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Artificial Intelligence

The Chinese prefer talking to typing

In China, more and more people prefer using the voice input feature of their smartphones to typing in texts. The market leader is the free iFlytek Input app, which is even used by public authorities.

01 Dec. 2017

Voice input has been normal practice in China for a long time now, and only a few people still use their smartphone keyboards to write messages. The most popular voice input app is called iFlytek Input , and it not only converts spoken words into characters, but also translates with such accuracy that it is used by companies and public authorities: iFlytek responds to customer and patient inquiries, translates communication with foreign staff and issues dictated prescriptions.

The software translates from English to Mandarin and vice-versa, as well as from Mandarin to Korean and Japanese. It also recognizes the voice entries from 22 different Chinese dialects. The free app can also cope with handwriting and, for those who still type, keyboard input. It has an accuracy of 98%, thanks to machine learning on the basis of artificial neural networks and a vast quantity of collected voice entries, and this is expected to increase to 99 % within the next three years.

The app was launched in 2010 by the AI company iFlytek. The company based in Hefei in Eastern China plans to include other languages and already has a subsidiary in the US. iFlytek released a language assistant for motorists in August, followed by the smartphone Smartisan Nut Pro 2 with pre-installed iFlytek voice input in early November.