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Mac users burned after Nuance drops Dragon speech to text software
In many ways it will improve your writing process and make your life easier. Are there any drawbacks to the software?
The tone spoken while dictating may be completely different than how you typically write, meaning it can take time to learn how to blend the two. However, I realise new writers may not yet be up to spending several hundred dollars on voice recognition software. The inbuilt speech to text software, in Windows is powered by Dragon. You can use it to practice dictating before you invest in premium speech recognition software.
Well, the advantage of Dragon dictation software over inbuilt-software is you can train it to recognise certain words, and it will become more accurate the more often you use it. It can also control your computer via voice commands. Dragon includes some tutorials you should complete before you start using dictation software. These tutorials teach you how to use dictation software as well as give Dragon a chance to learn how you speak. The initial tutorial for Dragon NaturallySpeaking takes 90 seconds to complete and should get you up and running. The other ones take about ten minutes to complete, and doing these will increase your accuracy.
You can also import some of your writing into Dragon so it can study how you write and learn commonly used words and phrases. Dictation software like Dragon works best if you speak in complete sentences. You can draft an outline by using a bullet-point list, which is what I did for this post. Alternatively, you could create a mind map.
Using Voice Dictation
In the centre of the screen, you can see me dictating as I go. Be sure to enunciate very clearly and punctuate as you speak to avoid spending tons of time editing. It is best to face the mic while dictating and give it a test beforehand. Also be sure that your software is still listening while you pause when speaking, as some dictations software apps only listen for about 30 to 45 seconds at a time.
I tried spelling the name and various other tips and tricks, but Dragon still insists on mangling it. The accuracy of your dictation software is determined by the quality of your microphone and the surrounding environment. There are three types of microphones for dictation software : built-in computer mics, wired headsets, and wireless headsets. Then I tried using a cheap headset that I had in my wardrobe. It is highly rated by call center employees who take customer calls and speak to people throughout each day.
If you are using the dictation solution provided by Google, then the accuracy is a bit higher. Just open Google Docs from your Chrome browser, go to Tools, open the Voice typing feature next to the microphone icon, and you are good to go. Background noise, such as a conversation or the honking of a car tends to mess with many digital dictation systems, so make sure you are in a quiet room.
In the video above, you can see some of the mistakes or issues Dragon has with my accent. This is a good indication of the quality that you can expect when starting off. Tracking your word-count from each session as compared to when you write by hand will help you feel motivated about learning how to dictate early drafts of your work. It took me some trial and error to figure out how to integrate dictation into my writing workflow. For example, you have to speak punctuation commands. This is true for even advanced speech recognition software such as the one used by Google docs.
So make sure you keep a list of dictation commands handy and master them using a couple of test paragraphs before you put your voice recognition software through its paces. You can get the dictation commands that are commonly used from your software supplier, and, as speech recognition programs become more advanced, you may someday be able to bid farewell to Microsoft Word.
If your internet connection is patchy or if the dictation voice is not loud enough, dictation and transcription can become that much more difficult. I found dictation leads to a more conversational type of writing. Dictation is ideal for writers who gravitate towards conversational writing and those who write online.
Writing a book by dictation is different than typing out a draft or even relying on pen and paper. For this to work, I had to outline much of the chapter before-hand on index cards. Then, I had to train myself to dictate the entire chapter without stopping to edit typos or fix issues.
In effect, I dictated the first draft and then edited and rewrote later drafts by typing. As explained earlier, voice typing is only good to get your first draft on paper. Want tips on how to write a book? I found this part of dictation slower than editing by hand. In the end, dictation software like Dragon NaturallySpeaking is useful if you want to increase your daily word-count, get through a first draft and overcome problems like writing in pain.
However, like any good tool, Dragon will help get more of the right things done… if you use it correctly. You can use more advanced versions of this dictation software to control your computer. The software is designed to enable people with physical disabilities to do things like surf their web browser, use common applications on a computer and do everything you can do with a keyboard or mouse. You can also import audio files into Dragon, and it will transcribe them for you. I tested this using an audio-file I recorded on my smartphone. The user interface has also been streamlined and is faster and less intrusive than previous versions.
My only caution is that Nuance releases a new version once every twelve months meaning there is a noticeable cost of ownership. As I was a Dragon 5. Does Dragon NaturallySpeaking need the internet? Can Dragon NaturallySpeaking transcribe audio files?
Dragon Dictation - Free & Unbiased App Review - Freemake
Yes, you can upload a personal audio file or one from social media to Dragon NaturallySpeaking and it will transcribe. You may have to clean up the result. I suggest trying this writing workflow with your phone before investing in a Dragon compatible voice recorder. Dragon keeps a list on their website. Nuance has discontinued their software for Mac. Currently, I use Rev to transcribe my writings and articles.
I also have an old copy of Dragon software for Mac. It depends on which version you buy. You could also use Rev. Unlike Dragon, a writer can dictate a draft into their dictation application and upload it to Rev. There, a human will transcribe your draft at the rate of a dollar per minute. Can Naturally Speaking transcribe audio files?
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Yes, I sometimes record audio files using the Olympus voice recorder from Olympus Dictation. Then, I transfer these audio files to my computer and open Dragon. It transcribes the MP3 files to a text folder on my computer. A twenty minute audio recording takes about three to five minutes to transcribe. If you do this, you should speak punctuation and so on into your voice recorder. You may have to find and fix some errors in the final text file. You can also speak basic voice commands. If you want to write on the go, then here are 3 mobile apps designed to help you in your speech transcription needs that you should check out.
SpeechNotes is a free browser-based dictation software that allows you to convert your speech into text directly in your Chrome browser. It is super easy to set up and once you give it permission to use your mic, all you have to do is click on the microphone icon and you are good to go. Even if you upgrade to its premium version, SpeechNotes is more cost effective than using a transcription service. You can export your files to. It is also available as a mobile app.
Dragon Speech Recognition Software
You can use Rev transcription service to transcribe an audio recording for a dollar a minute. To use Rev to dictate your book or writing, prepare an outline in advance, and then record yourself dictating the first draft using your phone your computer. This approach enabled me to write twice as fast and on the go.
Using transcription services might be a tad more expensive than buying a voice-to-text software, but the end result, the quality of finished documents, speaks for itself. For me, Dragon offers the best speech recognition software at a premium. To find out if dictation software is right for you, try a free version and see how it fits your style. Once you are confident, make the investment and take your writing career to new heights.
Want to become a better writer? This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small commission if you buy Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech to text software or try Rev. I only ever recommend products and services I use personally. Try Dragon today.
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I'll also send you practical writing advice and more as part of my newsletter. But back to serious business thank you for sharing this great article that is well researched and full of awesome advice. HI Linda, Nice to meet a transcriber. I am glad you liked the article. My main takeaway from using Rev and also Dragon is that a real transcriber is more accurate than software but not every new writer can afford to hire someone. The cheapest option is the use inbuilt dictation software, followed by Dragon followed by hiring someone.
Hi Bryan, Thanks for introducing a new dictation Software. I will definitely use it. I seen the video. Do you have any idea for other software? You could use the dictation app on your computer. Windows and OSX have one, and they are free. Google Docs has one also.