The purpose of this article is to provide a brief overview of speech recognition technology and its common applications, and to demonstrate a free speech-to-text API which can be used to transcribe audio in MP3 and WAV file formats. This demonstration will include step-by-step instructions to call this API using ready-to-run Node.js code examples.

Overview of Speech Recognition

It’s easy to think of speech recognition as a relatively new addition to the contemporary technology landscape. That’s only a partial truth; speech recognition mechanics have been around for more than half a century, beginning with basic, limited numerical/word recognition systems developed by a few pioneering technology companies during the early 1950s. Despite its long history and proliferation in the world of smart consumer devices over the last decade or so, however, speech recognition still registers as one of the more abstract technologies on the market today.  That’s because all speech recognition services straddle the fields of computer science, computational linguistics, and mathematics/statistics, requiring sizable input from each field to achieve accurate speech-to-text results.  

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