Important Messages, such as Service Disruption.

Our office hours are Monday to Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM UK time. We will try to give assistance to those people not living in the UK outside of those hours if possible.

We are closed for the Christmas holidays from the evening of Wednesday 20 December 2017 through to Tuesday 2 January 2018.

We would like to wish everyone a merry Christmas and happy New Year!

GSA Leasey Advanced

Please read this page carefully before purchasing!

As you complete the checkout process, you will need to know the customer's JAWS serial number. Instructions on how to obtain this are given on the Checkout page.

$110.00

GSA Leasey Total Package

Please read this page carefully before purchasing!

As you complete the checkout process, you will need to know the customer's JAWS serial number. Instructions on how to obtain this are given on the Checkout page.

$166.00

GSA J-Say Software Maintenance Agreement

Please read this page carefully before purchasing!

As you complete the checkout process, you will need to know the customer's JAWS serial number. Instructions on how to obtain this are given on the Checkout page.

$166.00

GSA2 J-Say Single User Upgrade License

Please read this page carefully before purchasing!

As you complete the checkout process, you will need to know the customer's JAWS serial number. Instructions on how to obtain this are given on the Checkout page.

$110.00

GSA1 J-Say Single User License

Please read this page carefully before purchasing!

As you complete the checkout process, you will need to know the customer's JAWS serial number. Instructions on how to obtain this are given on the Checkout page.

$441.00

An Open Letter to the serotalk Podcast

Dear Sir/Madam

My name is Brian Hartgen. I am Co-Director of Hartgen Consultancy and the Developer of J-Say technology, and initially I must thank you for alerting people to the existence of the new release of our product within your latest podcast, to which I paid particular attention.

While I note your disclaimer that the views expressed are those of the individuals concerned, (delivered within the podcast's introduction in a very rapid fashion to be almost unintelligible), as the manufacturing company we would please like to respond to a number of points made therein.

As background, I have been training visually impaired people how to use computer technology for over 20 years, and this includes those who are newly-blind, have suffered from brain injury, physical impairment or cognitive challenges. This includes 12 years' training people in the use of Dragon NaturallySpeaking.

I would like to thank Joe and Steve in particular who pointed out the positive advantages of using voice input/output technology. However, your female reviewer criticised our J-Say product in a number of ways.

First, she claimed the computers on which she tested would "freeze" periodically. In fairness, the primary host of the podcast, Joe, did suggest a good strategy for rectification, and he is to be commended for that. But managing complex combinations of software does take some skill and precision, and I would ask whether the lady concerned contacted us for advice on how to resolve this difficulty if allegedly it occurred several times? We have no record of such a discussion.

Mention was made of people finding J-Say too complex to manage, and so they were allegedly transitioning to an alternative access technology product. This is purely anecdotal, and in point of fact I could, I am sure, surpass that by quoting many instances where the reverse was true.

But what astounded me in particular was the statement that the Window-Eyes screen-reader allowed one to train Dragon NaturallySpeaking easier than J-Say. I find this very difficult to believe and would like her to please qualify it.

Since version 1, J-Say has had the ability for a blind person to not only independently train the computer to understand the human voice, but more importantly, to allow him or her to correct deficits in speech delivery during that enrolment process. Are you suggesting that Window-Eyes has that ability?

Having said that, for two years we (and some of our distributors) have recognised that initial enrolment training is not important, but ongoing education and improvement of the voice profile is more beneficial. Nuance now understand this, which is why their most recent Dragon releases do not encourage the reading of enrolment training text.

J-Say contains a number of utilities which not only allows for the ongoing education of a voice profile, but of equal importance, it gives a carer or support assistant the ability to assist the blind person (if required) to input words and phrases into the vocabulary for easier understanding by the software. These utilities go way beyond what the sighted Dragon user has access to.

Finally I come to the issue of the "interesting dynamic" referred to in the podcast with regard to working with a computer in this way. I would suggest that how one interprets the range of software involved, and consequent interaction with it, is based on how one is trained. I return to my experience of training individuals illustrated earlier. People are not always interested in precisely what all three software packages are doing, but rather, how J-Say is working for the user. Given that the command structure is consistent across applications in the most part, the next logical question would be to ask whether the critique has received certification as a Trainer in the use of J-Say technology to ensure that the user is gaining the very best experience?

In summary, as a Product Developer, of course I expect criticism. Indeed, it is only through criticism and feedback from users that the product could be improved upon. This is why I still train in the field, because it is by seeing the product at work in different technical and user environments that I can gain an understanding of how we can improve J-Say for people in the future. That is critical. We cannot move forward without that interaction. But what I object to is misrepresentation.
1. You claimed that an alternative screen-reader provided superior support in the enrolment training process. I've already demonstrated this statement has no foundation as it is dated.
2. You claimed that people had switched from J-Say to something else. This is anecdotal and there is good evidence to the contrary too, as there will be with competing products.
3. Lastly, there was a clear implication that the product could be difficult to learn. I found this amplified both in the tone of the delivery, and the content.

Under most circumstances these points would not irritate me, but it is the the totality of your remarks which could leave the listener in some doubt as to whether the product was suitable for them.

In closing, I do feel that if criticism is to be made of any product, the developing company should be given the opportunity of responding before that is made within your podcast. If the criticisms had been put to me, I would in turn have pressed you very hard on the circumstances in order to substantiate them. Having said that, we would also have offered to work with your agency to ensure that you had the necessary training and support required to facilitate your staff having a good understanding of the product.

I would like to thank you for reading. I appreciate that what you are trying to do is to provide listeners with informative comment, and to play "Devil's Advocate" as your reviewer described it. But if you do that, I would respectfully suggest that your views will, and should, be challenged if appropriate.

Kind Regards:

Brian Hartgen

Post Script

We are delighted to note that Serotalk Podcast 224 does contain a full audio statement concerning the points raised above and we would like to thank them very much for including it. You can listen to the podcast (above) or Download the Statement.

Language Translation

Introduction

From time to time, we receive a trickle of enquiries, (and I do mean a very small number), from people who would like to use our products in languages other than English. I have to say first of all that I think it is wonderful, and it is very gratifying when, having invested a lot of time and effort into creating something, a person who does not speak English wants to use it.

I am sure over time we will indeed have some of our products translated into some widely used languages. But I thought it may be helpful if people gained an understanding of the enormity of such a project because I would imagine that some of what I am going to describe perhaps would not have occurred to you.

What Exactly is Localised Support?

Every so often, I see Emails or Twitter posts from developers of JAWS scripts stating that they support a particularl language. But what does support actually mean? How do you define it?

In a number of cases, it means translating various English prompts spoken by a screen-reader into the desired language and perhaps a small amount of documentation. Is that "supporting" people in the true sense of the word?

I believe support goes way beyond that. From the time a person picks up the telephone or sends an Email to make an initial enquiry, through to the purchase (and usage of) the product, and ongoing technical support with possible training, that should all be delivered using the person's mother tongue. That is true holistic support. The person would be paying the same monetary value for the product, perhaps a little more in fact, and so he or she is perfectly entitled to receive the same level of assistance and overall quality as someone who speaks English and nothing less.

To provide that high level of assistance, there would have to be a very cohesive relationship between ourselves and a partner organisation in the project, both of whom would need to invest financially and having due consideration as to how it was going to be sold and supported. Unless the product sells, there is no value. Clearly from our point of view, there would need to be complete trust placed in the partner, and fortunately, Freedom Scientific do have distributors who are used to the localising process. Undertaking market research would also have to be done to determine the need for the product in the country concerned to ensure financial viability.

So what exactly would be involved in localising a product on the scale of those we develop?

Understanding language and culture.

Clearly from the outset, the partner would need to understand each and every one of the many concepts of our products. But in turn, we need to understand the culture of the language speaker. I suggest localisation isn't just about a literal product translation. There is much more to it.

As a very basic example, with our J-Say product, one phrase to activate dragon's microphone is, "Listen to Me". But that phrase may not sit well with someone who speaks another language, such as French or Spanish? It may be easier for a person to use an alternative phrase which is not a direct translation of the words. It has to be "natural language".

Other important issues would be to consider whether the localised access technologies on which the products were based contained the same functionality as in English releases. Usually they do, but not always, or there may be subtle differences. Keyboard changes are also very worthy of consideration.

Translating the Product.

Next comes the sheer volume of time involved in translating the product. That means translating (or to be more precise localising) every aspect of it, rephrasing the help utilities, making high quality audio recordings of prompts in some cases and finding the most appropriate voice talent, translating the documentation (anywhere from 100 to 500 pages per product), and many other items not listed. For example, two of our products contain a radio player. The stations need to be chosen reflecting the given language, both for technical quality and suitability. Of course they also need to be maintained to ensure continuity.

When the product is completed, of course it needs to be tested thoroughly. This would involve the recruiting and joint management of a beta testing team. The partner organisation would play a key role here, since obviously there could well be language differences when trying to communicate a problem with the software.

Selling the Product.

So our product is all beautifully translated and ready to go. Staff training may need to occur if the sales, training and support personnel have not been involved with the conception of it.

Then, the marketing needs to take place. Remember, in man hours alone, thousands of dollars have already been invested to bring the product to market so now it is time for the return on the investment. So the people doing the marketing need to be very aware of publications in which to advertise, podcasts on which to promote it, ensuring the company's website contains lots of information to keep people interested, not to mention meeting people and talking to them. In short, the whole point of this entire process has been to ensure that the product can potentially reach as many people as it is able to, so this is where the hard work begins.

What Happens Next?

People now begin to use the product and probably report problems, although hopefully not too many. We should also bare in mind that some of the people potentially calling in will not be conversant with computers, and so those providing the support will need to spend time with them, again to ensure they are getting a good experience.

What should also be happening is that a similar process to that described above begins again with the adaptation of new features which may be part of the next release. And remember, we're just talking about one product here out of a number.

Summary.

As you can see, there is a good deal more to the process of localising a product than perhaps meets the eye, and I do applaud the screen-reader product translators particularly who have a lot of work to do. But I hope this blog post has given you a little understanding of what potentially could be involved. Absolutely every part of the above is essential in my view, and a good deal more. Able computer users may be content with a product where the localisation only exists in the program itself, and that is absolutely fine. But for some individuals, I really do not believe that is true and certainly if a product is going to sell and reach the people for whom it is intended, I would suggest all of those strategies need to be in place.

I come back to the starting point of this post. I am sure in time language translation is something we will think about. But we would need to be convinced that there was a market for doing so. If we were going to do this, it would be done properly and would be well thought out. As I hope you can tell, I have already given the process a good deal of consideration.

Accessible World Presentation of J-Say and J-Dictate!

Products from Hartgen Consultancy, We Will Not Leave You Speechless!

Imagine talking to your computer and it obeying your every instruction. Sounds like something out of Star Trek doesn’t it? At Hartgen Consultancy, we develop products which enable you to do just that.

For 12 years, many blind people who are unable to use the computer keyboard, or simply do not wish to, have been able to dictate text into documents and Email, surf the internet and navigate around the computer just by speaking to it, thanks to J-Say software. We’re now at version 13 which delivers many exciting new features and improvements. Working with your computer the J-Say way takes away the need to use either one's hands or eyes, do it all controlling the computer with your voice and accessing the screen content with your ears!

But what if you’re quite happy using the keyboard to navigate and to edit text, but would prefer to dictate your text? Meet J-Dictate, a much lower cost solution allowing you to do just that. Rather than type, speak your Email, documents, Twitter or Facebook status, even into chat clients. You can even dictate into your phone or portable recorder and have your computer transcribe it as text!

We’ll tell you all about both products during Tech Talk, Monday 16 Feburary at 8 PM Eastern. Please come along! We hope you’ll be amazed!

Presenters
Brian and Lulu Hartgen
Hartgen Consultancy
Website:
www.hartgen.org
Phone UK: 02920-850298.
Phone US: 415-871-0626
Email:
jaws@hartgen.org

Date: Monday February 16,,  , 2015

Time: 5:00 p.m. Pacific, 6:00 p.m. Mountain, 7:00 p.m. Central, 8:00 p.m. Eastern and elsewhere in the world Tuesday 01:00 GMT

Approximately 15 minutes prior to the event start time: go to The Pat Price Tek Talk Training Room at:
http://conference321.com/masteradmin/room.asp?id=rsc9613dc89eb2

Or, alternatively.

Select The Pat Price Tek Talk Training Room at:
www.accessibleworld.org
Enter your first and last names on the sign-in screen.

All Tek Talk training events are recorded so if you are unable to participate live at the above times, then you may download the presentation or podcast
from the Tek Talk Archives on our website at
www.accessibleworld.org

If you are a first-time user of the Talking Communities Online Conferencing software, there is a small, safe software program that you need to download and then run. A link to the software is available on every entry screen to the Accessible World online rooms.

All online interactive programs are free of charge, and open to anyone worldwide having an Internet connection, a computer, speakers, and a sound card. Those with microphones can interact audibly with the presenters andspeak to us. others in the virtual audience or text chat with the attendees. To speak
to us, hold down the control key and talk; then let up to listen.

J-Dictate for Distributors

Please read this page carefully before purchasing!

As you complete the checkout process, you will need to know the customer's JAWS serial number. Instructions on how to obtain this are given on the Checkout page.

£60.00

A Thank You from Hartgen Consultancy

Hi to everyone

We would just like to sincerely thank all the individuals, organisations and companies who have promoted our products during the past few weeks. It all helps to spread the word and to let people know about the products and services we offer at Hartgen Consultancy.

Special thanks go to individuals who retweet our Twitter posts from their own personal Twitter accounts. They gain nothing from doing this, yet they are helping to let people know about us. We are very grateful for that.

Particular thanks also go to Debbie Hazelton's Podcast, Blind Bargains Podcast, Freedom Scientific's FSCast podcast, and Top Tech Tidbits from Flying Blind.

We would also like to thank our product beta testers and Our Product Distributors, who let people know what we are offering.

Again, thank you very much for your ongoing support as we strive to improve the products we already have while creating new ones during this year.

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