IBM ViaVoice

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Developer(s) IBM
Initial release August 1997; 20 years ago (1997-08)[1][2][3][4][5][6][7]
Stable release
10.5 / 2005; 12 years ago (2005)
Operating system Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X
Type Voice recognition
License Proprietary
Website IBM ViaVoice website

IBM ViaVoice is a range of language-specific continuous speech recognition software products offered by IBM. The current version is designed primarily for use in embedded devices. The latest stable version of IBM Via Voice was 9.0 and was able to transfer text directly into Word.

The most important process for the correct use of this software is the so-called ‘quick training, and ‘enrollment,: it consists of reading many specific words and sentences in order to make the software adapt itself to the specific users' sound and intonation features. It lasts for one hour or more and can be divided in many parts. Users are able to improve decoding accuracy, by reading prepared texts of a few hundred sentences. The recorded data was used to tune the acoustic model to that specific user. In addition, user specific text files could be parsed to tune the language model. Correction of mis-recognised words was also used to improve subsequent decode accuracy.


Individual language editions may have different features, specifications, technical support, and microphone support. Some of the products or editions available are:

  • Advanced Edition,
  • Standard Edition,
  • Personal Edition,
  • ViaVoice for Mac OS X Edition,
  • Pro USB Edition,
  • Simply Dictation for Mac.

The IBM Via Voice 98 TM has been available in the Home, Office and Executive Edition in the following languages:

Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, UK English, US English. The Executive Edition allows you to dictate into most Windows applications and control them using your voice.

Designed for Windows 95, 98 and NT 4.0, it has been working very well with Windows 7.

In the Executive package are included:

  • original software and user guide on CD-ROM;
  • a very high quality headset with microphone by Andrea Electronics Corporation TM with a converter plug for Sound Blaster TM sound cards and ThinkPad TM;
  • printed voice command reference card;
  • telephone support for one month.


Prior to the development of ViaVoice, IBM developed a product named VoiceType. In 1997, ViaVoice was first introduced to the general public. Two years later, in 1999, IBM released a free of charge version of ViaVoice.

In 2003, IBM awarded ScanSoft, which owned the competitive product Dragon NaturallySpeaking, exclusive global distribution rights to ViaVoice Desktop products for Windows and Mac OS X. Two years later, Nuance merged with ScanSoft.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Client: IBM dictation software package gives computers a voice, By Ed Scannell, InfoWorld, 16 Jun 1997, Page 36, ...At the same announcement last week, IBM also unveiled ViaVoice, a general-purpose continuous-speech dictation product...ViaVoice is expected to carry a suggested retail price of $199, and it will ship by the end of August...
  2. ^ Intranet Applications: Briefs, Network World, 25 Aug 1997, Page 21, * IBM's release last week of its ViaVoice speech recognition product...
  3. ^ Can we talk? By Alan S. Horowitz, Computerworld, 27 Oct 1997, Page 80, ...and ViaVoice from IBM, which hit the market in September...
  4. ^ Product Reviews: Continuous speech-recognition software: NaturallySpeaking edges out ViaVoice with hands-free editing, By Victor R. Garza, InfoWorld, 8 Sep 1997, Page 116
  5. ^ Advertisement:tap, tap, tap talk, talk, talk Free your hands. And your mind will follow., PC Mag, 23 Sep 1997, Page 20
  6. ^ First Looks: Voice Recognition Software: Talking to Your PC, By David Haskin, PC Mag, 21 Oct 1997, Page 64
  7. ^ Assistive Technology on the Threshold of the New Millennium, edited by Christian Bühler, Harry Knops, Page 290, [5] IBM : Speech Application Programming Interface Reference, IBM ViaVoice * Developer Tools, Version 4.3, Dec 1997
  8. ^ "IBM Destop ViaVoice". IBM. 2003. Retrieved January 2015.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)

External links[edit]