Conversational technology allows people to get information, conduct transactions, and be entertained, simply by speaking to a computer. Based on the integration of speech recognition, natural language processing and dialog understanding, conversational systems are rapidly becoming an important component of solutions including virtual assistants, chatbots, customer care, and the Internet of Things. These systems save money and time, attract new customers, and improve accessibility for their users on a day in and day out basis for millions of people all over the world.

Conversational Technologies will help you turn technologies into solutions.

Here's a 1-minute audio introduction to Conversational Technologies, powered by Witlingo's audio station technology.

We know about

Enterprise Strategies for Conversational Technology

Development of strategic plans for speech recognition, natural language, and dialog technologies, including requirements analysis, vendor selection and technology state of the art.

Natural Language Understanding

Applications of natural language technologies for a wide variety of applications, including customer service, virtual agents, language learning and speech therapy.

Speech Technologies

Applications of speech recognition, speech understanding and text to speech, including requirements analysis, vendor selection, design and development.

Industry Analysis

Knowledge of the industry and major company activities involving these technologies.

Some Examples


The World Wide Web Consortium has published many standards that are making speech and language technologies interoperable and easy to use. We are highly experienced with these standards. The W3C Voice Interaction Community Group has recently published a draft report on standards for virtual agents, "Intelligent Personal Assistant Architecture". The draft describes some ideas for representing natural language results in a cross-platform way.

You can see some examples of how one of the most important multimodal standards, Extensible Multimodal Annotation (EMMA), represents user inputs on this page.

My recent book, Multimodal Interaction with W3C Standards, covers most of the W3c voice and multimodal interaction standards.

I also write a regular column on standards for Speech Technology Magazine.

Podcast Interviews

Natural Language Understanding

An episode in "The Future is Spoken" series, produced by the Digital Assistant Academy. This is a high level overview of natural language understanding. It's also available with transcripts and chapters. The chapters and transcript were created automatically by Ziotag.

Machine Yearning

Discussing the past, present and future of speech and language technology with Shane Mac of Assist. Recorded at the 2018 Voice Summit in Newark, New Jersey. Listen to the podcast episode.

Software for Language Disorders

Conversational Technologies has a long history of work on applications using speech and language technologies for remediative and assistive systems for language disorders. This work is described in a recent book Speech and Language Technology for Language Disorders , coauthored by Katharine Beals, Deborah Dahl, Ruth Fink, and Marcia Linebarger.

Natural Language Processing Training

We know about commercial and research natural language processing tools, including open source tools, as well as the academic literature. Here's a five minute overview of natural language processing, which is part of the AVIOS (Applied Voice Input Output Society) video series, "A Closer Look at the World of Speech Technology".

Industry Analysis and Evaluation

Extensive experience evaluating human language technologies, going back to the classic DARPA Air Travel Information (ATIS) systems. Some recent examples:
  1. Does Your Intelligent Assistant Really Understand You? An evaluation of the natural language processing abilities of five popular personal assistants.
  2. 2016 State of the Speech Technology Industry
  3. Accessibility of voice systems for users with cognitive disabilities
  4. User interfaces to the Internet of Things


We work with the major natural language development tools, including open source systems in Java and Python, as well as proprietary systems such as the Alexa Skills Kit,, Microsoft LUIS, and Nuance Mix. We also work with speech recognition and ontology tools.



  • Conversational Interaction Conference (April 12 and 13, 2022). "Beyond Personas: Relationships with Conversational Agents" Discussing the importance of designing, not just a conversational agent's persona, but the relationship between the agent and the user. Should the designer model the relationship like that between an expert and client, an operator and a tool, or like a friendship?



  • The Sonic Voices Multicast: A monthly podcast featuring short comments by people in the voice industry. We talk about topics like "Where are the missing opportunities in voice?" and "Can voicebots be our friends?".
  • Digital Assistant Throwdown: An ongoing series of free, interactive, online sessions comparing digital assistants on natural language understanding abilities and responses to ethical situations. The sessions are recorded and are available on YouTube. We've discussed topics like negation and responses to bot abuse. These sessions are organized by the Digital Assistant Academy. Sign up for future sessions.

About Us

Company Background

Conversational Technologies was founded in 2002 with the mission of helping its customers apply speech and language technologies in creative, socially beneficial, and innovative ways.

Our Customers

Many of our customers are entrepreneurs with ideas for new applications of speech and natural language understanding technologies, but we also work with large corporations and government agencies. We develop requirements, designs and prototypes. We also identify vendors and architect solutions. We make it possible for our customers to realize their visions.

Deborah Dahl
Deborah Dahl

I focus on designing and building innovative applications of speech and natural language technology. I work with all kinds of customers, including startups, large enterprises, and government agencies. I frequently speak at industry conferences such as the Conversational Interaction Conference, Voice Summit, and SpeechTEK. I also have extensive experience in speech, multimodal and accessibility standards activities in the World Wide Web Consortium, having served as Chair of the Multimodal Interaction Working Group. I have been an editor of several multimodal standards, including EMMA (Extensible MultiModal Annotation specification) and the Multimodal Architecture and Interfaces specification. I am a member of the Board of Directors of AVIOS, (the Applied Voice Input Output Society) and a member of the Editorial Board of Speech Technology Magazine. I have over 30 years of experience in speech and natural language technologies, including work on research, defense, government, and commercial systems. In addition to my three books, I have also published many technical papers and book chapters.

I received the "Speech Luminary" award from Speech Technology Magazine in 2012 and 2014.

Contact Us

Bring us your ideas! We love to hear about ideas for new, disruptive applications of speech and language technologies, as well as ideas for improving traditional applications.

Contact information

+1 610 888-4532 dahl at conversational-technologies dot com


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