HKUST Mandarin Telephone Transcript Data, Part 1

Item Name: HKUST Mandarin Telephone Transcript Data, Part 1
Author(s): Pascale Fung, Shudong Huang, David Graff
LDC Catalog No.: LDC2005T32
ISBN: 1-58563-352-6
ISLRN: 254-896-342-130-6
Release Date: July 15, 2005
Member Year(s): 2005
DCMI Type(s): Text
Data Source(s): telephone conversations
Project(s): GALE, EARS
Application(s): automatic content extraction
Language(s): Mandarin Chinese
Language ID(s): cmn
License(s): LDC User Agreement for Non-Members
Online Documentation: LDC2005T32 Documents
Licensing Instructions: Subscription & Standard Members, and Non-Members
Citation: Fung, Pascale, Shudong Huang, and David Graff. HKUST Mandarin Telephone Transcript Data, Part 1 LDC2005T32. Web Download. Philadelphia: Linguistic Data Consortium, 2005.


This file contains documentation on the HKUST Mandarin Telephone Transcripts, Part 1, Linguistic Data Consortium (LDC) catalog number LDC2005T32 and ISBN 1-58563-352-6.

In 2004, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) was contracted to collect and transcribe 200 hours of Mandarin Chinese conversational telephone speech from Mandarin speakers in mainland China under the DARPA EARS framework. The first 50 hours of speech and transcripts were released in June 2004 to the EARS community for the RT-04 NIST evaluation. NIST partitioned the remaining 150 hours of collection into training, development and evaluation sets. This release contains the training and development sets with 873 and 24 calls, respectively.

Subject recruitment was done in several cities across mainland China. Most subjects did not previously know each other. To encourage more meaningful conversation, topics similar to those in Fisher English were designed. All calls were operator-assisted, namely, an operator would call two participants as scheduled to initiate a call. Subjects were asked about demographic questions before they were bridged for normal conversation. Their answers to the demographic questions were recorded on separate files.

Subjects were allowed to talk up to 10 minutes. With a few exceptions, most calls are of the maximum length. Although subjects were allowed to make up to three calls, all subject made just one call in this release with one exception, where PIN 10683 and PIN 10686 belong to a single individual.

Each side of a call was recorded on a separate .wav file, sampled at 8-bits (a-law encoded), 8Khz. They were multiplexed later in sphere format with a-law encoding preserved. In the case where one side was shorter than the other, the shorter side was padded with silence. In the release, the file name of each recorded call is in the format of "date_time_Apin_Bpin.sph" and the corresponding transcript is in the same format with .txt extension.

Speaker demographics

Subjects were asked to provide several pieces of demographic information, including gender, age, native language/dialect, birthplace, education, occupation, phone type, etc. Given that Standard Mandarin is not the native dialect in many regions of China but is the official language of education and speakers may or may not have regional accents speaking Mandarin, it was decided that subjects' birthplaces were divided into Mandarin-dominant and non-Mandarin-dominant regions and all calls were audited and classified into standard and accented types without further distinctions.

Selected demographics - age, gender, birthplace, phone type and accent for each side of the call and the topic ID for the call - are provided as a tab-delimited, plain-text, tabular file.


All calls were fully transcribed from the beginning to the end. Standard simplified Chinese characters, encoded in GBK (CP-936), were used. Speech is segmented at natural boundaries wherever possible and each segment is no more than 10 seconds long. HKUST formulated transcription guidelines based on LDC's RT-03 transcription guidelines. For more information, refer to "trans-guidelines.pdf" included in the release.

The transcripts provided by HKUST were XML-formatted with each side of a call in a separate file. LDC multiplexed the two sides into a single file with turns interleaved in temporal order (based on the initial time stamps), and converted the format into the LDC format. All transcripts were checked against RT-04 formatting standards. The following is a list of RT-04 conventions that are different from those in the transcription guidelines.

  1. Speaker noise: curly brackets, e.g. {laugh}, instead of angel brackets;
  2. Foreign language: TEXT instead of TEXT.

The Chinese text is not segmented into words, though there are occasional white spaces within some turns.


To see an example of the data in this publication, please examine this text sample.

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