USC-SFI MALACH Interviews and Transcripts English, LDC Catalog Number LDC2012S05 and ISBN 1-58563-602-9, was developed by The University of Southern California's Shoah Foundation Institute (USC-SFI), the University of Maryland, IBM and Johns Hopkins University as part of the MALACH (Multilingual Access to Large Spoken ArCHives) Project. It contains approximately 375 hours of interviews from 784 interviewees along with transcripts and other documentation.
Inspired by his experience making Schindler's List, Steven Spielberg established the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation in 1994 to gather video testimonies from survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust. While most of those who gave testimony were Jewish survivors, the Foundation also interviewed homosexual survivors, Jehovah's Witness survivors, liberators and liberation witnesses, political prisoners, rescuers and aid providers, Roma and Sinti (Gypsy) survivors, survivors of eugenics policies, and war crimes trials participants. Within several years, the Foundation's Visual History Archive held nearly 52,000 video testimonies in 32 languages, representing 56 countries; it is the largest archive of its kind in the world. In 2006, the Foundation became part of the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and was renamed as the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education.
The goal of the MALACH project was to develop methods for improved access to large mulitnational spoken archives; the focus was advancing the state of the art of automatic speech recognition (ASR) and information retrieval. The characteristics of the USC-SFI collection -- unconstrained, natural speech filled with disfluencies, heavy accents, age-related coarticulations, un-cued speaker and language switching and emotional speech -- were considered well-suited for that task. The work centered on five languages: English, Czech, Russian, Polish and Slovak. USC-SFI MALACH Interviews and Transcripts English was developed for the English speech recognition experiments.
The speech data in this release was collected beginning in 1994 under a wide variety of conditions ranging from quiet to noisy (e.g., airplane overflights, wind noise, background conversations and highway noise). Original interviews were recorded on Sony Beta SP tapes, then digitized into a 3 MB/s MPEG-1 stream with 128 kb/s (44 kHz) stereo audio. The sound files in this release are compressed in MP3 format at a sampling frequency of 44.1 kHz.
Approximately 25,000 of all USC-SFI collected interviews are in English and average approximately 2.5 hours each. The 784 interviews included in this release are each a 30 minute section of the corresponding larger interview. Due to the way the original interviews were arranged on the tapes, some interviews are clipped and have a duration of less than 30 minutes. Certain interviews include speech from family members in addition to that of the subject and the interviewer. Accordingly, the corpus contains speech from more than 784 speakers, who are more or less equally distributed between males and females. The interviews also include accented speech over a wide range (e.g., Hungarian, Italian, Yiddish, German and Polish).
This release includes transcripts in trs format of the first 15 minutes of each interview. The transcripts were created using Transcriber 1.5.1 and later modified.
For a sample of the audio in this release, use this link.
None at this time.
Portions © 2012 USC Shoah Foundation Institute, © 2012 Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania