The impact of real-time articulatory information on phonetic transcription: ultrasound-aided transcription in cleft lip and palate speech

Joanne Cleland, Susan Lloyd, Linsay Campbell, Lisa Crampin, Juha-Pertti Palo, Eleanor Sugden, Alan Wrench, Natalia Zharkova

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Objective: This study investigated whether adding an additional modality, namely ultrasound tongue imaging (UTI), to perception-based phonetic transcription impacted on the identification of compensatory articulations and on interrater reliability. Patients and Methods: Thirty-nine English-speaking children aged 3-12 years with cleft lip and palate (CLP) were recorded producing repetitions of /aCa/ for all places of articulation with simultaneous audio recording and probe-stabilized ultrasound (US). Three types of transcriptions were performed: (1) descriptive observations from the live US by the clinician recording the data, (2) US-aided transcription (UA) by two US-trained clinicians, and (3) traditional phonetic transcription by two CLP specialists from audio recording. We compared the number of consonants identified as in error by each transcriber and then classified errors into eight different subcategories. Results: Both UA and traditional transcription yielded similar error detection rates; however, these were significantly higher than the observations recorded live in the clinic. Interrater reliability for the US transcribers was substantial (κ = 0.65) compared to moderate (κ = 0.47) for the traditional transcribers. US transcribers were more likely to identify covert errors such as double articulations and retroflexion than the audio-only transcribers. Conclusion: UTI is a useful complement to traditional phonetic transcription for CLP speech.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages28
JournalFolia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica
Early online date24 May 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 May 2019


  • cleft lip/palate
  • speech
  • speech and language therapy
  • transcription
  • ultrasound tongue imaging

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