It took a few minutes to sink in, but I realized yesterday that it's been an awfully long time since Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation Nuance Communications (NASDAQ:NUAN) bought another company. The speech specialist and serial-acquirer usually has its integration team very busy juggling at least a few integrations at a time.

But Nuance took only two months to close the $265 million acquisition of Tegic from Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX) AOL division. And after only three and half months, the $293 million VoiceSignal acquisition closed as well, bringing mobile customers such as Nokia (NYSE:NOK), Palm, and Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) into the Nuance fold.

But the slowdown in the M&A pace hasn't exactly stemmed the pace of expansion at Nuance. The company has been busy on the PR front extolling the advancements it has made helping customers implement speech capabilities in a variety of markets, including call steering, free directory assistance, and medical transcription.

Each of these areas is a significant revenue driver for Nuance. For instance, its Dictaphone medical transcription solutions accounted for almost $57 million of $157 million in total revenue in the most recent quarter. In addition, the Dragon product line -- which includes a customized version with vocabularies for medical applications -- delivered $17.5 million in revenue, 68% above last year.

Nuance also announced new and expanded relationships with two providers of ad-supported directory assistance services: Say Hello and Jingle Networks. Free directory assistance services have been booming lately -- enough to entice even the mighty Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) -- based on their high value compared to traditional expensive per-use services from major telcos such as AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ). In this area, Nuance claims to be the clear leader, with the most speech-based directory assistance installations in the market.

Call routing and automatic transcription services are hardly perfect. I've had my own share of frustrations with voice-recognition systems that can't seem to tell the difference between "cancel service" and "sales department." But speech-driven applications are improving dramatically with each product generation, and Nuance continues to drive deeper into several attractive vertical markets. All in all, the future continues to look bright for Nuance.

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