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Lernout & Hauspie (also known as L&H) is a company now acquired by Nuance that specialized in text-to-speech and voice recognition. Speakonia uses a speech engine that is created by L&H, and most of the Radar Overseers are portrayed by L&H voices.

Lernout & Hauspie
Speakonia
An image of Speakonia with a L&H voice (Adult Male #2, American English) selected.

Type:

Public

Founders:

Jo Lernout and Pol Hauspie

Headquarters:

in Burlington, MA and Belgium

Status:

Acquired by Nuance

HistoryEdit

L&H was founded in 1987 in Flanders, Belgium by Jo Lernout and Pol Hauspie. The company grew very quickly, and soon acquired most of it's competitors, including Dictaphone (whom L&H acquired for nearly US$1 billion), Berkeley Speech Technologies, Dragon Systems, and Fonix.

Alleged fraud and eventual bankruptcyEdit

For a while, there were rumors of financial scandals that were involved with L&H. In 1999, The Wall Street Journal

posted allegations saying the earnings of L&H were overstated. There were also major scandals involving fictional scandals in Korea (according to Wikipedia) and other accounting problems. In April of 2001, Jo Lernout and Pol Hauspie (founders) as well as Gaston Bastiaens (former CEO) were arrested in a major corporate scandal since Enron. Eventually, L&H bankrupted on October 25, 2001 and acquired by Nuance and Vantage Learning.

As of September 2010, founders of L&H and other members were sentenced to 5 years of prison.

TTS voicesEdit

Unfortunately, most L&H voices are often unlistenable, unnatural, and often harsh to most ears (most famously, the Adult Male/Female voices). Most Radar Overseers in YouTube videos and in "The World of Speakonia" are portrayed by L&H voices. In most Speakonia YouTube videos, a well-known character and antagonist known as "Linux Anna" is portrayed by the "Adult Female #2, American English" voice, scientifically "L&H Julia." According to a1130, Linux Anna will be featured in Episode 3 of "The World of Speakonia."

Creation of Microsoft Sam, Mike, and MaryEdit

What most people don't know about is that Microsoft Sam, Mike, and Mary, though much more realistic than the "Adult Male/Female" voices, are also created by L&H. Despite the fact that they are under the title of "Microsoft," L&H created these voices for Microsoft (due to the fact that MS does not specialize in text-to-speech). L&H also created the British English voices "L&H Michael" and "L&H Michelle" that are known as "Adult Male #1, British English" and "Adult Female #1, British English" in Speakonia. They are usually available with Microsoft Office 2003, Microsoft Reader, or Microsoft Agent.

ReferencesEdit

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lernout_%26_hauspie

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