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A Review of Computer-Based Speech Technology for TOEFL 2000 TOEFL

Burstein, Jill; Kaplan, Randy M.; Rohen-Wolff, Susanne; Zuckerman, Daniel I.; Lu, Chi
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Memorandum
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), Speech Recognition, Speech Synthesizers, Innovation, Computer Software, TOEFL 2000


Computer-based speech technology, the capability of a computer system to accept and process spoken language, is considered a potentially super-enabling technology for computer users. Once a computer can adequately "understand" spoken language, the accessibility of computers increases by many orders of magnitude. As part of our on-going effort to examine enabling and important technologies, we have undertaken this study to review the state of the art in computer-based speech technology in the context of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) testing program. Our goal in this study is to assess the readiness of various computer-based speech technologies for this testing program. This paper focuses on desktop applications for speech recognition and speech synthesis. This study investigated several commercially available speech-based technologies. The systems we evaluated are based on desktop computer technology. Due to the length of this study, this evaluation was conducted on a small, but representative sample of state-of-the-art desktop systems. Systems were chosen because they were among the top-ranked personal computer-based, speech technology applications. The systems evaluated were: Dragon Dictate by Dragon Systems, Inc ., Kurzweil VOICE for Windows by Kurzweil Applied Intelligence, Inc., and a text-to-speech synthesis system, DECTalk PC 4.2 by Digital Equipment Corporation.

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