Project Name: Speech Processing, Recognition and Automatic Annotation Kit

Abbreviation: SPRAAK

Start date: February 1, 2006

End date: March 31, 2008

Project Description:

The availability of a speech recognition system for Dutch is mentioned as one of the essential requirements for the language and speech technology (LST) community. Indeed, researchers now are faced with the problem that no good speech recognition tool is available for their purposes or existing tools lack functionality or flexibility.

This project has two primary goals that will be accomplished within a single software framework. The first goal is to develop a highly modular toolkit for research into speech recognition algorithms. It allows researchers to focus on one particular aspect of speech recognition technology without needing to worry about the details of the other components.

The second goal is to provide a state-of-the art recogniser for Dutch with a simple interface, so that it can be used by non-specialists with a minimum of programming requirements. Next to speech recognition, the resulting software will enable applications in related fields as well. Examples are linguistic and phonetic research where the software can be used to segment large speech databases or to provide high quality automatic transcriptions. We choose the existing ESAT recogniser, augmented with knowledge and code from the other partners in this project, as a starting point. This code base will be transformed to meet the specified requirements. The transformation is accomplished by improving the software interfaces to make the software package more user friendly and adapted for usage in a large user community, and by providing adequate user and developer documentation written in English, so as to make it easily accessible to the international LST community as well. Next to providing a reference speech recognition platform for the Dutch speaking community, this project also encompasses knowledge transfer between the different partners, hence strengthening the ties between the Netherlands and Flanders, and between research institutions and application developers.


  1. Prof. P. Wambacq (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven - ESAT/PSI)
  2. Prof. L.W.J. Boves (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen - Language and Speech RU)
  3. Dr. Ir. D.A. van Leeuwen (TNO Human Factors (Soesterberg) TNO)
  4. Dr. R. Ordelman (Universiteit Twente - Human Media Interaction UT)


The following HMI-member(s) is/are coordinator of this Project

Roeland Ordelman


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