Thursday, September 23, 2010

Nuance Launches Dragon Dictate for Mac -- Simply Smarter Speech Recognition

Dragon Speech Application for Mac OS X Taps New Dragon 11 Engine, Allows Mac Users to Create Content and Interact with Their Favorite Applications by Voice

BURLINGTON, Mass., Sep 20, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Nuance Communications, Inc. (NUAN 14.88, -0.31, -2.04%) , a leading provider of speech solutions, today unveiled Dragon Dictate for Mac version 2.0, the newest addition to the Dragon family of speech recognition products which includes Dragon NaturallySpeaking for the PC and Dragon Mobile Apps. Dragon Dictate for Mac -- the first major desktop product for Mac OS X from the Dragon family following Nuance's acquisition of MacSpeech earlier this year -- makes it easier than ever to create documents and emails, search the web, navigate the Mac desktop, and interact with popular Mac applications -- all by voice.

Dragon Dictate for Mac, version 2.0, improves on the accuracy and performance of MacSpeech Dictate 1.5, leveraging the new Dragon 11 engine, which also powers the recently-announced Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 for the PC. Dictate 2.0 offers a more streamlined set-up, revamped Mac user interface, and dynamic new voice commands for dictation, editing, navigation and proofreading. Dragon Dictate for Mac also "learns" better than any previous version of Dictate, responds faster to spoken commands and supports Dragon Voice Shortcuts(TM) for searching the web, email and Mac desktop by voice.

"Recognizing the important opportunity within the Mac community, we set out earlier this year to bring Dragon to the Mac, working closely with our experts from the MacSpeech team, and drawing on our history and proven success with Dragon," said Peter Mahoney, senior vice president and general manager for Dragon at Nuance. "We've maintained the elements of Dictate that are most important to our Mac customers, such as the native Mac interface, and integrated many features of Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 to bring improved accuracy as well as smarter command and control capabilities to this discerning audience of new Dragon customers."

Dragon for PC, Mobile, and now the Mac

For years, people from all walks of life have used Dragon NaturallySpeaking on the PC to be more productive, save time and capture their ideas at the speed of thought -- at home, in the office, the courtroom, the classroom, the exam room, or even on the road. Most recently, with Nuance's Dragon Mobile Apps on the BlackBerry, Apple iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, millions of people now communicate quickly and easily on their mobile devices, simply using speech recognition. Dragon Dictate for Mac is the first Mac member of the Dragon desktop family, allowing Mac users to speak their minds to:

- Turn talk into text -- Dragon Dictate for Mac lets users simply speak to produce text. Speak thoughts and watch the words appear on screen, inside almost any Mac application -- up to three times faster than typing -- with an astounding recognition accuracy rate of up to 99 percent, right out of the box.

- Unlock creativity -- Transform ideas into text at the speed of thought with Dragon Dictate for Mac. Users can let their creativity flow from brain to voice to produce emails, blog posts, essays, and more.

- Work comfortably -- With Dragon Dictate for Mac, control the Mac in a relaxed, hands-free manner without being tethered to the keyboard. Instead of using a mouse, just speak commands to launch and control applications. Move the cursor or click anywhere on screen, simply by voice.

- Multi-task -- Dragon Dictate for Mac allows users to tell the Mac what to do, with commands like "Reply To This Message" or "Open Microsoft Word" or "Search Google for Italian restaurants" to work faster and smarter. In addition, it's easy to create custom voice commands that automate complex workflows on the Mac.

- Work your way -- Dragon Dictate for Mac can be customized with a personal vocabulary and voice commands that reflect an individual's work style.

In addition to the powerful voice commands that MacSpeech Dictate 1.5 already offers for controlling popular Mac applications such as Safari, Mail, iCal and iChat, the new Dragon Dictate for Mac 2.0 adds more ways to interact with the Mac by voice:

- Dragon Voice Shortcuts(TM) for Search -- Offers an easy way to search for information, files and content anywhere on your Mac or on the Web by using single voice commands. For example:

- "Search Google for hula dancing lessons"

- "Search Bing for wedding dress repair"

- "Search Yahoo for gondola rentals"

- "Search Mail for RSVP"

- "Search Mac for history term paper"

- New Editing Commands -- A new suite of commands in Dragon Dictate for Mac makes it easy to edit documents. With commands that are designed to simplify editing, users can select and delete text, insert new text, capitalize text, and more.

- Proofreading -- The new Proofreading commands in Dragon Dictate for Mac take advantage of the powerful Text-to-Speech capabilities built into Mac OS X. Simply dictate text, and ask Dragon Dictate for Mac to read it back.

- Surrounding Punctuation -- New commands in Dragon Dictate for Mac enable users to put punctuation around certain words or groups of words, using a simple command, such as:

- "Put Quotes Around "

- "Put Parentheses Around "

- "Put Brackets Around "

- Voice Navigation -- Dragon Dictate for Mac lets users control the Mac's cursor and mouse actions by voice, giving new options for interacting with their desktop and precise handling of mouse pointer-based tasks. New features include:

- MouseGrid: Placement of the cursor can be accomplished with MouseGrid commands

- Mouse Click: Speak a command, with optional that designate one or more keys such as Command, Option, Shift or Caps Lock

- Mouse Movement: New commands move the mouse pointer by voice

- Flexible Microphones -- Dragon Dictate for Mac users who have multiple microphones, such as a wired and wireless headset, can easily switch between microphones within the same voice profile.

Pricing, Availability & System Requirements

Dragon Dictate for Mac is available immediately starting at $199.99 through Nuance's Web site as well as its global network of reseller partners, software retailers and professional sales organizations. Existing MacSpeech Dictate customers and Dragon NaturallySpeaking customers can purchase Dragon Dictate for Mac starting at $49.99 and $99.99 respectively for a limited time. For additional information on features, editions, pricing and volume licensing programs, please visit

Dragon Dictate for Mac requires an Intel-based Mac, Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard or greater, 3GB of available hard drive space, 2GB of RAM recommended and an Internet connection for product registration. Dragon Dictate for Mac comes complete with a Nuance-approved USB microphone headset.

Trademark reference: Nuance, Dragon, Dragon Voice Shortcuts, Dragon Dictate, Dragon NaturallySpeaking, and the Nuance logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of Nuance Communications, Inc. or its affiliates in the United States and/or other countries. All other company names or product names referenced herein may be the property of their respective owners.

About Nuance Communications, Inc.

Nuance is a leading provider of speech, imaging and customer interaction solutions for businesses and consumers around the world. Its technologies, applications and services make the user experience more compelling by transforming the way people interact with information and how they create, share and use documents. Every day, millions of users and thousands of businesses experience Nuance's proven applications and professional services. For more information, please visit:

SOURCE: Nuance Communications, Inc.

Nuance Communications, Inc.  Erica Hill, 781-565-5218  Twitter : @DragonTweets, @macspeech  InkHouse for Nuance Communications, Inc.  Lisa Mokaba, 781-791-4570    

UTOPY Recommended by Ovum’s 2010 Contact Center Speech Analytics Market Report

UTOPY, the leading provider of Voice of the Customer and Performance Optimization solutions powered by Speech Analytics, announced that it has been recognized for its leadership in recording-system-independent Speech Analytics by Ovum’s 2010 contact center Speech Analytics market report.

Titled “Decision Matrix: Selecting a Speech Analytics Vendor,” the report examines the competitive dynamics within the Speech Analytics market in order to help businesses select a vendor based on its technology strength, reputation among customers and impact on the market.

In the report, an independent technology analyst provides a comprehensive view of vendor capabilities and advises on those that businesses should explore, consider and most importantly, shortlist. The report cited the advantages provided by UTOPY’s ability to integrate with virtually any call recording system. UTOPY also gained high marks for its core technology, interface and packaged applications, and earned additional praise for its support of a wide range of languages, dialects, and accents.

“We are pleased to receive this recommendation from Ovum,” said Roy Twersky, President and CEO at UTOPY. “We believe this further underscores UTOPY’s unwavering commitment to developing innovative, analytics-driven solutions that provide contact centers with unsurpassed insight into customer-agent conversations, which can be leveraged to maximize performance and profitability.”

Find more on Utopy at

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Yet another speech translation story - now from Google

Not only speech to text from cellulars but also translation. Google is aiming high but does their existing voice to text really works?

Google leaps language barrier with translator phone

Young woman talking on mobile phone

GOOGLE is developing software for the first phone capable of translating foreign languages almost instantly — like the Babel Fish in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

By building on existing technologies in voice recognition and automatic translation, Google hopes to have a basic system ready within a couple of years. If it works, it could eventually transform communication among speakers of the world’s 6,000-plus languages.

The company has already created an automatic system for translating text on computers, which is being honed by scanning millions of multi-lingual websites and documents. So far it covers 52 languages, adding Haitian Creole last week.

Google also has a voice recognition system that enables phone users to conduct web searches by speaking commands into their phones rather than typing them in.

Now it is working on combining the two technologies to produce software capable of understanding a caller’s voice and translating it into a synthetic equivalent in a foreign language. Like a professional human interpreter, the phone would analyse “packages” of speech, listening to the speaker until it understands the full meaning of words and phrases, before attempting translation.

“We think speech-to-speech translation should be possible and work reasonably well in a few years’ time,” said Franz Och, Google’s head of translation services.

“Clearly, for it to work smoothly, you need a combination of high-accuracy machine translation and high-accuracy voice recognition, and that’s what we’re working on.

“If you look at the progress in machine translation and corresponding advances in voice recognition, there has been huge progress recently.”

Although automatic text translators are now reasonably effective, voice recognition has proved more challenging.

“Everyone has a different voice, accent and pitch,” said Och. “But recognition should be effective with mobile phones because by nature they are personal to you. The phone should get a feel for your voice from past voice search queries, for example.”

The translation software is likely to become more accurate the more it is used. And while some translation systems use crude rules based on the grammar of languages, Google is exploiting its vast database of websites and translated documents to improve the accuracy of its system.

“The more data we input, the better the quality,” said Och. There is no shortage of help. “There are a lot of language enthusiasts out there,” he said.

However, some experts believe the hurdles to live translation remain high. David Crystal, honorary professor of linguistics at Bangor University, said: “The problem with speech recognition is the variability in accents. No system at the moment can handle that properly.

“Maybe Google will be able to get there faster than everyone else, but I think it’s unlikely we’ll have a speech device in the next few years that could handle high-speed Glaswegian slang.

“The future, though, looks very interesting. If you have a Babel Fish, the need to learn foreign languages is removed.”

In the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the small, yellow Babel Fish was capable of translating any language when placed in the ear. It sparked a bloody war because everyone became able to understand what other people were saying.