MacSpeech Dictate International: Multi-Language Speech Recognition
The [msd] team have been hard at work while we have all been focussed on Snow Leopard and tonight the fourth member of the family arrived: MacSpeech Dictate International.
It's true: multi-language continuous speech recognition is finally available for OS X. Dictate International offers recognition in US English, UK English, French, German, and Italian. In their press release about Dictate International MacSpeech strongly implied that Spanish language support will soon be added. [Clarification added 16 September: MacSpeech have confirmed that English recognition supports all the same English accent options as the English-only versions of Dictate. The "US and UK English" mentioned to on the website refer to the availability of US and UK style spelling.]
Details of how it works are sketchy at this point, the press release quotes Andrew Taylor as saying, "Using MacSpeech Dictate International, you can open voice profiles in the various different languages, including English, and it will recognize speech when you switch between languages even in the same document." Does this mean the user can have more than one voice profile open at the same time? Existing versions of MacSpeech Dictate have only supported opening one voice profile at once. I am unsure if Taylor is implying that Dictate International will try to automatically detect when the client switches languages, or if an explicit (voice controlled?) switch is needed; explicit switching seems much more likely. As soon as I can find somebody who has Dictate International, I will pass on all the details I can. [Clarification updated 17 September: MacSpeech have confirmed that only one profile can be opened at once. It's not currently possible to switch profiles using voice commands alone, but I have word that MacSpeech is looking into the possibility of voice control of profiles - no timetables though.]
Dictate International requires an Intel-based Mac with Mac OS X 10.5.6 through Mac OS X 10.6. You'll need an internet connection for registration and any upgrades, of course.
MacSpeech Dictate International currently retails for US$249 including a high quality noise-cancelling microphone - a surprisingly low price, considering the legal and medical versions (in English only) are retailing at US$595. MacSpeech Dictate 1.5 customers can crossgrade for US$50, and customers with previous MacSpeech Dictate for the slightly odd price of US$104.95.
- Ricky Buchanan