Understanding Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) for Translators and Subtitlers

Discover the transformative impact of Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) on the world of audiovisual translation, offering enhanced productivity and accessibility for translators and subtitlers.

Last modified on October 13, 2023
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Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) technology has revolutionized the field of audiovisual translation by enabling the automatic conversion of spoken language into written text. For translators and subtitlers who may not be familiar with ASR, this article aims to provide a concise yet informative overview of this powerful technology and its role in audiovisual translation.

What is Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR)?

ASR, also known as Speech-to-Text (STT) technology, is a system designed to convert spoken language into written text. It utilizes a combination of acoustic and language models to accurately transcribe spoken words. ASR has witnessed significant advancements in recent years, thanks to improvements in machine learning algorithms and the availability of large speech corpora for training purposes.

How does ASR work?

ASR systems utilize a multi-step procedure to transcribe spoken language. The process begins with audio input, which is usually sourced from recorded audio files or real-time audio streams, and then goes through several stages:

Acoustic Processing: The audio signal is examined to identify characteristics like pitch, loudness, and sound patterns. These details help differentiate various sounds and speech sounds (phonemes).

Acoustic Modeling: Using a trained acoustic model, the extracted sound characteristics are matched to phonetic units. This model assists in identifying specific sounds and speech patterns within the spoken signal.

Language Modeling: A language model predicts the sequence of words based on the context of the spoken language. It uses statistical techniques to estimate the probability of specific words following others, improving the accuracy of transcription.

Decoding: The acoustic and language models work together in the decoding stage to generate the most likely sequence of words that match the audio input. The final output is the transcribed text.

Punctuation and Capitalization (PNC) Module: This module adds punctuation and capitalization to the transcribed text, enhancing readability and structure.

Inverse Text Normalization (ITN) Module: The ITN module plays a crucial role in converting the transcribed text into a format that is easier for humans to read and comprehend. For instance, it represents numbers using digits (e.g., ‘100’) instead of their literal transcription (e.g., ‘one hundred’), ensuring an accurate representation of the original spoken language.

Benefits of ASR for Translators and Subtitlers

ASR technology offers several advantages for translators and subtitlers working in the audiovisual domain:

Time Efficiency: ASR significantly reduces the time needed for manual transcription. This means that professionals like translators and subtitlers can save a substantial amount of time on the task of transcribing spoken content. With this time-saving benefit, they can redirect their efforts towards the linguistic aspects of their work, such as translation and subtitle quality, ensuring that the final output is polished and accurate.

Accessibility: ASR makes audio content accessible to individuals with hearing impairments by providing accurate transcriptions or subtitles. It enhances inclusivity and widens the audience reach of audiovisual materials.

Productivity Enhancement: ASR-generated transcriptions serve as a valuable reference for translators and subtitlers during the translation process. They can easily review and edit the text, ensuring higher quality and consistency in their work.

Cost Savings: ASR can contribute to cost savings in the audiovisual translation industry by reducing the need for extensive manual transcription services. This efficiency allows businesses to optimize their resources and allocate budgets more effectively.


Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) is a useful technology that has transformed the audiovisual translation landscape. For translators and subtitlers, ASR offers time efficiency, productivity enhancement, and improved accessibility. When it comes to exploring and utilizing Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) technology, our Matesub stands out as the perfect solution for translators and subtitlers. With its user-friendly interface and robust features, Matesub provides an intuitive platform to experience and test ASR capabilities. By incorporating Matesub into their workflow, translators and subtitlers can harness the power of ASR effectively, streamlining their processes and ensuring accurate and efficient translations in the dynamic world of audiovisual content.

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