Category: News

  1. Farewell message from Debbie

    Some end of year news for the Hub is that I am finishing up my Research Fellow role, and will be moving into a research and teaching role in the School of Languages and Linguistics. I will be starting that role in January, working in the ESL program which includes teaching the 5 week intensive […]

  2. Event summary: Acoustical Society of America conference (in Sydney)

    The Hub had a presence at the Acoustical Society of America conference, which was held in Sydney from Dec 4-8, 2023. I presented some work that Helen and I have been conducting in collaboration with Dr Kirsty McDougall, who is an Assistant Professor of Phonetics at University of Cambridge. Kirsty works on various topics in […]

  3. Is your voice really your voice? Let’s ask AI Debbie

    Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have been extremely rapid, and this has become especially evident in 2023. In this blog post, we address the the matter of text-to-speech. Think deepfakes (in this case generated audio) and spoofing (here, identity crime using voices) – but also there are more innocuous uses for the generation of speech, […]

  4. Guest blogger: ‘Humans vs machines’ by Will Somers

    This post is a small, informal follow-up experiment to my previous blog post in August, where I examined the ability of the Whisper automatic speech recognition system (ASR) to transcribe neologisms and colloquial language. The results of the previous experiments demonstrated this artificial intelligence system was rather ineffective in transcribing neologisms and colloquial language. In particular, […]

  5. The Hub is hiring!

    The Research Hub for Language in Forensic Evidence (School of Languages and Linguistics, University of Melbourne) has just advertised two five-year Level B research-only positions. Please find information about the Research Fellow in Forensic Linguistics positions at the link below. The application deadline is Fri 1 December, 2023. Read on for some background about […]

  6. Key references from the Hub

    Eades, D., Fraser, H., & Heydon, G. (2023). Forensic Linguistics in Australia: Origins, progress and prospects. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. McMahon, M., & Fraser, H. (2023). Transcription of indistinct forensic audio: Time for reform. Law Institute of Victoria Journal, (August), 20–23. Fraser, H. (2023). Applied phonetics and phonology. In L. Wei, Z. Hua, & J. […]

  7. Video: Enhancing and transcribing indistinct forensic audio (AAFS presentation)

    On 6 September 2023, Helen Fraser presented to lawyers and forensic scientists at the Victorian Chapter of the Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences. Here’s the video – and relevant references are below. About the Research Hub for Language in Forensic Evidence McMahon, M., & Fraser, H. 2023. Transcription of indistinct forensic audio: Time for reform. […]

  8. Podcast: Because Language – Forensic Linguistics

    Helen Fraser recently made an appearance on the Because Language podcast, along with co-authors Diana Eades and Georgina Heydon, to discuss their new publication in the Cambridge Elements in Forensic Linguistics series. You can listen to the forensic linguistics episode of Because Language here (section starts at 1.05). This is the blurb about what to […]

  9. Guest Blogger: ‘Automatic Speech Recognition Models, Neologisms, and Colloquial Language’ by Will Somers

    About the author – Will Somers I am a third year Bachelor of Arts student majoring in linguistics and criminology at the University of Melbourne. I have a particular interest in transcription and the potential for artificial intelligence models to be used to advance the efficiency and accuracy of the transcription process. Introduction With the […]

  10. Funded PhD position in Forensic Transcription – expressions of interest

    It is not too late to put in an expression of interest for a funded PhD opportunity in The Research Hub for Language in Forensic Evidence, starting in February 2024. This opportunity is for a topic related to forensic transcription. The first stage of the process is this expression of interest, and shortlisted applicants will […]

  11. Conference: International Association for Forensic Phonetics and Acoustics – Zurich

    The IAFPA conference in Zurich has just finished – and what a great experience it was. Despite the 35-degree heat, participants minds were fully alert, and the program was packed with excellent presentations from established and emerging scholars, including an unprecedented degree of student participation. As usual, the Hub’s colleagues at University of Zurich’s Centre […]

  12. Guest blogger: “The reliability of speechreading as forensic evidence” by Catherine Hill

    Earlier this year, Australian linguistics professor, Helen Fraser, received a phone call asking whether she could recommend a lipreader to transcribe CCTV footage for use as evidence in the court of law. Fraser told the caller she was unable to do so, but found it an interesting question, so later asked me to investigate  the […]

  13. Video: ‘Enhancing forensic audio’, a presentation at ISCA SPSC

    Helen Fraser delivered a webinar to the International Speech Communication Association’s Special Interest Group on Security and Privacy in Speech Communication on 12 June. We had a very engaged and responsive audience, some of whom will be taking the issues forward via ongoing discussion – let us know if you would like to be involved. […]

  14. ‘Forensic Linguistics in Australia’ – free download till 7 June 2023

    A new title in Cambridge Elements in Forensic Linguistics is available for free download till 7 June 2023, namely Forensic Linguistics in Australia: Origins, Progress and Prospects by Diana Eades, Helen Fraser and Georgina Heydon. Here is the book announcement circulated by the authors: Cambridge Elements is a newish monograph series publishing concise, original, succinct, authoritative, peer-reviewed, scholarly work […]

  15. Videos: Automatic speech recognition as a solution for indistinct forensic audio

    (Last week the Hub gave a presentation at Monash University. Thanks to Prof Kate Burridge, Dr Howie Manns and their colleagues in Monash Linguistics for a wonderful welcome and a delicious lunch. Here are videos of the sections by Debbie Loakes and Lauren Harrington (who has been visiting the Hub from the University of York – now heading […]

  16. Upcoming event: Join the Hub in the Pub!

    The Hub is happy to be presenting in the famous and fun Linguistics in the Pub series at the famous and fun Naughton’s Hotel on Tuesday 28 March 6-8pm. Why not come along and enjoy a drink and some interesting discussion with us? Misunderstanding mishearing: Why linguistic science is needed to cure serious injustice in our […]

  17. Upcoming event: seminar by Lauren Harrington (Univ. York)

    On Friday March 24th, Hub visitor Lauren Harrington will talk about Transcription of indistinct audio: are phoneticians at an advantage?  This will be an in-person event at The University of Melbourne (Babel Building, rm 407) at, 3.15pm. There will also be an online option (just get in touch with Hub members for the link). Abstract: […]

  18. Upcoming event: seminar at Monash University (Helen Fraser, Debbie Loakes and Lauren Harrington)

    On Tuesday March 21st, the Hub will be giving a seminar at Monash University: Can the new generation of automatic speech recognition systems solve problems of forensic transcription – and what does the process of answering this question teach us about the human language capacity? Helen Fraser, Debbie Loakes, Lauren Harrington* Research Hub for Language […]

  19. Upcoming event: Helen Fraser plenary at the Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences

    The Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) was founded in 1967, and is said to be “unique in bringing together persons of professional standing from the legal, medical and scientific professions whom have contributed to the advancement or practice of forensic science”. The Hub is pleased to announce that Helen Fraser will be giving a […]

  20. Masterclasses in transcription for forensic and other purposes – join us in March

    The Hub is known for its pioneering work in forensic transcription – but transcripts are used in many other sectors of society. As well, multiple branches of linguistic science use transcripts as the basis of research (e.g. phonetics, conversation and discourse analysis, language description and documentation, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics – not to mention other branches of […]

  21. The Research Hub for Language in Forensic Evidence in 2023

    The Hub are happy to be back at work in 2023, with many activities planned for the start of the new year and beyond. Wrapping up 2022 In wrapping up the Hub’s activities in 2022, which included a symposium we hosted at The University of Melbourne, a visit to the SocioPhonAus workshop in Brisbane, and various […]

  22. Upcoming event summary – ALS 2022 and SST 2022

    In November and December, the Hub will be presenting at two upcoming conferences. These are: ALS 2022 – The Australian Linguistics Society annual conference, to be held at The University of Melbourne (Nov 30- Dec 2). SST 2022 – The 18th Australasian Speech Science and Technology conference, to be held at ANU in Canberra (Dec […]

  23. Research report – “Assisting listeners to hear words that aren’t there” (Fraser 2018)

    In 2018, Helen published a paper in the Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences called ‘Assisting’ listeners to hear words that aren’t there: dangers in using police transcripts of indistinct covert recordings. This paper is highly relevant to our ongoing work in the Research Hub for Language in Forensic Evidence, and we summarise the main findings […]

  24. Event Summary – SocioPhonAus3

    This week, the Hub travelled to Brisbane for the SocioPhonAus3 conference, held on July 11 and 12. This was hosted by Griffith University, at the Ship Inn on Southbank. A very nice venue, as you can see from our feature image. The small picture below also shows where we had our breaks and meals – […]

  25. Symposium – Transcription in Legal Contexts: Problems and Solutions

    In the last month (June 8 and 9, 2022), the Hub ran a symposium called Transcription in Legal Contexts: Problems and Solutions. Day 1 was all about problems, while Day 2 was about solutions. We ran this event on campus at The University of Melbourne, and also had online attendees including many from the U.K […]

  26. Research report – Frontiers in Communication (Loakes 2022)

    As of today, the Hub has a new open access publication – this is an article published in our special issue of Frontiers in Communication, called Does Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) Have a Role in the Transcription of Indistinct Covert Recordings for Forensic Purposes?     Motivation for this study This study was motivated by […]

  27. Helen in Melbourne

    The Hub has had a busy month, with Helen coming to Melbourne (for the first time in two years!). We had some work to do together on a research project (which we will report on soon) and Helen gave two lectures about forensic linguistics in the first year Language course. The first lecture focused on […]

  28. Capturing talk – Frontiers papers available

    In one of our first posts last year, we mentioned we would be co-editing a Frontiers research topic (see that post from March 2021 here). The research topic is called  Capturing Talk: The Institutional Practices Surrounding the Transcription of Spoken Language. For our first post of 2022, We are pleased to announce there are already […]

  29. Conference – Australian Linguistic Society annual conference (ALS)

    The Research Hub for Language in Forensic Evidence will be presenting our work at the upcoming 2021 Australian Linguistic Society annual conference (ALS). This is going to be fully online, hosted by La Trobe University Melbourne, and will run from Dec 7-Dec 9. Our papers on forensic linguistic topics are (times listed in AEDT): Tuesday […]

  30. Event Summary – Linguistics in the Pub panel (online experiments)

    I recently spoke at a panel session for Linguistics in the Pub with my friends (who are also colleagues) Chloé Diskin-Holdaway and Olga Maxwell (pictured above). The three of us as a team have published some research about Indian English and about Australian English (Chloé and Debbie, with Penelope Schmidt). Details of the Linguistics in […]

Number of posts found: 41