iListen speech recognition software updated

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The long-awaited update to iListen (version 1.1) is finally available and is a free download for registered users.

iListen, MacSpeech's speech recognition software, has "TalkAnywhere" technology, which lets you dictate into virtually any Mac application. It translates speech to typed text and characters anywhere you would normally type. iListen is speaker dependent, meaning you have to spend some time "training" iListen to the unique cadence and timbre of your voice. However, it can handle multiple users, each with their own speech files.

iListen 1.1 allows you to correct mis-recognized words by saying "Correct That." iListen will walk you through the correction process, and then ask if you want to adapt your profile to learn the corrections when you close the document. (You can also say "commit correction" at any time to adapt your voice model immediately.)

You can add new words to your profile by having iListen 1.1 analyze text documents you've written. You can also analyze other types of documents if you have the MacLinkPlus translators installed.

With version 1.1, you can now say "One Shot Command" while in Dictation Mode, and iListen will switch to Command mode for one command, then automatically switch back to Dictation Mode. Plus, there are "Scratch That" improvements. Saying "Scratch That," now deletes the last utterance instead of the last word. (The last utterance is the last phrase you said, as determined by when your last pause in dictation was.) And you can now say, "Scratch word," to erase the last word iListen thought you said.

New "Caps On" and "Caps Off" commands replace "Begin Capitalization" and "End Capitalization." Sound files are no longer retained after initial training is analyzed. This makes user profiles are much smaller, and allows training stories to be re-read to improve accuracy as you become more comfortable with the program, according to the MacSpeech Support Team.

There are additional "navigation by voice" commands in Dictation Mode. Switching between Command, Dictation and Spelling modes is faster in iListen 1.1, as well as enhanced support for Microsoft Word 2001. A MacSpeech add-in provides faster dictation in Word documents.

iListen 1.1 includes support for non-US languages, which can be added by purchasing MacSpeech LanguagePaks. The company is working on LanguagePaks now.

If you plan on using iListen 1.1, there are some things you should know. You can continue using your existing profile, but to take advantage of all the new features and bug fixes, you should create a new profile. MacSpeech "strongly recommends" users of iListen 1.1 create a new profile.

Mac OS 9.1 isn't supported and isn't compatible with iListen due to a bug in the operating system, according to MacSpeech. You should use 9.0, 9.0.4, or 9.2.1 for the best results. Neither is the Classic Environment or OS X supported. Mac OS X has no way of knowing that incoming sound is intended for the Classic Environment, therefore iListen won't operate, according to the MacSpeech Support Team. Finally, some users are reporting problems with dual processor Macs.

Registered iListen users can download the update. iListen 1.1 costs US$99 for the downloadable version or $109.95 for the CD version without a headset, and includes a free upgrade to the next version.

This story, "iListen speech recognition software updated" was originally published by PCWorld.

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