Being based in South Africa, HCD representatives often come across users who have one question. After demonstrating the English version, some will ask “that’s amazing, but is there an Afrikaans version”? The official South African language is still widely spoken in our country with many first-language clients defaulting to English in order to increase productivity around communication with colleagues.
The language was derived from Dutch and while there’s a very efficient Dutch language version of the product, unfortunately the Afrikaans edition has not been developed. Afrikaans has been included in other speech recognition application developments, but Nuance have opted to stick with more broadly spoken languages. There are 11 official languages in South Africa and English is the only one currently covered by the Dragon speech recognition umbrella.
In addition to Dutch, Dragon is also available in Italian, German, Spanish and French language versions. It makes sense that these versions would exist since the software doesn’t understand English or the meaning of words. Covering hundreds of thousands of words, probably more than any one user will ever encounter in a lifetime, the software interprets patterns and soundwaves using algorithms to decipher the best guess based on the context of the words and the user profile.
While the Dutch version is effective and Afrikaans isn’t all that different, the story must simply be related to the market size. If there was enough of a demand, perhaps there would be a change in direction for Nuance. Managing several language editions on top of multiple variations of the software must already keep them busy with a new release every few years.
Perhaps it’s just a case of trying to juggle too many versions and variations. Right now, based on the widespread range of version 13 and incredible narrowing since this popular release, it seems as though they’re going back to basics.