Volume 9, 2021: Issue 1

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A cross-language study of speech recognition systems for English, German, and Hebrew


Vered Silber Varod, The Open University of Israel, Israel

Ingo Siegert, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg, Germany

Oliver Jokisch, Leipzig University of Telecommunications, Germany

Yamini Sinha, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg, Germany

Nitza Geri, The Open University of Israel, Israel


Despite the growing importance of Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR), its application is still challenging, limited, language-dependent, and requires considerable resources. The resources required for ASR are not only technical, they also need to reflect technological trends and cultural diversity. The purpose of this research is to explore ASR performance gaps by a comparative study of American English, German, and Hebrew. Apart from different languages, we also investigate different speaking styles – utterances from spontaneous dialogues and utterances from frontal lectures (TED-like genre). The analysis includes a comparison of the performance of four ASR engines (Google Cloud, Google Search, IBM Watson, and WIT.ai) using four commonly used metrics: Word Error Rate (WER); Character Error Rate (CER); Word Information Lost (WIL); and Match Error Rate (MER). As expected, findings suggest that English ASR systems provide the best results. Contrary to our hypothesis regarding ASR’s low performance for under-resourced languages, we found that the Hebrew and German ASR systems have similar performance. Overall, our findings suggest that ASR performance is language-dependent and system-dependent. Furthermore, ASR may be genre-sensitive, as our results showed for German. This research contributes a valuable insight for improving ubiquitous global consumption and management of knowledge and calls for corporate social responsibility of commercial companies, to develop ASR under Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) terms.


Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR), performance measures, speech-recognition evaluation metrics, ASR engine, cross-language, genre, error rate




Research paper


The Online Journal of Applied Knowledge Management (OJAKM), ISSN: 2325-4688


International Institute for Applied Knowledge Management (IIAKM)


1 March 2021


10 May 2021


13 May 2021

Accepting Editor:

Meir Russ