What Is the Difference between Voice and Speech Recognition?

Andy Hill

Two rapidly improving technologies, voice and speech recognition, are strongly linked in terms of their intended purpose, but the differences between the two are often confused. In general terms, the key difference between voice and speech recognition exists in the collected data analysis and the output from that analysis. Speech recognition collects the spoken word then analyzes and presents the results as data, whereas voice recognition is concerned with identifying the person providing the spoken word input.

Speech recognition is the process of spoken words into text on a computer screen.
Speech recognition is the process of spoken words into text on a computer screen.

Voice and speech recognition differ through the way in which input is analyzed. Both of these technologies work with the human voice, converting it into a data stream that can be analyzed. Speech recognition is the process of converting the input into text on-screen; programs that utilize this technology are often known as speech-to-text software. This particular kind of application is of benefit to those who are otherwise unable to use a keyboard or other form of manual input device effectively.

Smartphones are often equipped with voice recognition software.
Smartphones are often equipped with voice recognition software.

Additional uses of speech recognition include dictation, translation, and automated telephone services. Although the technology has been in use for several years, speech recognition continues to improve as the data analysis software develops further. Some of the difficulties faced in developing speech recognition software include localized slang terms, conversational language, and accurate representation of input from individuals with speech impediments.

The speech pattern of an individual is considered to be unique, with key factors such as mouth shape, size, and speech intonation being different in each person. This uniqueness allows voice recognition software to be employed to identify the speaker. There are two key different types of voice recognition: verification and identification.

Speech verification is the process of analyzing an individual’s speech pattern with the aim of confirming the identity of the speaker. This process requires an existing sample of the individual’s voice to be present in the software database record. This form of identification is most commonly used in situations where secure authorized access is required.

Holding a very different purpose to speech verification, identification is the process of using recorded speech in an attempt to identify the individual speaking. This form of technology is most commonly used in criminal investigations and is often carried out in secret. The system can help to identify individuals who may have undergone physical surgery to alter outward appearances.

In all of its forms, voice and speech recognition are advancing technologies. The applications are far-reaching and extensive. Voice and speech recognition can assist individuals who may otherwise be unable to operate certain pieces of hardware, simplify daily activities, and provide security both domestically and on a worldwide scale.

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