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A Canadian company will be the next to launch a voice activated word processing system into the UK legal market.
Kolvox Communications, one of the main voice-activated suppliers in North America, is launching Law-Talk here this month.
The product is a front-end using the Dragon Dictate engine to drive it. While the user will see the Kolvox interface, behind the scenes the Dragon system will be working at translating the human sounds into computer-ese.
"In our opinion, there's a variety of different voice recognition engines that are all viable," says Kolvox sales and marketing president Kurt Lynn. "Our task is how to put those engines to work."
Users speak into a headset microphone from which the computer translates the sound into a message telling it what package to use, which template (such as letter or fax slip) to pick and what to print. Oft-repeated passages can become macros and printed from one phrase.
Lynn says the package involves a lot of intuitive thinking by the computer and it can recognise up to 80 words per minute.
The package learns to recognise a voice pattern and becomes more accurate the longer it operates with that particular individual.
In the US, Kolvox has an agreement with West Publishing, one of the largest suppliers of legal information such as case summaries. The company is on the look-out for suppliers of similar information for its system in the UK and is known to be in negotiation with a number of possible partners. Users would then be able to conduct a search with minimum use of the keyboard.
According to Lynn, dealers will install LawTalk and train users to use the system.
Presently available for WordPerfect 5.1 and 6.0, the system will be available under Windows by November, although Lynn says the emphasis is on WordPerfect as it is the dominant legal processing package. LawTalk will cost u1,495
There are a number of front-end systems being promoted, including Dragon's own package, IBM's new package and a Windows version from Waspvox.
Legal consultant David Pentecost, who has a specific interest in voice systems, says the Dragon system is proving the most popular for law firms in the UK.