Join

Enter Details

Comment on stories, receive email newsletters & alerts.

@
This is your permanent identity for Business Insider Australia
Your email must be valid for account activation
Minimum of 8 standard keyboard characters

Subscribe

Email newsletters but will contain a brief summary of our top stories and news alerts.

Forgotten Password

Enter Details


Back to log in

Trump's speech has baffled translators and linguists since his campaign -- and an AI program might shed light on why

Whitney Curtis/Getty ImagesDonald Trump.
  • An AI transcription tool found that Donald Trump is one of the hardest politicians to understand.
  • Some of Trump’s speech habits, like turning away from the microphone and speaking in a stream-of-consciousness style, made it difficult for the software to relay his words.
  • Nikki Haley was the easiest politician for the AI to understand.

The unique speech patterns of President Donald Trump have posed problems for translators and linguists since he launched his campaign in 2015.

Now, we can add artificial intelligence to the list.

Trump was one of the politicians that were hardest to understand for Trint, a software program that uses AI to generate transcripts of audio and video, the company said in November.

Trint ran speeches from more than a dozen prominent politicians through its software and found that the transcription of Trump’s speech had a greater rate of errors than speeches from most other politicians – he ranked 11th out of the 15 people Trint analysed.

Granted, the program still transcribed 97.89% of Trump’s speech correctly. But it’s a notch lower than the near-perfect transcriptions of speeches from UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, Hillary Clinton, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, whose speeches were transcribed more than 99% correctly.

So what explains the drop-off for Trump? Some of Trump’s public-speaking tics could explain it, Trint co-founder Jeff Kofman said.

“He has a tendency to want to swallow some of the prefixes and suffixes in his words,” Kofman told Business Insider. In the June 2017 speech he looked at, for example, it was difficult to hear the first syllable when Trump said “incredible,” leading Trint to record “credible.”

Trump also has a habit of turning away from the microphone and addressing people onstage, something that drove the AI transcriber crazy.

Lastly, Trump’s stream-of-consciousness delivery makes it difficult for a bot to follow the syntax of his sentences.

“That makes it really challenging to sort of see the logic flow in a sentence and to put grammar to it, for now,” Kofman said. “Punctuation is a real challenge for artificial intelligence … We often don’t speak in logical sentences or sequences.”

In other words, it may be a while before a bot can perfectly understand the president.

NOW WATCH: Ideas videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.