FSCast #178

December, 2019

LARRY GASSMAN:  On this edition of FSCast #178, we’ll hear from Michael Fulton, who is our newest Power Tip JAWS user. 

JOHN GASSMAN:  It’s December, and that means JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion updates are on the way.

LARRY:  And we’ll spend some time with an old friend, Brian Hartgen, who will be telling us the latest, the greatest, and all things new with Hartgen Consultancy.  That’s on FSCast 178.

JOHN:  Welcome to FSCast 178 with John and Larry Gassman.  Hope you had a very, very happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrated.  I know we did here in the United States.  And we’re looking forward to Christmas and the holidays and family and friends and everything that goes along with it.  It’s a busy month for all of us, and we’re happy that you’ve taken a few minutes out of your time to enjoy FSCast with us.

If you’d like to contact us, you can email us, and the email address is fscast@vispero.com.  Or you can call us by way of the listener line, that’s area code (727) 803-8000 and extension 1010.

LARRY:  Just a reminder about the training department.  You can go to www.freedomscientific.com/webinars and take a look at what’s coming next.  Also the archives are there, as well.  There are no webinars in December.  The next scheduled webinar will be January, so please stay tuned for that.  Now, just so you don’t think that the training department isn’t doing much in December, they are in the midst now of putting together prerecorded webinars that will be available for download on December 31st, one on Gmail and JAWS, and another on Google Calendar.  So stay tuned and come back around the 31st of December and download those two fine instructional pieces.

JOHN:  And for those who want to get a quick jump on CSUN coming up in March, you can now make your hotel reservations at the Anaheim Marriott.  And registration should begin probably in January, but you might want to take a look at the CSUN web page for more specific information.

LARRY:  Let’s talk a little bit about updates for December because they are rapidly approaching as you hear this.  Let’s talk first about JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion 2019.  There will be updates.  And then shortly after that you’ll see the December update for JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion 2020.  All of these updates can be found.  There are links on the Freedom Scientific web page under What’s New.  And yes, you can enable updates.  You can go into the JAWS Wizard.  And if Auto Updates are disabled, there’s another way to do it.  But you can enable the updates; or, if they’re disabled, you can go into JAWS Help/Training, et cetera, and go up to Check for Updates and press ENTER, and you’ll find it that way.

You can go to the website, yes, especially if you don’t have JAWS 2020.  And as you download JAWS 2020, you will receive its latest update.  We just had our last FSOpenLine in November.  The next one will be February, last Thursday in February 2020.  So stay tuned for that.  We’ll be talking about it as the time draws closer.

JAWS Power Tips

JAWS VOICE:  And now it’s time for an FSCast JAWS Power Tip.

JOHN:  Our JAWS Power Tip winner for December is Mike Fulton.  And Mike has two JAWS Power Tips, and Mike has won a prize.  And we’ll tell you all about that and how you can win following the two JAWS Power Tips from Mike Fulton.

JAWS VOICE:  Understanding protected view with respect to opening Office files.  If you open a Microsoft Office document that was downloaded from a web page or from an email attachment, you will often hear JAWS say that the document is in protected view.  This means that JAWS will not have access to all the accessibility information necessary to read the document correctly.  You will also not be able to edit it in this view.  To get out of protected view, press F6, and you will hear JAWS say that the document is in protected view.  Tab to the Enable Editing button and press SPACE to activate it.  Now JAWS will be able to appropriately interact with the document.

LARRY:  And remember, I think this goes without saying, and we’re not trying to insult your intelligence.  But remember you should really only turn off document protection when you know the document comes from a reputable source.

JAWS VOICE:  Could it be a setting in JAWS you changed that is causing that odd behavior?  If you are experiencing odd JAWS behavior, one quick way to determine if it is an issue with your settings is to start JAWS with the factory default settings to see if the issue clears up.  This is easily accomplished by doing the following:  One, press INSERT+F4 to exit JAWS for the moment.  Two, now press WINDOWS KEY+R to open the Run dialog box.  Three, type in “JAWS” and the version number, followed by a space and then slash default, for example.  If you are running JAWS 2020, you would type “JAWS 2020 /default” without the quotes, then press ENTER.  JAWS will load with the factory default settings, including slow speech again.

See if this clears up the behavior that was problematic.  If you are no longer experiencing the problem, chances are that something is with your settings files.  The trick now is to determine exactly what setting it was.  But that will be a Power Tip for another day.

JOHN:  Thank you, Michael, for submitting both of your JAWS Power Tips to FSCast.  And we’ll have another one in January.  If you would like to submit one, you can certainly do so.  Please email us with the tip in writing; or you can record it, if you’d like.  And we’ll need your JAWS or Fusion or ZoomText serial number, along with a phone number to call you, if we should to do that.  Just write to fscast@freedomscientific.com.

If you win, as Michael Fulton has done this month and Debee Armstrong last month, we will happily give you another free year of either JAWS, ZoomText, or Fusion.  If you’re in the United States currently and have the Home Annual License, that’s what we will update.  If you have the SMA, then we’ll update that one.  So we’re looking for more tips for January, February, March.  And we hope that you’ll drop us a note with your JAWS Power Tip, just as Michael did.

Interview with  Brian Hartgen

JOHN:  Brian Hartgen is with us on FSCast.  Now, when we first started doing FSCast almost a year ago, one of the first things that I did throughout much of a weekend, which shows you how much of a social life I have, is to go back and – I was curious, so I counted up the number of appearances each guest had made on FSCast.  Of course Eric is far and away the leader with over 40.  But Brian has 11 other appearances with us on FSCast.

And I went back the other day and was checking.  And I thought, gee, it’s been a while since we’ve had Brian on.  And it turns out it’s been a little over three years.  So thought it was about time to bring Brian back and talk about all the terrific innovative things that he is doing with Hartgen Consultancy and maybe some of the updates that are coming along.  And so we’ll do a lot of that here in the next few minutes.  But in the meantime, welcome back to FSCast, Brian Hartgen.

BRIAN HARTGEN:  Three years.  It’s like coming home, it is.

JOHN:  We should get our “coming home” music out.

BRIAN:  Well, that’s right.  Cue the music.

JOHN:  That’s right.  So you’ve been pretty busy in the last three years.  And for those who may not know or have not been listening for three years, you own your own company, you and Louise – Lulu, as she is called.

BRIAN:  That’s right.  It’s really timely, actually, that we’re doing this interview, both of you, because our company is just approaching its fifth birthday now.  So by the time you hear it, it will be five years old.  My wife and I started it back in November of 2014.  And what we wanted to do really was to provide a one-stop shop for everything relating to JAWS for Windows.

And during that five-year period what we’ve done, I think, is build up a company which has three strands to it.  The first is that we’ve built up a good portfolio of JAWS-based products that we can sell.  Perhaps we can talk about some of those.  We have a range of low-cost online training courses that people can buy because getting really good training that’s affordable is not always possible.  So we’ve produced a series of webinars over the years that people can still buy.

But I would say that the biggest area, particularly of late, is our scripting services, especially in the U.K.  This has really taken off.  We have a government scheme over here, and it’s called Access to Work.  And put simply, what it means is that the government will pay to some extent for scripting and training and other services that the employer of a visually impaired person then doesn’t need to meet the full cost of.  And these Access to Work assessors are now contacting us on a very regular basis, almost every week now, to ask for scripting to be done on jobsites all over the U.K.  So that’s a good overview, I think, of what we do.

JOHN:  And that, I would love to see that here, more than it is, because it would put more people back to work and make it easier for those who are working to access what they need to access during the workday.

BRIAN:  And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it, getting people who do want to work back into the job market.  And the government here, they’ve always done really quite well in that regard.  And we’re very glad to be playing a huge part of that now.

JOHN:  One of the things I was really curious about, because I know you’ve been scripting in the assistive technology area for about 24 years, what did you do before that started?

BRIAN:  I had a number of jobs.  I actually taught people in a rehabilitation center – you have quite a number of those in the U.S., I understand – how to use computer technology, people who have just lost their sight.  And in a way that led me on to creating products – we have two of them now – for people who have physical as well as a visual impairment, so people who are using voice recognition.  And working in that kind of environment, it increased my level of patience because working with people in that environment, it is a very different way of working if you can’t use the keyboard at all.  People still want to be able to use JAWS, but it does require quite a bit of patience and understanding.  So I think it was a really good grounding for me to work in that situation.

JOHN:  And what was it that led you into deciding, gee, I think I could script or teach assistive technology?

BRIAN:  Well, when I was working in that environment, I needed to complete various forms and so on.  And I tried other screen readers.  These are Microsoft Word forms.  I tried other screen readers, just as a user.  And I thought these really weren’t “cutting the mustard,” to quote a phrase over here.  And JAWS was the only one that was really going to do it for me.  So I got JAWS.

And then I discovered this scripting language, and I read a book by Ken Gould.  And it was all about scripting, “Everything you need to know about scripting but didn’t know who to ask,” I think it was called.  And it was very, very good because it wasn’t couched in programming language at all.  And I wasn’t a programmer.  And it was couched in everyday language using real-world examples of things that you might want to do with scripting.  And I thought I could actually make use of some of this on a personal basis.  So that’s really how I got into it.  And I’ve not looked back.  I’ve been doing it about 20 years now.

JOHN:  And you mentioned Ken Gould.  And of course that name is very familiar to those of us who test the JAWS betas because Ken is still very active, and...

BRIAN:  Yes, he is.

JOHN:  ...a well-respected individual for a lot of years.  And I hope that in that way I’ll get a free book.  Oh, sorry.

LARRY:  Stop it.  Stop it.  I told you don’t say it.

JOHN:  Oh, okay.  You were going to do it if I hadn’t.

BRIAN:  It is coming up to Christmas.

LARRY:  Yes, it is.  So the scripting that you did, was it because you saw a need that wasn’t being met?  Is that your primary motivation when you first started?

BRIAN:  Part of it.  And one of the things I found particularly helpful – and still do, actually – is that I can couple my scripting skills with my training skills because I teach people how to use JAWS, and particularly ZoomText Fusion now because that’s becoming very popular.  And I will share with you a little story which you people might be able to identify with.

I was in a situation once where I was training somebody who was newly blind.  She had a laptop computer, and she was losing her vision.  She was finding her way around the keyboard.  And she wanted to know how to read the time with JAWS.  And we all know that is the JAWS KEY+F12, or INSERT+F12.  And she was stumbling around the keyboard, she was getting used to it, and eventually we found where INSERT+F12 was.  And she thought, right, I’ve got there.  I’ve managed it.  Now what happens?  Because of course what I taught her to do was to use Keyboard Help.  So INSERT+1, for anyone who doesn’t know, will lock the keyboard effectively.  So you can press whatever keys you want, and JAWS will announce what they are.

So we invoked Keyboard Help.  We spent a few minutes trying to find INSERT+F12.  When she got there, she thought, what am I going to do now?  And of course what she had to do was to let go of those keys, find INSERT+F1, press that, and then we had to go through all the charade again.  So what I was able to do was put my scripting skills to the test.  It was a bit of a challenge.  So I made it so that when she was using Keyboard Help, she could press the key once, of course.  It would announce its identity.  But if she pressed it twice, it would unlock the Keyboard Help, and it would execute the relevant keystroke.  And that enabled her to be able to find the keys that she wanted while she was getting used to using the keyboard.

And I think, you know, if you have scripting skills as a trainer, even basic ones, it’s those little exercises that you might be able to use to make your client’s life a little bit easier.  So I started building up on things like that.  And eventually it just evolved into products.  And some of the products are kind of born out of necessity.  They’re things that I have wanted to use.  And in view of the fact that we have quite a large order book, I’m glad to say, it’s clear that other people want to, as well.

JOHN:  I think one of the more well-remembered applications that you scripted for, even today, was iTunes back in the days before iTunes was accessible at all.

BRIAN:  How good of you to remember that, and how nice of you.  Yes, that was one of those applications that was born out of necessity because I got an iPod, and it came equipped with iTunes 4.8 it was at the time.  And there was just no level of accessibility at all at that stage.  Absolutely none.  And so I set about creating scripts for that because I wanted to use this.  I’ve always been a bit of an audiophile, a bit of an audio fanatic.  And I wanted to transfer music onto this device and use it.  And the way to do that was using iTunes.  So short of taking the product back to the store, that is something I had to do.

So I set about it.  And then obviously other people wanted to use it, as well.  So that’s where an old product that doesn’t exist now, called J-Tunes, that came into effect.  And I remember demonstrating this actually at one of the CSUN conferences.  I did a whole presentation about it.  Unfortunately, Apple were there.  Now, I’m not vain enough to think that it was my script or my presentation that kind of influenced them to put in a level of accessibility.  But you never know.  Small things, things do come out of very small presentations and things that people see.  So you never know what the situation is.

JOHN:  Well, you know, at the very least it may have headed them in the right direction, which would, you know, that’s what counts.

BRIAN:  Yes, you never know.

JOHN:  Yeah, yeah.  Well, throughout the years you have trained, and you have written scripts.  Matter of fact, one of the first things I remember hearing you – and it wasn’t the first thing you did.  One of the first things I remember hearing you do was the wonderful Main Menu Show, where you and Jonathan and Dean Martineau – and there may have been one other.  You had the...

BRIAN:  Oh, I remember.

JOHN:  ...Battle of the Century between JAWS and Window-Eyes.

BRIAN:  Yes, yes.  In the words of an old song from an old movie, “I remember it well.”

JOHN:  It was a fun show.  And in fact I think they went two hours that night, rather than one.

BRIAN:  Yes.

JOHN:  And you basically just did little demos of various aspects of each screen reader and then put them both to the test at the very end.  And then of course everybody was so polarized on their screen reader.  Well, maybe they are today, too.  But even then I’m sure a lot of people paid attention to exactly what was going on and who was going to win.  You know, and it was done all in fun, but it really was an interesting way of making use of the screen readers and what they could do.

BRIAN:  It was very interesting.  It was a three-hour show, actually, if I remember.

JOHN:  Oh, was it three?  Okay.

BRIAN:  Yes.  It started with a kind of roundtable discussion, and then we all took a subject.  I think Dean did email.  Jonathan did the Internet, and that was very innovative and groundbreaking at that time.  And I took on Microsoft Word.  And I did get some very positive comments.  And even Eric Damery, who I didn’t know very well then at the time, he wrote to me.  And he said thank you, which was a really nice thing of him to do. 

JOHN:  Did you ever stop to think over the many years the number of really interesting people you’ve met in this particular area?  I mean, from all over the various companies. 

BRIAN:  Oh, definitely, yes.  Either met them in person or spoken to them on the telephone or by some other means these days of voice chatting.  I love to talk about JAWS and Fusion, particularly to people all over the world.  It’s really great to be able to do that.  And I think that’s one of the things still that I enjoy about the job that I do.  I don’t sit at my desk and create JAWS scripts, although that would be very easy to do.  I like being out there training people and working with them because I think that’s the very best way of being able to see how the technology is being used.  And it inspires me to think of ideas for other features of our products, things that might be helpful, that might improve the lives of the people that we’re trying to serve.

JOHN:  And we’ll talk about that in just a short moment.  Before I forget this question I wanted to ask it.  And that is, what percentage do you think of the features or the great ideas that come into your products come from those who are using the product?

BRIAN:  Ninety percent.

JOHN:  Really.

BRIAN:  Yes, something like that.  I mean, I do, obviously, I put my own stamp on them.  But the actual ideas, a lot of them do come, particularly for one of our products which is called Leasey.  Most of the features come from either our product users or indeed our beta testers.  We have, for at least two of our products, extremely good beta testing teams.  And they are groups of very dedicated people who not only test the products, but they also comment on the features.  And before I implement something, I will often sketch out an idea and say, what do you think of this?  And sometimes we’ll run with an idea in part, see what it looks like, see what it sounds like.  And it may not make the final product.  But it might be put on the shelf for a year or two.  But nevertheless, it’s because of their insightful comments that I’m able to develop the products in the way that I hope to do.

JOHN:  And let’s talk a little bit about Leasey because that’s a wonderful product that I have just, well, I’ve known about it for a while, but now have just started to use it.  How did the idea for Leasey come about, and tell everybody what it is.

BRIAN:  Okay.  It was my wife’s idea.  And we were sitting having a glass of wine one evening, as people do.  And she said that it would be a great idea if we could develop a product for complete computer beginners that was menu driven and to some extent had a degree of human speech feedback so that people could be gently introduced to the concept of synthetic speech.  So Leasey started out as a product for computer beginners.  It contains a menu structure containing tasks that one would typically want to do with a computer – write a letter, create an email, that sort of thing.  And a lot of the content is obviously read by JAWS, but the main menu navigation is real human speech.

Now, we played around with that for a good while.  And then I had developed a product a little bit before called J‑Tools, which was a kind of arsenal of tools that you could have at your disposal to improve your productivity.  And so we thought that what we would do is for people who didn’t want this menu structure, but who nevertheless wanted to get the product and to have a variety of tools at their disposal, we would include all of these.  And it just built up over the years.  People who get Leasey, they absolutely love it, I’m glad to say.  The majority of our users by far are what we would call “Leasey advanced users.”  So they are people who have an intermediate to advanced knowledge of JAWS, but who want a lot of the tools, utilities, and services that it offers.

So as a brief example, we have a feature called “Leasey Search,” which is a little like Research IT.  I’ve been particularly conscious of Research IT and have tried not to duplicate what Research IT offers within JAWS.  But it is very much like it, and it offers people a range of search tools that they can make use of, so things like the weather, for example.  In our upcoming release we’ve got a whole new weather app.  You can search by a new TV database to gain up-to-the-minute information about TV programs, and those that have been broadcast in the past.  We have search tools for music lovers so you can search databases of music content and so on.  So that’s Leasey Search.

But there’s a lot more to it.  There’s about 50, five zero, features that people can tap into with Leasey to improve their productivity.  And we have a whole series of tutorials on our website, very short, bite-size, which is why they’re called “LeaseyBites,” so that you can get an idea as to how these things work.

JOHN:  And we’ll mention it again, but what is the correct title of the site in case people want to go take a look at those things?

BRIAN:  Of course.  It is HartgenConsultancy.com.  That’s H A R T G E N Consultancy dot com.  Or if you just google Hartgen Consultancy, we’re right there.

JOHN:  And you said the new release is about to come out.  That’s as we are recording this.  But by the time people hear this, it will already be out and coincide with the latest release of JAWS.

BRIAN:  That’s absolutely right, and that’s why we do it.  So again, November is Leasey’s birthday, as well as our company’s.  And so that is typically when a new major release of JAWS is available.  So we always try to give people something a little bit extra special, as well as making Leasey compatible with the latest release of JAWS. 

JOHN:  And what other things have you been working on that have been released recently as a part of the company?

BRIAN:  Well, we have a new version of our J-Say product.  I guess that’s the product that we’re most known for.  And that couples JAWS for Windows with Dragon Naturally Speaking, enabling people to have complete voice control of the computer.  The kind of people who we would sell that to or who would like it are people who have just lost their sight and cannot use the keyboard.  The veterans in the United States, they use us quite a lot.  They really do promote the J-Say product.  So it’s people such as those, people who don’t want to use the keyboard, who might be in full-time work, through to we have some customers, for example, who are paralyzed from the neck down, and who cannot use the computer keyboard at all.  But they should be able to take advantage of everything that JAWS has to offer, as well.  So we do have a new version of that coming out, again to coincide with the JAWS 2020 and Fusion 2020 releases.

We have a StationPlaylist Studio.  That is for people who like to undertake broadcasting, either in a terrestrial radio situation or Internet broadcasting.  Have a very large user base.  And the company who developed that software, StationPlaylist, they are about to come out with a new release, so we have scripts to support that, as well.  So those are the main things that we’re concentrating on in the product line at the moment, just making sure that everything is up to speed and compatible with the new JAWS release and Fusion release because we want people to go over to those new releases.

JOHN:  And we are talking on the Zoom client, and you also have scripts for Zoom, some of which are included in the JAWS 2020 release.

BRIAN:  That’s quite right.  We do.  So the basic scripts are in JAWS 2020, and they gave people quite some good functionality within Zoom.  But we do have a paid-for version of the product, as well.  And we’re updating that on a fairly regular basis at the moment to include quite a number of new features that help people when they are participating in conferences or hosting them.  And again, we do have an email list of users of these scripts.  And you’ll know, particularly both of you, that suggestions do come about as a result of participating in that.  And I do try to act on them as quickly as possible.  And fortunately I’ve got a very good dialogue going now with the developers of Zoom.  So that in turn will make things a lot easier.

JOHN:  One of the other things that you’ve been doing and I’ve enjoyed thoroughly over the past several years is a number of the training webinars that you can tune into live and direct if you sign up for them.  And if you happen to miss out on those, you can get them as a part of an archive.  And there’s a lot of great material in that training area.

BRIAN:  Thank you, yes.

JOHN:  Talk a little bit about that, please.

BRIAN:  Yeah, they have built up over the years, actually.  And they range in all kinds of situations, all kinds of subjects.  So the first one that I actually did, appropriately enough, was called “Learn JAWS Scripting from Scratch.”  And I got a lot of people asking about how they could get started with scripting.  And so I did produce that course, and it’s probably one of our longest training courses.  I think it runs for about nine hours in total.  So that was the first one.

And then I went on to other subjects such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Outlook, Google Chrome.  And we’ve got one on Skype.  OpenTween, which is a Twitter client.  But there’s quite a number of training courses about audio applications, as well, because people seem to like those.  So we have GoldWave, Sound Forge, Reaper.  That was a challenging one; but it was a good one to do, and Reaper is a multitracking tool that you can use for mixing audio.  So that was a good one.

I think one of the latest ones was that relating to PowerPoint because people want to know, not only about the functionality, but they also want some of the terminology associated with PowerPoint explained, and how to create visual presentations that look as good as they possibly can, if you can’t see.  Now, I always advocate that it’s a good idea to get sighted assistance to verify the quality of your presentations.  But if you can get most of the work done yourself, if you can’t see, then that’s always good.  So again, that was an interesting course to do.

And within the midst of that, actually, VFO added some new PowerPoint functionality to JAWS.  So that training course was extended, kind of on the fly.  I wasn’t planning it.  But it’s just the way that it came about.  So people really did get quite a bit more for their money on that one.

JOHN:  Are there other potential webinars that you’re looking to do in the future, that people have suggested, or that you’ve decided that you’d like to do?

BRIAN:  I’m about to do one on voice tracking for the StationPlaylist product.  So that’s a mechanism by which people can record their radio shows.  They don’t have to host them live.  So that is going to be done.  And there aren’t really anymore at the moment.  My time is getting – I’m very thinly stretched at the moment with everything that’s going on, and there is only one of me, I’m afraid.  So at the moment, no.  There aren’t any more that are going to be available.

JOHN:  Now, the voice tracking that you mentioned, is that information a part of the StationPlaylist tutorial that’s been out for a while?  Or is this new and kind of an adjunct to that?

BRIAN:  We’ve touched on it.  So we have talked a little bit about what voice tracking is.  But technology has moved on since that tutorial has been produced.  And a lot of people are doing what’s called “remote voice tracking” now, which is where you actually log into a computer that might be at the radio station, rather than your own machine, and you basically create your voice breaks, and you send them up to the station, and everything is handled remotely.  So in the main, that is what this new training course is going to be about because there’s a lot of information that I’ve picked up over the last year or two about this, good techniques to improve your radio shows, make them sound great, and a lot of tricks that I’ve found out to improve things.  So that’s the kind of thing that I want to pass on to people.

JOHN:  Do you tend to have a lot of the same people come to your training courses?  Or are they all different depending upon what’s being taught at that particular time?

BRIAN:  Sometimes we get new people come along, and I’m very glad about that.  It’s always good to meet new people, particularly on the PowerPoint one.  We had quite a few people.  Obviously for audio applications it’s kind of a niche market, in a way.  You’re going to get people who are interested in broadcasting or audio production.  So you know, or you think you know, that when you do something relating to audio, you’re going to get X, Y, or Zed, or you think you will.  Some of the same people do come along, yes.

JOHN:  Brian, before we conclude, is there anything that you would like to mention that we haven’t asked you yet?

BRIAN:  Thank you.  I just wanted to touch on one subject, and this was about localization of products because this does come up sometimes about translating our products into different languages.  I did think it was a good idea to address this.  You see, I believe that, if you are going to translate something, any product, into whatever language it may be, just ensuring that the appropriate information is spoken or brailled is not enough.  There’s a lot more to translating a product into a different language than just that.  So we often get asked, well, why isn’t X, Y, or Zed, or Z, in a particular language?  And that is actually one of the reasons.  We have done a small amount of work in this area.

But generally, if you’re going to do it, you need to do some something properly.  So you need to build up a good relationship with an established company in the country that you’re trying to focus on.  That company needs to be involved in the development of the product, the testing, the documentation.  And that’s a huge job because our product documentation typically runs into hundreds of pages for each product.  So that all needs translating.  And then, most importantly, there is the support and the training to be delivered in the product in question.  Why have a product available in a particular language if you can’t support and train people in that same language?  To me it doesn’t make sense.  So the whole product and the whole process is actually really not only a labor-intensive process, but a very costly one, as well, to put in place.

So the only product that we’ve ever done this with is our J-Say voice recognition product.  And given that that’s taken 17 years now to build up, you can imagine what a huge task that is.  But we do have a version of that in German now.  We actually launched that this year.  So that may be the start of something.  That is just building up a suitable client base now.  But typically I would always say that it takes three or four years for a product to bed down and to get established before you start seeing some kind of really useful return on it.  So we do have that.  And in the near future we might have others.  But I just wanted to explain to people what a process we have to go through in order to translate a product into a different language.

JOHN:  Once you establish a relationship with a company in a certain country, and then you have other products that come along, is it easier then to get them to work with you on those different products?

BRIAN:  Not really.

JOHN:  Oh, okay.

BRIAN:  No, because – yes, the relationship is there, and that certainly helps.  But obviously the same processes apply.  So we  have to go through all those processes, creating the product, getting the messages translated, getting the documentation translated, testing, and working out sales agreements.  And all these sorts of things have to – it’s months of work that’s involved.  And I have to be persuaded, to be honest, that we’re going to eventually get some kind of financial return out of the whole process because it can be hundreds of business hours that is devoted to something like this.

JOHN:  Yeah, that’s one of the things that I’m sure most of us don’t think about.  We use the products, but never really delve that deeply into what goes on behind the scenes to make those products available.

BRIAN:  That is right.  We’d love to do it.  But again, it’s about a question of resources and everything else that’s going on within the small company that we are, but hopefully significant one.

JOHN:  Let us know again where we can go find out about all of the products and read about them.

BRIAN:  Well, thank you for inviting me onto the podcast.  I always enjoy coming on and talking about what we have to offer.  If people would like to find out more, then they can certainly do that.  Just head on over to our website at HartgenConsultancy, that’s H A R T G E N Consultancy, dot com.  And feel free to contact us.

JOHN:  Great.  Thank you again, Brian.  I can promise you that it will not be another three years before you are back with us.  We’ll have you come back again when new things come along.  And thank you again for being with us on FSCast.

BRIAN:  Thank you very much.  I’ve loved it, as always.

Signing Off on FSCast 178

LARRY:  And a reminder before we finish the show this time.  If you’d like to send along a Power Tip, we’d love to have it, love to receive it.  Or you can also send us a WAV file and describe what you would like to do.  And you can send that to fscast@vispero.com.  The listener line is also available at area code (727) 803-8000, and then extension 1010.

And for those of you who celebrate Christmas or any other holiday during this time, we hope you have a wonderful, wonderful holiday and that you’ll join us next year in January.


Transcript by elaine@edigitaltranscription.com











edigitaltranscription.com  •  12/09/2019  •  edigitaltranscription.mobi