Dragon Voice Recognition Review 01/24/11
Nuance’s Dragon voice recognition software has long been the leader in voice recognition software for professional or personal use with it now being in its 11th edition. As an online marketer I have to write staggering amounts of content to post on and promote off of my various websites each day.
I had the idea to switch from typing to dictating initially in order to give my hands a rest but in doing so I also inadvertently increased my productivity when it came to creating content on average by 250%, so I thought I’d give everyone who is on the fence about this technology a better look at the best of the best in this Dragon Voice Recognition review.
This program works via microphone which you connect to your computer whether it be usb or cordless/wireless Bluetooth enabled. You can use it to both dictate/transcribe content immediately and to interface with your computer and its programs/menus or to browse the internet/chat/email all using your voice. Anything which you can do with your hands you can do with a voice command or two.
These commands are very intuitive, as well. For example, if you’re dictating a sentence and you make a mistake, you can say a variety of phrases like “scratch that” or “undo” to undo what you just said. You can also say “select (a span of text)” to highlight text you’ve already spoken and edit it accordingly. There are dozens of these kinds of commands which you can give to get the desired effect.
There is an “accuracy center” function which you can use to manually improve your accuracy whenever you want, but one of the most impressive things about Dragon is that the more you use it then the more precise it automatically becomes at picking up your unique voice and way of speaking.
That being said, it’s still near perfect out of the box, especially in the latest version. But if you come upon a certain word which the program makes a mistake on perhaps because of your intonation or accent, you can train the program within a couple of seconds by editing it either with your voice or the keyboard and it will save those changes to your specific profile when you finish your session with it so that it learns for when that word comes up in the future. Different people can use the program in this way by signing into their unique profiles so that any changes which are made are only saved to and associated with your profile/voice.
What’s the Difference Between the Different Versions of Dragon?
There are 4 different major versions of the program which vary by price and features: Home ($99), Premium ($199), and Professional ($599). There is also a “Legal” ($799) version of the program for those practicing law which includes a great deal of law relevant/specific terms, otherwise it’s the same as Professional. Note that these are all for PC users, but there is also a version of the program for Mac users for $199 which resembles the Premium version, as well. The obvious question is what’s the difference between Dragon Home, Premium, and Professional?
Well most people are going to be interested in the Home versus Premium editions. I personally have the Premium edition, so here are the MAJOR things which are included with it and you can’t do with the Home edition:
- While all of the versions are compatible with most internet browsers such as IE or Firefox and word processor programs like Microsoft Word, Wordpad, and even open source free programs like Open Office; the Home version CANNOT be used with as many applications as the others, most notably Excel and Powerpoint and their open source counterparts.
- Additionally, it cannot be used to transcribe audio from a digital recorder like the others can.
- You cannot use a Bluetooth headset.
- You cannot play back your speech in documents which makes it easier to correct and edit your work.
- You cannot import or export custom word lists and profiles.
- You cannot create custom shortcut commands for frequent/repetitive tasks. (ex. “insert signature”, etc.)
If any of these things are important to you, then Premium is the way to go. If you’re exclusively going to use it for word processor dictation and Bluetooth or digital recorder compatibility isn’t an issue for you, then the Home version should be adequate enough for you.
As for a microphone, while they’ll recommend some top of the line pricey stuff, I got by for the longest time on a $22 Microsoft Life Chat wired USB mic/headset before upgrading to Bluetooth and the accuracy was still fantastic. If you do want Bluetooth then there is a packaged deal on the Premium page which includes a $150 microphone plus the Premium version for $300, so you get both and save a bit of cash with that option, it’s your call.
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