Common Voice contribution sprints in Berlin (credit: Michael Kohler), Mexico City (credit: Luis A. Sánchez), Jakarta (credit: Irayani Queencyputri) and Taipei (credit: Irven Chen), from the top left to the bottom right
With Common Voice it’s the same volunteer passion that drives the project further and we’re grateful for all contributors who already said, “We want to help bringing speech recognition technology to my part of the world – what can we do?”. It is the underlying stories which also make this project so rewarding for me personally:
In Indonesia 20 community members came to our community space in Jakarta for a meet-up to write up sentences for the text corpus that will become the basis for voice recordings. They went into overdrive and submitted around 4,000 sentences within two days.
In Kenya a group of volunteers interested in Mozilla projects found out about Common Voice and started both localizing the website and submitting sentences in Swahili, Jibana and Kikiyu, all highly underrepresented languages, which we’re extremely happy to support. This is in addition to working with language experts in these communities like Laurent Besacier, the initiator of ALFFA, an interdisciplinary project bundling resources and expertise in speech analysis and speech technologies for African languages.
If we look at the country where I’m from, there has been one particular contributor to the Common Voice github project since the very early days. He originally contributed to the English effort, but he is German and wanted to see Common Voice come to Germany. He set himself on a strict schedule, wrote a few sentences every day for the next 6 months (while commuting to school or work), and collected 11,000 (!) sentences, ranging from poetry to day-to-day conversations.
Speaking of which: Another German contributor joined the Global Sprint in our Berlin office, utterly frustrated about a lengthy but fruitless discussion at the post office (Sounds familiar, Germany?). He may not have gotten his package, but I’d like to believe he had his personal cathartic moment when he submitted his whole experience in written form. Now Germans everywhere will help him voice his frustrations.
These are only a few of many wonderful examples from around the world – Taiwan, Slovenia, Macedonia, Hungary, Brazil, Serbia, Thailand, Spain, Nepal, and many more. They show that anyone can help grow the Common Voice project. Any individual or organization that has an interest in its native language, or an interest in open voice interfaces, will find it worth their while. You can contribute your voice at https://voice.mozilla.org/en/languages, or if you have a larger corpus of transcribed speech data, we’d love to hear from you.