Dragon Naturally Speaking is a tool I’ve used for a long time. Dragon’s speech recognition software is responsible for a big improvement in my writing output.
I’m grateful it’s in my toolbox because last Sunday, I slipped on some ice and really screwed up my right arm & shoulder. The accurate voice-to-text capability of Dragon Naturally Speaking allows me to keep up with the pace of my business without missing a beat.
Voice recognition software has matured over the past decade. The speech recognition of Dragon software is light years ahead of where it was when I first discovered the product about 7 years ago. Then, you had to “train” your software to make it learn your way of speaking. Now, you still read a passage into Dragon’s software at first. After that, the software can learn from your email messages and more. The transcription becomes more accurate the more you use Dragon Naturally Speaking 12.
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Dragon’s setup is straightforward and simple, so I’m not going to spend a lot of time on that. However, here are several things to be aware of.
- Use a USB headset and microphone from the start. Using a USB mic ensures your voice will be in a digital format from the git-go. This lets the software skip the
analog signal to digital conversion. In my opinion, the program runs a bit faster and is more accurate. You can assume you are using an analog signal if you are plugging your headset into the 3.5mm jacks on your computer. When you plug in a USB Plug, your voice is being recorded in digital format.
- Get the best results by following Dragon’s instruction about microphone placement. When the mic is not in the best place, accuracy suffers… sometimes a lot.
- When someone enters the room, turn the microphone off. When I’ve neglected to do this, I’ve ended up with many pages of one-sided conversation. It didn’t take long to delete it, but that ain’t the point.
Once you’ve set up the software, you’re ready to write. Nuance, the company behind Dragon claims the software can transcribe up to 160 words per minute. I believe it. The program gets words onto the page faster than they can be typed on a keyboard. This is the main reason why I use and recommend Dragon Naturally Speaking 12.
When first using Dragon, you will have to get through a small learning curve. You have to say “period” at the end of your sentences. You say “new paragraph” to skip a line and start on the next line. There's a lot of commands you can use, but like anything else, you learn the ones you need to use. Here's the thing, as you use the program more and more, controlling your computer becomes easier and easier.
Dragon is able to open programs (Open Word, Firefox, etc.), move your mouse and click, and most other things you need to do to control your computer. This is very handy.
Dragon is very easy to use with Microsoft products, but when you want to dictate into some programs (like Google Drive/Docs) a dialog box will open up. When this happens, type your content is typed into the box. When you're done, click the Transfer button to copy the content into Google Drive/Docs (in this case). It's an extra step, but the process works well, so no big deal really.
Rock Solid Info loves Dragon Naturally Speaking 12. There are very good deals to be had right now. Go ahead and get a copy. You'll be very glad you did.