Nuance Introduces Speak & See Suite With Dragon NaturallySpeaking

Nuance Communications has introduced Nuance Speak & See, a suite of tools designed to support reading, writing and accessibility on the PC, to the North American market.

“We’ve been shipping it in Europe over the last six months and we’ve seen a lot of success with it in the educational community there, so we decided to bring it over here,” says Peter Mahoney, senior vice president and general manager for the Dragon NaturallySpeaking product at Nuance.

The Nuance Speak & See suite combines speech recognition, a text-to-speech enabled screen reader, screen magnifier, a reading and writing toolbar, and a language learning assistant to make it easier for students with physical and learning disabilities to work with a PC.

Components of the Nuance Speak & See suite of accessibility tools include:

  • Dragon NaturallySpeaking – Create notes, email or documents; launch applications; manage files; and work on the Web, all by voice. Dragon NaturallySpeaking eliminates the manual task of typing so people can capture thoughts and work with the PC with greater independence.
  • Reading and Writing Support Toolbar – Nearly any on-screen text can be spoken aloud by the computer in a natural-sounding voice. The toolbar also combines a homophone dictionary, thesaurus, reference dictionary, and spellchecker.
  • Language Learning Assistant – Ideal for English language learners, or those studying a foreign language, this tool speaks text aloud to demonstrate proper pronunciation and includes bilingual dictionaries in many languages.

“These are a series of tools to help people learning to read and write,” Mahoney says. “These tools are quite helpful for people with visual or learning disabilities, like dyslexia, or who are learning English as a second language.

Nuance’s Speak & See suite allows students with learning challenges to see the relationship between the spoken and written word through a combination of speech recognition and text-to-speech. Students who have other physical disabilities or who generally struggle with using a keyboard and mouse can take advantage of Speak & See to more clearly view their screens and navigate their PCs.

Speak & See can also help students who are learning English as a second language. Through its text-to-speech capability and bilingual dictionaries, Speak & See allows users to hear spoken words, helping to distinguish between pronunciations and meanings, depending on context.

Mahoney sees the greatest potential for the Speak & See suite in education. “A lot of people use speech recognition as a productivity tool for business or as an assistive tool, but we’re seeing Dragon used extensively as a learning tool,” he says. “We see a lot of use of Dragon in schools. One of the reasons we brought [Speak & See] to the U.S. is the interest from K-12 schools.”

Nuance’s Speak & See suite is available immediately in the United States and Canada. It is priced at $249.99, with educational discounts available for students and schools.

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