Feeds

CeBIT 99: Let German speak unto American

Our Graham awards top marks for remarkable L&H demo

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Hats off to Lernout & Hauspie for a remarkable CeBIT demo that combined speech recognition, machine translation, voice synthesis and intelligent agents. That's a lot of technology to run together in real time. Lernout & Haupsie demonstrated its Multilingual Chat by having an American and German speaker chatting together in their own languages to two PCs. The speech was recognised and instantly translated very acceptably, although it was being done with a pre-tested script no doubt. At one stage, a speaker asked what the weather was in Boston, and the audience immediately heard a spoken response from weather.com, which was listening in -- so to speak -- the response being through an intelligent agent. The speech recognition took considerably longer than the translation (which the audience heard through speech synthesis). L&H says it is improving the quality of the synthesized voice, but even so it was all most interesting, with many serious applications waiting in the wings. Although this was the first European showing of the product, it had been demonstrated at Demo 99 recently in the US, and at the launch of the Pentium III. There is no doubt that more horsepower would help -- it would be a good application for the Alpha. L&H is a Belgian company quoted on NASDAQ and EASDAQ, and headquartered at Wipers (or Ypres or Ieper depending on your preference). We asked Gaston Bastiaens, L&H's CEO, why Microsoft (which has a strategic alliance with L&H and invested $45 million in September 1997, and is about to take up options for a further $15 million, to give a seven per cent holding)was not pushing the L&H technology more actively. in view of the speech recognition with Corel WordPerfect (by Dragon) and the Lotus suite (derived from Dragon by IBM). He mentioned a couple of instances of Microsoft's use, but it was all pretty minor stuff. Reading between the lines, it seems that Microsoft is content to let matters ride. Microsoft poached IBM's guru in charge of such matters some years back. Then CTO Nathan Myhrvold said that his R&D group had signed off their work on speech recognition, but that work does not seem to have been a big deal. In a lively discussion after the meeting, it was suggested to us that Microsoft wanted to get 99.5 percent reliability before incorporating speech in Office, which seemed rather unlikely in view of the buggy nature of Windows 98. Another suggestion was that L&H did not want its products to be devalued by being bundled, which sounded much nearer the mark. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.