SpeechWorks First To Enable Stock Trading Over Phone In Mandarin - InformationWeek

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SpeechWorks First To Enable Stock Trading Over Phone In Mandarin

SpeechWorks International Inc. has deployed a speech-recognition stock trading system in Mandarin for a Taiwanese brokerage, and an industry watcher says the company's claim that it's the first to do so is legit. Taiwanese investors have been able to check stock prices over the phone in Mandarin, but with assistance from Taiwanese systems integrator Systex Corp., SpeechWorks' Mandarin application is letting customers of MasterLink Securities use their phones to actually buy and sell stock on the Taiwanese Stock Exchange.

Nancy Jamison, analyst for Jamison Consulting, says the complexity of both the Mandarin dialect and the language of stock trading makes the SpeechWorks deployment one of the most sophisticated uses of speech-recognition technology to date. Jamison confirmed that the technology has not been used to enable stock trading in Mandarin. She expects the news to boost SpeechWorks' status in the Asian speech-recognition market. "I think it's going to get them a lot more customers in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the mainland."

SpeechWorks CEO Stuart Patterson says he sees Asia as a huge potential market for the company, largely because of the proliferation of cell phones and the relatively limited access to PCs. In Taiwan, for instance, 60% of the population have cell phones, Patterson says. In addition to Mandarin, the company has applications in Cantonese, Japanese, and Singapore English.

Non-English applications are a growing part of SpeechWorks' strategy in general. Next month, SpeechWorks will complete deployment of a bilingual customer-service system for Continental Airlines that will let passengers choose between English and Spanish applications. Jamison says Continental will become the first U.S. airline to adopt such a system.

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