I’ve just purchased Dragon Dictate 2.5 for my Mac. In fact, I am “typing” on it right now using my voice and not my fingertips. It is, actually, quite impressive and now that I’ve done the training (we are I read back text in it learns to adapt to my voice), and bumped up the accuracy versus speed sitting in favour of accuracy, and now that I’ve adjusted my behaviour to suit the software (which hasn’t been hard, to be honest) I am really enjoying using it.
I suspect the reason why it is such poor reviews (on Amazon.com) is that the people who have reviewed it haven’t invested more than a few minutes in using the software. I found the 1st half hour or so using it very frustrating. The picked up many of the words I said accurately, but I spent more time manually correcting the words it didn’t recognise that I saved. But then it got better and better and better. It learned my voice. I learned how to use it.
There is one other annoying feature of the product which is that, except for Microsoft Word 2011 and text edit and the built-in Dragon editor, you are not supposed to use your hands at the same time as you use your voice. If you do the dictation gets its knickers in a twist and makes a mess right there on the page in front of you. That said, I am currently dictating into Mac journal and I’m finding okay not using my hands.
I suspect that Nuance, the company which makes Dragon Dictate, would do themselves a service is they placed a little more emphasis on the benefits a new user can get by investing a little more time and training.
Funny thing is, the only reason I bought this damned software is that I had previously paid something like £30 for their pokey little dictation product called (I think) Dragon express. It annoyed me immensely but I was impressed with his accuracy. And then somewhere I noticed that nuance head and upgrade option hidden in its menus which allowed me to buy Dragon Dictate for something like £70. So, unless I’m being stupid, I think I just bought the software for a very low price computer buying it in a box from Amazon.co.uk.
Is only one little thing bugging me. Which is this: the new Mac operating system which will be released in July comes with built-in dictation which uses the Dragon engine. From the little I can read about it, it seems that you can dictate into any text box within OS X but only does the translation when you click on done. I hope that’s all it does because I love that I have been able to “type” this entire blog post and watch it grow sentence by sentence in front of me. My understanding is that the OS X translation won’t be able to do that.
Now… I’ve managed to type a lot very quickly here and I haven’t gone back and edited/reworked what I have written. That’s partly laziness, partly because I want to share what I’ve managed to achieve by using DragonDictate. But, I should note that I’m having to figure out how to dictate, which is a skill I’ve never had before. It is different.
Funny thing: my spelling is a lot better when I dictate!