Should Alexa read “2/3” as “two-thirds” or “February Third”?: The science of text normalization

Text normalization is an important process in conversational AI. If an Alexa customer says, “book me a table at 5:00 p.m.”, the automatic speech recognizer will transcribe the time as “five p m”. Before a skill can handle this request, “five p m” will need to be converted to “5:00PM”. Once Alexa has processed the request, it needs to synthesize the response — say, “Is 6:30 p.m. okay?” Here, 6:30PM will be converted to “six thirty p m” for the text-to-speech synthesizer. We call the process of converting “5:00PM” to “five p m” text normalization and its counterpart — converting “five p m” to “5:00PM” — inverse text normalization.Read More