Dragon NaturallySpeaking


Dragon NaturallySpeaking is an everyday use item for me. It’s the software I selected to buy after a the free trial accounts of various other speech recognition software programs expired. Dragon was a bit of an impulse buy. I was actively looking for a product just as version 10 was released and the price of version 9.5 plummeted. I have never used it for a good few months and still feel conflicted as to whether it’s the right product for me.

Pros and cons then. Starting with the cons (some of which I have already mentioned in previous posts):

  • It requires an awful lot of training to have reasonable recognition if your lingo isn’t a standard
  • It’s slow despite the fact that my setup exceeds the recommended specifications
  • There is no effective way to reliably use voice commands to change between dictation and command mode
  • It’s a bit overwhelming to master the command centre, which contains all the various command options in long lists accessed via a substantial drop down menu.
  • Customisation is difficult. The project is what it is.
  • It doesn’t have a text to speech function at all.

Now let’s move on to the pros:

  • It is almost plug and play installation. I found it extremely easy to configure and could start to use it almost immediately.
  • It is good value for money. You pay for the simplistic user interface and  the ability to start with above zero accuracy in recognition.
  • It’s a well polished product.
  • It’s somewhat accurate without any training and accuracy does visibly improve after each training session.
  • It’s reliable. I can use it to dictate into any dictation box of whatever program I and may be using at the time and it performs consistently the same.

Currently currently I am using Dragon overwhelmingly for dictation within the following applications:

  1. Mozilla Firefox: I use Dragon to enter a search in Google search box. I also use Dragon to dictate this blog as well as any other browser-based dictations, such as e-mails or forum posts.
  2. Open office: I use Dragon to dictate all documents.
  3. World of Warcraft: I use Dragon dictate into the chat. I open a chat ‘ dictation’ box with keys bound to my N52te / joystick / mouse and then just talk as per normal dictation mode. It works similar to vent, the only difference is that it’s also speech-to-text.
  4. Notepad:   I am a note taker and scribbler. it’s a detrimental habit than trying to break by using a notepad that is always open in the background and for warcraft, an in game notepad.

I rarely use command mode. I would love to do so, but at the moment, it’s just more trouble than it’s worth. For dictation, I would give Dragon a 7/10. For command mode,  I’ll plead ignorance. Not for a lack of trying, but for a lack of succeeding to utilise it effectively. For more of my thoughts on Dragon, see Dragon NaturallySpeaking, Example: Dragon NaturallySpeaking. and Dragon in World of Warcraft.


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