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Hate Voice Mail?New Services Turn Recordings Into Text

Punching in a password and listening to voice mails on hand-held devices is inconvenient — or rude if you’re in a meeting, at a party or in a restaurant.

A slew of new services using voice-recognition technology aim to eliminate the hassle of checking voice messages on wireless devices. These services transcribe recorded messages into text, which then is sent as email to email-equipped devices such as personal digital assistants and BlackBerrys, or as a short text message to phones that don’t have the email function. If in doubt about transcripts’ accuracy, you can always click on the attached audio files or dial in to hear the original voice mail.

To see how efficient these services are at transcription, I tested two voice-recognition applications: one from start-up SimulScribe, based in New York, and another from Atlanta-based SpinVox, a subsidiary of SpinVox Ltd. of the U.K.

Signing up with took just minutes. After setting up an online account naming a cellphone carrier, I got a confirmation email with instructions on how to activate the service on my phone. SimulScribe, launched this past September, costs $9.95 a month for 40 transcribed messages plus 25 cents for each additional message. The service is compatible with all wireless carriers.

Activating SpinVox’s Spin-my-Vmail on the phone was easy, too. After signing up on, the company sends subscribers a guide to using the service on the phone. I was able to activate “call forwarding busy/no answer” to divert messages to my SpinVox voice mail just by changing a setting in my T-Mobile’s cellphone settings menu


May 29, 2007 - Posted by | Nokia

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