spoken language technology

Consultancy and training in the application of speech and language technologies


Spoken language technology is about getting computers to perform useful tasks involving human speech and language.

Speaking to personal conversational assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant has become a reality for many. How can we use these apps? How can we create new apps to do the tasks we want them to do? Learn about new applications and research in spoken language technology.

meet the team

michael mctear


zoraida callejas

Associate and co-author

colleen crangle



Recent talks and events

Keynote talk at ESSV2018, Ulm, Germany.
Paper: Conversation modelling for chatbots: current approaches and future directions. In Berton, A., Haiber, U. and Minker, W. (eds) Elektronishce Sprachsignalverarbeitung 2018, Tagungsband der 29. Konferenz, Ulm, 7-9 March 2018, TUDpress, pp.175-185.

Presentation at: RE-WORK AI Assistant Summit, London, 15-16 March, 2018.
Pic: Modelling conversation for chatbots.

SpeechTEK2018, Washington DC, USA, 9-11 April, 2018.

Monday, April 9, 2018. Intro to Intelligent Assistants.
Intelligent assistants are part of our daily lives, thanks to recent advances in artificial intelligence and spoken language technology. How can we make these assistants interact successfully with us? View a short demo of how to build a simple interaction. Learn about the basic concepts—skills, intents, and entities. Consider the importance of extensive training and testing and what we can learn from the experiences of a generation of voice user interface designers.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018. Tuesday Knowledge Cafe (Sunrise session).

Tuesday, April 10, 2018. Modeling conversation for chatbots.
The major intelligent agent platforms have converged on terminology involving intent identification and entity extraction, yet use different conversational models to describe behavior. Learn how these conversational models differ and which go beyond hard-coded conversation flows of “happy path” dialogues to model conversational phenomena such as follow-up questions, changes of topic, out-of-scope utterances, and other types of edge case. What are the desiderata for intelligent conversational agents?

Wednesday, April 11. Workshop: Build a conversational chatbot for Google Assistant.
Google Assistant allows users to engage with information and services through devices such as Google Home, Android smartphones and iPhones, and, ultimately, a wide range of other smart devices. Creating a conversational chatbot brings certain challenges. This tutorial begins by exploring issues of conversation design and then outlines the various tools available, such as Actions on Google, which supports the building of apps for Google Assistant; API.AI (Dialogflow), a tool for defining the natural language understanding and dialogue components of a conversation; Google templates, an alternative way to quickly create a conversational app; and Actions Simulator, a tool for testing the chatbot. The main part of the tutorial provides a hands-on demonstration of the tools.

Interview with SpeechTEK program chair, James Larson, in advance of the workshop session

Videos from SpeechTEK about recent trends in speech technology, featuring Michael McTear (Ulster University), Allyson Boudousquie (Convergys), Debra Cancro (VoiceVibes, Inc.), and Crispin Reedy (Versay Solutions)
Developments in Speech Technology
Are chatbots here to stay?
What is the biggest trend in speech technology in 2018?
What's your favorite use of speech technology?

Upcoming talks and events

32nd Human Computer Interaction Conference, Belfast, Northern Ireland, 2-6 July, 2018 .
Monday, 2 July, 2018. Masterclass tutorial: Designing and developing a conversational chatbot.
Thursday, 5th July, 14:00. Keynote: Chatbots as a new interface to smart devices: issues and challenges.


We provide consultancy and training in these areas of spoken language technology


VoiceXML (Voice eXtensible Markup Language) is the industry standard for building speech applications.

A VoiceXML application enables users to obtain information and services on the Internet by simply speaking on their landline telephone or mobile device.

Developers specify a VoiceXML application using a markup language similar to HTML. In this way developers can build on the existing Web infrastructure using standard Internet protocols.

For more information about VoiceXML, check out the VoiceXML forum and the W3C Voice Browser Working Group.

VoiceXML training

We have been providing training in VoiceXML to a wide range of companies for almost 15 years.

To find out more, click here or send an email to:

Natural Language Processing

Natural Language Processing is the study of how to build computer systems that can analyze, understand, and generate natural language as spoken by humans.

Vast amounts of natural language text are produced daily and stored on computers, ranging from emails, blogs, and social media messages to newspaper stories and scientific articles.

Natural Language Processing researchers have developed methods to process this text and to make use of it in a variety of interesting and useful ways.

Spoken natural language is becoming a natural and intuitive mode of communication with our hand-held mobile devices

Natural Language Processing

For more information about how you could benefit from natural language processing, send an email to:

Healthcare Applications

Spoken language technology provides tools and methods to assist patients and healthcare professionals in telemedicine.

In collaboration with the University of Ulster (Ulster) and the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust we have developed voice-based systems to support home-based monitoring of conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes.Click here for more information.

We are currently investigating ways to extend this technology to other aspects of healthcare.

Healthcare Applications

To find out more, send an email to: