This paper describes an experimental conversational system integrated in a telephone switchboard operator center. It is aimed to help a partially sighted telephone switchboard operator working in a large company. Using an intelligent speech interface and a database containing information about all the people and departments in the company, it provides the telephone switchboard operator with a telephone number or any information in response to the request of an external or internal caller. A feature of this interface is to allow the access to various information on the basis of the name of a person in the company. As the number of people in this company is very large (about 5000), the operator's request is formulated by spelling the particular name to avoid doing a large vocabulary recognition directly. To help the system find the name uttered, a phonetic lattice is created. This phonetic step provides some tolerance for orthographical mistakes, differences in pronunciations, and possible confusions made by the speech recognizer. As output, a speech synthesizer gives the requested information. The current implementation is taking place on a PC 486, equipped with two specialized boards and connected to the switchboard. Keywords: Conversational system, telephone switchboard, dialogue, real-time, robustness.
Bibliographic reference. Anglade, Yolande / Pierrel, Jean-Marie / Junqua, Jean-Claude (1991): "A spoken language interface for a telephone switchboard operator center", In EUROSPEECH-1991, 307-310.