OmniPage Update Adds Speech Features

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2003-11-11 Print this article Print

The updated OCR software also boosts improved accuracy for the conversion of paper documents and images into electronic form.

ScanSoft Inc. on Tuesday released a new version of its OmniPage optical character recognition software that incorporates new speech technologies and improves the accuracy of converting scanned documents into electronic ones. With OmniPage Pro 14 Office, ScanSoft has incorporated its automatic speech recognition technology into the product. It allows a user to speak commands in order to initiate OmniPage workflow processes and to conduct proofing of documents by voice, said Chris Strammiello, director of product marketing at ScanSoft, of Peabody, Mass. The latest OmniPage release also makes use of ScanSofts text-to-speech technology so that users can output converted documents or scans into speech in the form of WAV files, Strammiello said.
ScanSoft in recent years has bolstered its speech technology offerings through a series of acquisitions. Most recently, in August, it completed the acquisition of leading speech vendor SpeechWorks International Inc. OmniPage itself came into the ScanSoft fold through the acquisition of Caere Corp. in 2000, Strammiello said. OmniPage has become ScanSofts main focus in the optical character recognition (OCR) arena, though it continues to offer an entry-level software product called TextBridge.
With the OmniPage Pro 14 Office version, ScanSoft has redone the OCR engine to improve the accuracy of conversions. Strammiello said the new engine improves accuracy by about 35 percent compared to the previous version of OmniPage. The revamped software also can better recognize document formatting and more accurately convert formatting such as tables, columns and graphics into electronic form. In earlier versions, document formatting would become locked in place within an electronic document such as a Microsoft Word file. In the new release, the document formatting can be edited once converted into electronic form, Strammiello said. "This is the first version that has a complete package for formatting," he said. "The final step that we have reached is natural, flowing text that looks like the original and edits like the original." OmniPage Pro 14 Office supports about 30 file formats, from Word and WordPerfect to XML and PDFs, and 119 languages. Available now, the client software runs on Windows 98 and higher and costs $599 for a fill version. Upgrades from earlier versions cost $199. Discuss This in the eWEEK Forum
Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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