So someone at Nuance does answer email. Good. I have been trying
to reach Nuance for some time, and I note that this particular inquiry didn’t
explain that my disability does not allow me to speak. That means that I can’t
fairly tease you about asking if I was interested in Dragon. No, it’s safe
to say I have no use for DragonSpeak.
As my inquiry did say, I’m needing a update of Eloquence. The
Eloquence speech engine is a product that you likely don’t even realize
Nuance owns. It dates back to its original version in 1996, developed by
Cornell University for the Department of Defense. Eloquence Technologies Inc. was
formed around that time. Unfortunately, they never did market the tool very well
and were bought by Speechworks, which was apparently purchased by Nuance last year.
My relationship with the Eloquence speech engine started in 1997
while I was a programmer for a major oil company. I needed a text-to-speech
solution to talk to my customers, and my managers didn’t like any of the
AAC products that were currently available. Instead, we decided that I should
build my own system based around the Eloquence engine. The last update I received
from ETI was in late 1998.
Yes, Eloquence is a product you would normally license to other
companies to build systems around. You don’t market it to consumers, because
few of them could write programs that use it. I have. The program I wrote in
1997 was called Xpress-It, and I’m still using a version of it every day.
In fact, the 1998 version of Eloquence, which I believe was version 4.7, still
performs very well compared to even AT&T’s vaunted Natural Voice. Although
Natural Voice usually sounds “better,” Eloquence still appears to be
more flexible and adjustable. The problem is that I need to update Xpress-It
for changes in my needs and the Windows environment, and Eloquence 4.7 is starting
to cause problems in the program building because of its age.
I have tried to market Xpress-It, but the nature of the AAC
market is such that an outsider can’t enter effectively without
significant financial support. Sadly, I’m now living on Disability so it
looks like I’ll be Xpress-It’s only user. Anyway, I need whatever
was the last/latest Eloquence software development kit. I’m certain that
Nuance hasn’t updated it, and it’s a pretty safe bet that
Speechworks didn’t. That probably means I need ETI’s last SDK. Can