Speech and text recognition programs ready for the office

Technology that once seemed best suited for unintentional comedy is now ready for practical application. Software for text and speech recognition is now sufficiently mature to be considered for general office use, say the editors of the Hanover- based iX magazine. Text recognition or optical character recognition (OCR), requires just a standard multi-functional scanner with 300 dpi performance or better to produce decent results. None of the programs tested by the magazine showed any glaring weaknesses.

Speech recognition is a far more complex process, though, and requires more from the user. An extensive training text typically must first be read into the computer to achieve decent accuracy results. And in some cases specialised dictionaries must be purchased as well to get the software up to speed.
Yet once speech recognition software has been trained, there's no longer any need for exaggerated pronunciation and slow speech. The user can simply speak normally. Only minor differences were found in results between the different speech and text recognition programs. [click heading for more]