Friday, May 13, 2022

Project Euphonia

Project Euphonia is a Google Research initiative focused on helping people with atypical speech be better understood. The approach is centered on analyzing speech recordings to better trin speech recognition models. For millions of people around the world whose speech is difficult for others to understand, face-to-face communication can be very challenging. Using voice-activated technologies can be frustrating, too. They may not work as well for those with impaired speech.

Google found me through the Stuttering Foundation. I taped myself speaking and submitted it to them and was accepted as a volunteer. I did my bit for the Euphonia project yesterday. It was really difficult but I’m very glad I did it. I had to record 300 phases, and it was so hard getting the words out that I started to feel light-headed after doing just 30 of them. So, I took breaks often, making completing the 300 phrases take a couple of hours. 

When I submitted my completed recordings, Google invited me to participate in the Project Relate which has goals similar to those of Project Euphonia, but I to declined because it is a cell phone-based project, and I am not a cell phone user.

When I was done with all my Google work, I started reading all the materials that the clinic sent me in advance of Sunday’s meeting. I had financial statements to read, the agenda, constitutional and bylaw documents, past minutes, the strategic plan, governance policies and committee mandates. Plus, there was a lot of material about issues concerning the employment and retention of doctors —a lot of material.

One thing grossed me out: The last item on the agenda of the orientation meeting is this one: “How you will be onboarded to your committee.” Onboarded? Really? Who makes up words like that?

I did not know when Google was going to contact me, and I did not know that the clinic would give me so many documents to read and only three days to read them, nor was I prepared for the challenges I would face with medical jargon and acronyms in the documents. So, I decided to buy the dessert I took to Ali’s and Peter’s because I was so swamped with volunteer duties.

My evening with Ali and Peter was just fabulous. They are wonderful people, and we had a great, great time. They even walked me home in the rain!

Today is bright and sunny—so far—and it’s still cool. As I write this post, it is 5° outside. I’ll meet my friends to walk out dogs and then I’m coming home to Zoom with Dianne and then I’ll likely try to do some yard work, but after a day of hard rain, the ground is mighty wet and not ideal for gardening or mowing lawns. I may be forced to read. Oh my!

My favourite indoor plant, the Hoya. The fragrance!

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