Intron launches speech recognition competition for African accents

Intron partners with leading AI companies to launch speech recognition competition for African accents


LAGOS, Nigeria, April 28th, 2023–Intron, a state-of-the-art speech-to-text software solution for medical documentation, has announced a partnership with Nvidia and other leading AI and language-focused companies. Together, they are launching the Intron AfriSpeech-200 Automatic Speech Recognition Challenge, a groundbreaking initiative aimed at advancing the development of speech recognition technology in African accents. 


The Intron ASR challenge seeks skilled individuals to develop an automatic recognition model for clinical speech-to-text. Participants are required to use an accented English speech corpus of 200 hours, featuring 120 different African accents. The competition runs for one month, and participants stand a chance to win $5,000 in prizes. By promoting the development and implementation of speech recognition technology for African accents, particularly those that are under-resourced and underrepresented in existing speech-to-text software solutions, the Intron AfriSpeech ASR challenge could play a major role in the digitisation, growth, and accessibility of healthcare on the continent. 


The healthcare industry in sub-Saharan Africa faces a multitude of challenges when it comes to medical documentation, which renders the entire process cumbersome and inflexible. Inadequate technological infrastructure, a high ratio of patients to clinicians, and limited typing skills of medical practitioners create impediments to what should be a seamless adoption of digital medical records. The conventional alternative of hand-written records is time-consuming and prone to errors, not to mention vulnerable to tampering, damage, and loss.



Intron’s cutting-edge software is designed to revolutionise African healthcare by streamlining the medical documentation process. Its innovative technology enables clinicians to speak freely, reducing the time and effort required for documentation, and ultimately making healthcare more efficient and accessible.


With Africa’s largest and most diverse speech dataset, Intron supports speech-to-text transcription in over 300 African accents. The dataset contains over a million clips contributed by more than 7000 individuals across 13 countries. Intron’s solution is tailored to the medical industry and takes into account field-specific jargon for improved accuracy. 


Intron is partnering with Nvidia, Hugging Face, Data Science Network, Lanfrica and Masakhane to launch the Intron AfriSpeech ASR challenge, bringing together expertise and technology to support the development of speech recognition solutions on the continent. With the goal of unlocking the full potential of African talent, the challenge encourages collaboration and knowledge-sharing across the broader technology community to accelerate progress in a critical area.


The Intron AfriSpeech ASR challenge is designed to create a platform for researchers, academics and tech enthusiasts across Africa to showcase their ideas and innovations in the field of speech recognition. By bringing together the best minds and resources in the field, Intron has the potential to create new opportunities for businesses, governments and individuals, paving the way for a more inclusive and accessible future.


Other articles