August 20, 2006 9:00 PM PDT

Nuance turns text into speech

Nuance Communications' PDF software has had a makeover.

The company released the ScanSoft PDF Converter Professional 4, a would-be competitor to Adobe Systems' Acrobat, on Monday. The software is designed to create and convert PDF files.

The new version includes a text-to-speech feature that uses Nuance's RealSpeak technology to convert PDF documents into WAV audio files. The files, which can be used for podcasts, are read in a male voice. There are plans to provide downloads of other types of voice, said Chris Strammiello, the director of product management at Nuance, which also makes speech recognition software.

The voice feature is compliant with U.S. requirements for the accessibility of documents for disabled users, Nuance said.

PDF Converter Professional 4, aimed at corporate users, will be available in the United States Aug. 22 for just under $100, the company said. ScanSoft PDF Create 4 and PDF Converter desktop utilities, included in the package, will also be sold separately for $49 each.

ScanSoft PDF converter

The software includes a new feature that enables people to create XML Tagged PDF, which is a PDF standard that automatically includes information pertaining to the proper reading order of text, tables and graphics. The standard is used for exporting files to screen readers for the blind, and for resizing the files to fit different screen formats.

In addition, the ScanSoft feature that converts PDFs into Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, or Corel WordPerfect documents has been made 46 percent more accurate, Strammiello said. The feature, which maintains formatting, tables and graphics, can be used either within the PDF software or, via an option toolbar, within a document application such Microsoft Word.

By contrast, Adobe Acrobat offers a menu option for saving or exporting PDF document content into Microsoft Word and Excel, and other file formats.

The Nuance software also lets content creators set permission controls over their particular PDF document in terms of PDF security, encryption and editing.

Nuance said its has tested its PDF software on the latest beta build of Microsoft Windows Vista and found it to be compatible.

See more CNET content tagged:
ScanSoft Inc., Hummingbird Ltd., Adobe PDF, Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Word

3 comments

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Dragon Naturally Speaking 9
I bought an early copy of Dragon about version 2 or 3. It would have been better to type it then speak it... same for version 6. Now version 9 is here and it is eminitly useful. I ordered prefered with the headset and went through the training in a room with a freezer and refrigerator and one exhaust fan going in the room and the recognition was near perfect. I have a pentium 4 socket 468 3.2Gigaherts with hyperthreading and 1.5 gigs of memory and a standard hard drive. I don't know if it is just the voice recognition it's self that is responsible? I think it is the built in dictionary and some other smarts they have put in besides just an engine that tries to match sound templates to words.

I want to buy a more expensive noise cancelling headset just to try it out but I think that with the occasional word to be trained and adding words to it's dictionary it will be near to 100% accurate.

With one who has a long history of trying it and wanting to talk instead of type I would say go out and buy it!

By the way 'Nuance' who now owns dragon also ownes just about all of the other voice recognition products that use to be out there... Lenard and Hauspie, IBM Via Voice, ect. I have owned them all.

So 'color me' a satisified customer

Joseph Hyde
Posted by josephhyde (5 comments )
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MAJOR PROBLEM, HELP PLEASE!
I have the dragon naturally speaking and it works pretty good,I am a quadradraplegic and it is so much faster than me typing the messages.

I am on dial-up internet service,I have received update notices for a year now, but I have never updated scansofts 8.0 for my Dragon N. because it will take 4-6 hours!

Is it possible that you could mail me a copy of the latest D/N/S. to install?

Thank you.
Posted by elisha7777 (1 comment )
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I purchased basic Dragon 11, and very excited about it. In my many years of imagination as a human being on this Earth you think this would give me a shot but what I've been trying for my whole entire life imagination documented by somebody else but not as can be by me because of all the technology is there. So that
Posted by waynebo2 (1 comment )
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