Pen scanner

« previous post | next post »

New product:

With the Scanmarker Air no more Retyping- Simply Scanning!

Scan any text in a document or book and it's instantly available on your PC/Mac in any program including Word, Google Docs, Evernote and more. You can also use it on your smartphone/tablet with our app.

  • Super Easy to use
  • Scanmarker Air is 30 times faster than manual retyping
  • Scans up to 3,000 characters a minute and will save hours of tedious work
  • Can read aloud any scanned text
  • Instant translation to over 70 languages- including reading the translation aloud!

If Scanmarker Air can do well half of what it promises, this could be a real boon to scholars, students, lawyers, business people — just about everyone who deals with the written word.

I doubt that it can handle Chinese characters — that would be asking too much — but if it really could, that would be a dream for people like me.


Selected readings


[h.t. John Rohsenow]


  1. Philip Taylor said,

    February 9, 2022 @ 12:23 pm

    The manufacturers make the following claim :

    Which languages does Scanmarker/Scanmarker Air support?

    For Scanning:

    Afrikaans, Aymara, Armenian, Azerbaijani (Latin), Azerbaijani (Cyrillic), Albanian, Bulgarian, Basque, Belarusian, Bemba, Breton, Corsican, Chinese (Simple Vert), Chinese (Simple), Chinese (Traditional Vert) Chinese (Traditional), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Esperanto, Estonian, Faroese, Fijian, Finnish, Frisian, French, Friulan, Galician, German, Greek, Hebrew ,Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Irish, Japanese, Kazakh, Korean, Latin, Latvian, Lithuanian, Luxembourgish, Luba, Macedonian, Moldovan, Maltese, Mongolian, Norwegian, Papiamento, Polish, Portuguese (Portugal), Portuguese (Brazil), Rhaeto Roman, Romanian, Russian, Scottish Gaelic, Serbian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, Swedish, Swahili, Turkish, Tagalog, Tatar, Turkmen, Uzbek (Latin), Ukrainian, Welsh, Xhosa, Zulu, Quesha

  2. Diana Shuheng Zhang said,

    February 9, 2022 @ 12:31 pm

    I knew that neither Hindi nor Telugu nor Sanskrit (the three languages that I primarily use and desperately need) would be on board for any “layman” language technologies …. :/

  3. S Frankel said,

    February 9, 2022 @ 12:36 pm

    What's "Quesha"? There's an ugly modern font by that name (the lower-case e looks like it's going to roll over; the lower-case g is a circumcision gone wrong, etc).

    If is a misprint for "Quechua," that doesn't give a great deal of confidence in the rather extravagant claims.

    Also, I don't think there's a language called "Rhaeto Roman."

  4. Diana S Zhang said,

    February 9, 2022 @ 12:45 pm

    PS: I wonder why none of the South Asian languages (NONE!) is there? Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, Telugu, Sinhala, Nepali… all of which have a large number of population speaking them? After all there are over 1 billion people and 23 official languages on that land and none is put into consideration, while European / Romance languages, on the other hand, has been divided in such details and covered as comprehensively as including Luxembourgish. Haha.

  5. John Rohsenow said,

    February 9, 2022 @ 12:48 pm

    (On the basis of no evidence or knowledge whatsoever) I assume that IF the claims to be able to scan Chinese characters are true, it refers to standardized (take your pick) clearly PRINTED forms only, altho' I'd still worry about the old problem of multistroke characters so reduced in size that they are barely discernible w/ the naked eye… I particularly appreciate the distinction: "Chinese 'Simple./Trad. VERT" vs [unmarked,
    presumably meaning L–>R]. ( I would have gone with 'simpl.' instead, of 'simple', but it wouldn't have saved any space :-)
    Who's going to have the courage (and $) to test it out and report back?

  6. Victor Mair said,

    February 9, 2022 @ 12:53 pm

    There are plenty of African and Central / Inner Asian languages included, but why isn't India, with nearly 18% of the world's population, represented at all?

  7. Ernie in Berkeley said,

    February 9, 2022 @ 1:56 pm


    But the URL in the post contains many tracking strings: ?utm_source, &utm_campaign, &utm_adset, etc. The bare URL works fine,

  8. Alexander Browne said,

    February 9, 2022 @ 1:59 pm

    Because Indian languages don't use Latin or Cyrillic? All the "obscure" languages on the list do. I don't see Thai or Amharic or any other script either.

  9. Coby said,

    February 9, 2022 @ 2:16 pm

    There is Hebrew but no Arabic-scripted language. I wonder if the developers are Israeli.

  10. Nick Kaldis said,

    February 9, 2022 @ 2:50 pm

    Lots of details about this device from purchasers, including what one user describes as a a required (hidden) annual fee for accompanying software:

  11. Alexander Browne said,

    February 9, 2022 @ 2:51 pm

    Also Greek and Armenian (and Mongolian doesn't specify, but I'm assuming it does the Cyrillic).

    I may be wrong, but one thing I believe they share with Hebrew is they are (mostly?) strings of characters like Latin, rather than having letters than connect and change forms, like the missing Arabic and Indian languages.

  12. James-Henry Holland said,

    February 9, 2022 @ 3:07 pm


  13. maidhc said,

    February 9, 2022 @ 4:41 pm

    I had a product similar to this back in the early 1990s, although it only handled the Latin alphabet and didn't do translations. The OCR did a decent job at preserving the font and other attributes of the source text. Better than any other OCR I have used since then.

    I may even still have it in a closet somewhere, but I don't expect the interface software would work nowadays.

  14. Mark Hansell said,

    February 9, 2022 @ 4:56 pm

    Rhaeto Roman presumably refers to Romansch, the Romance language of Switzerland.

  15. John Swindle said,

    February 9, 2022 @ 7:47 pm

    But it comes in different colors.

  16. Rich said,

    February 9, 2022 @ 8:07 pm

    Anyone have any handy tricks for writing in Sanskrit in a Word doc? I am transcribing a number of talks that are split between English and Sanskrit. For Sanskrit I have to move over to this buggy little "Sanskrit Writer Lite" program then paste it back to Word. Surely there's a way to get IAST or at least Devanagari into a Word document seamlessly alongside English?

  17. martin schwartz said,

    February 9, 2022 @ 11:47 pm

    @Coby: Israel tech guys would be the last to exclude Arabic,
    a language which would have many customers throughout the Arab
    world (not to speak of users of languages which have Arabic script),
    would be useful for commerce and at least soft espionage data. Surely, as some have noted, lack of Arabic script, as aslo Indic and other scripts which have connecting characters, requires more
    technologically. @S Frankel: I looked up Quesha Font. Examples
    feature SCHADENFREUDE flanked by 2 dispiriting proverbs.
    @Mark Hansell: Some include under Rhaeto-Romance Friulian and Ladin as well as Romansh (Romansch). I once met a Swiss family,
    one of whom spoke Romansh, which they first referred to as Waldisch. I couldn't find the latter term on the Internet.
    Anyway, not attracted to this scanner or scammer.

    Martin Schwartz

  18. Keith said,

    February 10, 2022 @ 3:24 am

    Ah, the scanner pen!

    I seem to remember one of these being marketed at least ten years ago.

    Alexander Browne is almost certainly correct, when he writes that the pen is limited to scripts that have fixed letter shapes, regardless of whether a letter is initial, medial or final (which excludes Arabic and abugidas).

    The width of the pen looks like it will limit its use to text below, at a guess, 1/2" high.

    @Rich, wanting to type in Devanagari in Word: these days, I don't use MS software, I use LibreOffice, which is quite similar. I set up my Linux work computer to be able to type in Korean and Devanagari at the input method (system) level; this makes those scripts available in all applications.

    A few years ago I had Windows in a virtual machine for doing a bit of development in C# and Java, and managed to get Korean and Devanagari working there, too. I don't remember the version of Windows, though… I could dig out those documents and try to make a simplified summary of how to do that.

  19. Antonio said,

    February 10, 2022 @ 6:50 am


    Not even Abbyy Finereader?

  20. S Frankel said,

    February 10, 2022 @ 9:08 am

    @Mark Hansell and martin schwarz: I didn't explain well when I wrote that there's no language called "Rhaeto Roman." I meant that they got the names of one of the supposedly supported languages wrong, which does not inspire confidence in their product.

  21. Robert Coren said,

    February 10, 2022 @ 11:04 am

    I also took "Quesha" to be an error for "Quechua", but I also wondered why it was tacked on at the end instead of appearing in its alphabetical position.

  22. John Swindle said,

    February 10, 2022 @ 9:59 pm

    “Quesha” and “Rhaeto Roman” are included not because the developers know what they are but rather because they believe them to be written in Latin or Cyrillic script.

  23. Chas Belov said,

    February 11, 2022 @ 4:16 pm

    Don't really need on a Mac. OCR is built into Preview and Safari.

  24. Chas Belov said,

    February 11, 2022 @ 4:18 pm

    Sorry, have a heavy send finger.

    Not sure what languages are covered, and requires Monterey.

    Also, if you already have Adobe Acrobat Pro, that has OCR features as well. May not want to buy it just for OCR, but if you have it then you don't necessarily need another program if your language is supported.

  25. Andrew Usher said,

    February 11, 2022 @ 11:04 pm

    Indeed. In addition to the fact that the advertising claims can't possibly be met, anyone with the need already has traditional scanning + OCR, which can only be better than this alleged device. I would not have wanted to give them any more publicity.

    k_over_hbarc at

RSS feed for comments on this post