When you scan a document that has text or numeric data on it, you are able to read and understand what is written in the scanned image. However, to a computer, the resulting image file is just as meaningless an assortment of pixels as a landscape photo. In order to transform this information into an editable format that you can search through, copy, and modify without retyping it manually, you will need the an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software.
There is a wide variety of OCR software available. While they all share the ability to convert images of machine printed (not handwritten) text or numbers into an editable format, the various software often have different features, accuracy, prices, and language options.
Our OCR Software Guide and Comparison Chart explain the differences between the assortment of software available, as well as offer our recommendation for the best overall software when it comes to converting English documents. However, there is also a difference in the number and selection of languages that the various software can convert. Below, you will find a list of languages that our top three choices in Desktop OCR software are able to convert, with the languages that have dictionary support marked in italics.
Some language groups are more recent additions to the OCR scene. Among these are Arabic scripts, including Hebrew, and Asian characters, such as Chinese. While not all software support them out of the box, they are slowly being integrated, first as add-ons to the base software and eventually as part of the default language selection.