most challenging applications to build because the system must recognize proper names.
Some names are derived from languages other than English, and the pronunciations reflect rules from the other language. Often these names contain sounds that are not apparent from the spelling, or the caller stresses a syllable that differs from the common pronunciation. Imagine a person looking at the name "Elicia." Is the initial sound a soft 'AH' as in "about," and 'EH' as in "bed" or is it stressed heavily with a long 'IY' as in "equal?" Is the third syllable pronounced with an 's' sound of a 'SH'? The speech application needs help to determine this.
If a word or name is not in the dictionary, the Speech Recognition Engine will try to figure out how that word is pronounced using a set of phonetic rules, similar to how a person might try sounding out the new word. Unfortunately, the speech engine is not always correct. A good indicator is that if a person has trouble figuring out how to pronounce a name, the speech engine will too.
Considering alternate pronunciations and spellings at the outset will help avoid errors and frustration later, and make your speech recognition software perform seamlessly!
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