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Telkom Business unveils its zwe.ai platform

TELKOM executive for data science Stefan Steffen says every business needs digital tools to remain competitive. File Image: IOL

TELKOM executive for data science Stefan Steffen says every business needs digital tools to remain competitive. File Image: IOL

Published May 10, 2022

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SMALL, medium and micro-size enterprises (SMMEs) can now access a cost-effective and convenient speech-to-text service with the introduction of izwe.ai.

The artificial intelligence-driven transcription and translation platform was introduced by Telkom Business in collaboration with Enlabeler.

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Through the izwe.ai platform, businesses can engage directly with multilingual transcription and translation services. It allows SMMEs to eliminate manual work by automatically transcribing and translating important information into text, with a high level of accuracy.

Telkom executive for data science Stefan Steffen said that every business needed digital tools to remain competitive.

"Through this platform, the aim is to enable several different speech-related services. Currently, we are making available transcription and translation services, but we are also developing more refined services that are more technical as it relates to entity extraction, sentiment analysis and other value-added services,” Steffen said.

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As part of izwe.ai, Telkom Business has partnered with Cape Town-based data labelling start-up Enlabeler to provide Humans-in-the-Loop, a service that allows customers to access translation and transcription services in the various South African languages at increased levels of accuracy.

Enlabeler has a network of digital linguists who were connected to the platform to help provide customers with accurate translations and transcriptions, Telkom Business said in a statement last week.

If a business wanted a higher accuracy than the machine transcription service could provide, they could select the Humans-in-the Loop service on the izwe.ai website. Businesses needed to upload data on the platform, which would be distributed to the digital workforce. This would then provide human transcription to get the required accuracy levels.

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“The blend of the machine learning and the Humans-in-the-Loop allows us to deliver highly accurate output in a customisable way. The first machine transcription model that we are deploying is our English model. This focuses on transcribing the various South African accents. Telkom Business plans to introduce isiZulu, Afrikaans, Tshivenda, Xitsonga and Sesotho transcription models in the future,” Steffen said.

Telkom Business said that in a multilingual country such as South Africa, businesses must be able to communicate their offerings in multiple languages. Through the izwe.ai translation component, businesses could expand their reach beyond English-speaking consumers.

“The translation service is supported by a network of linguists. In that way, we can find linguists that can cater to each customer’s needs. For now, the translation service is included within the Humans-in-the-Loop component. Businesses can simply upload their documents on the platform that are then translated to the preferred language, including the mentioned South African languages as well as Portuguese, Kiswahili and Dutch,” it said.

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As a partner of SMMEs, Telkom Business said it was committed to providing cost-effective product offerings that simplify processes. By making services such as izwe.ai accessible, SMMEs could operate efficiently while using affordable services.

Steffen said some of the technology on speech-to-text platforms was not packaged in a way that was helpful for a local small business.

"The Telkom Business offering includes value-added services that allow SMMEs to use the platform to their advantage; izwe.ai is a service that resonates with SMMEs in any industry. We believe that there is real opportunity to add value in areas such as education and healthcare. There are also many social use cases, and by having this platform as an asset in South Africa, we will increase the local digital workforce while increasing the impact that we have on our communities.”

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