New Norwegian Speech Engine

MediaLT has initiated collaboration with the Swedish company Veridict and IBM, to develop a new Norwegian speech engine.

Story by: Magne Lunde - 15.10.2008

For a considerable time MediaLT has been looking for a partner to join us in our work to develop a Norwegian speech engine.  By collaborating with the Swedish company Veridict we believe we have found a partner who can help us realize the right possibilities for Norwegian Speech Technology.

[Picture: Alexander Seward, Chief Executive Officer at Veridict]

On Wednesday October 8th, Veridict, IBM and MediaLT held a kick-off meeting to start the collaboration. A Letter of Intent was signed between the partners.

Swedish Engine

Based on modern technology Veridict has already developed a new Swedish speech engine, and in cooperation with both Volvo and the Swedish armed forces, they are looking at different ways to use Speech Recognition. Our intention is to adapt the Swedish engine to Norwegian.

Command Control

In the project Voice control in Multimodal dialogue (SMUDI) the first part was to develop a solution for command control. In 2006 MediaLT carried out a pre-project which clearly established that possibilities for voice control would simplify and make more effective technology for disabled users. It also became clear that command control was one of the tasks that should be given priority.  The pre-project STEMINT formed the basis for the SMUDI project which MediaLT started last autumn, with support from the Norwegian Research Council and the Ministry for Education and Research.

Norwegian Language Bank

Language data from the Norwegian Language Bank will be used in the development of the speech engine. This language data was collected by Scandinavian Speech Technology which went bankrupt in 2003.   MediaLT will be the first to actively use these data with a view to developing Norwegian Speech Recognition products. This analysis will give the Language bank feedback with respect to the quality of the language data.


As it has taken some time for the Provisional Board for the Norwegian Language Bank to allow access to the language data, the work in the SMUDI-project has been considerably delayed. There is however now a great effort underway to speed up the process, and if everything goes according to plan, there will be a solution for command control up and running by next year.

Scandinavian solution

In the International arena speech technology is controlled by a small number of large and powerful concerns with Nuance leading the way. Naturally enough these players see Norwegian as a small and marginal language, and commercially the Norwegian market for Speech Recognition is not particularly interesting. Experience shows moreover that larger players want to set the terms for how such products are to be developed. Whereas a Scandinavian collaboration will give greater flexibility, with better possibilities to develop and adapt the products. For this reason we firmly believe that in the longer term a Scandinavian solution will give the best results.

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