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Azure Skye
05-06-2008, 12:52 AM
I found Dragon's Naturally Speaking voice recognition software at Staples and wondered if anyone has ever used it or anything like it. It claims 99% accuracy and sounds like it could be useful for those who write longhand and type copy later. Anyone? The reviews seem to be pretty good too but I like to hear firsthand accounts.

slcboston
05-06-2008, 12:55 AM
I don't use it myself but I'm pretty sure David Pogue of the NYTimes "Circuits" column does - I think he's got problems with his hands along the lines of carpal tunnel or what not - and he's written rather glowingly of it. It's one of those products he actually *uses* instead of just reviewing it, which counts for something IMO.

You might want to check that out. :D

JennaGlatzer
05-06-2008, 12:57 AM
I was very unhappy with a previous version, but I just got version 9 (Preferred) and I'm loving it. Very accurate and only one glitch that I've found so far (I have to restart it after it transcribes about 5 pages). I use it to transcribe interviews.

Azure Skye
05-06-2008, 02:46 AM
I was very unhappy with a previous version, but I just got version 9 (Preferred) and I'm loving it. Very accurate and only one glitch that I've found so far (I have to restart it after it transcribes about 5 pages). I use it to transcribe interviews.

Is that a compatibility issue maybe?

A. J. Luxton
05-06-2008, 08:06 AM
I'm curious. People who use voice recognition software -- how do you handle punctuation? I tend to use fairly complex sentence structures in my fiction. Can you set a program to recognize "comma" as a comma, "full stop" as a period etc?

dadburnett
05-06-2008, 11:12 AM
A related question, has anyone tried to use V/R software to transcribe recorded media? I have cassettes of talks I've given and would like to have a print copy. Thanks.

akiwiguy
05-06-2008, 01:25 PM
I tried out Vista's voice recognition software one night, and after quickly doing the tutorial I was initially quite amazed. Several sentences in a row were 100% accurate. Then after I trained it further (I was obviously correcting mistakes wrongly or whatever) it seemed to get worse. Initial playing around suggested I'd persevere if I had some sense that it would eventually reach say high 90s accuracy. But in my opionion it would need to have a very high accuracy rate, else correcting mistakes is more hassle than it's worth.

So I'm curious how long others have found they have typically needed to use such software before it starts yielding high accuracy.

L M Ashton
05-06-2008, 03:32 PM
This has been discussed a few other times here, so you might want to do a search. I believe Dragon Naturally Speaking was brought up in the other two or three threads that I remember off-hand, so that might be a good search term.

I haven't used the latest version, but I have tried previous versions a few times and was always rather unsuccessful with it, even after hours of training. But I mumble and really don't speak clearly at all - hearing problems, so I can't hear what I really sound like, so, I dunno, I sound funny sometimes. Personally, I can type fast enough (80 wpm) that, combined with how slowly you have to speak and carefully you have to enunciate (or at least I would), it just wasn't worth it for me.

To increase the probability of it working well, it was suggested years ago to use a headphone/mic set that had the sound processor built in, rather than relying on a not-as-good sound board. I don't know if sound cards have improved enough since then to know if that's still an issue or not, but it's something to check out.

dadburnett, generally speaking, no. In order for the software to work at recognizing speech patterns, a person first has to go through training with the software. When I've done it in the past, it involved reading out sentences that the program gave me as it matched my voice patterns to what it knew the words should be. So, unless you could get the person doing the tape to train with the software first, you won't have much luck.

Azure Skye
05-06-2008, 09:08 PM
This has been discussed a few other times here, so you might want to do a search. I believe Dragon Naturally Speaking was brought up in the other two or three threads that I remember off-hand, so that might be a good search term.



Thanks.

Doug Johnson
05-06-2008, 09:41 PM
I use Dragon for first drafts. I usually type the changes. Works for me. But if you do it, don't do it on the cheap. You need a fast machine with lots of memory and a fast hard drive. (The most used words are in memory, the rest on the hard drive, so a slow hard drive will really make things slow.)

Also, it won't be perfect, but my typing isn't perfect either.

cameronbelle
05-10-2008, 12:51 AM
I've had some good results with Dragon Speaking Naturally 9 (preferred). It's the slightly more expensive version, but it seems to be worth it so far. You need a computer that's powerful enough to run it (hopefully more than the minimum requirements), a relatively clear speaking voice, and some patience at first, particularly while you're training it to your voice. It's not perfect, but when it's working, it's far faster than typing (and I touch type at 70-90wpm), and it's a serious wrist-saver on marathon writing days. However, I haven't used it much for composing directly to speech, and have found it most useful for rapidly inputting my longhand drafts (which I have a lot of when I'm in first draft mode).

The downside is that when I'm reading something aloud to people in real life, I find myself speaking the punctuation out loud. *g*

Old Hack
05-10-2008, 11:29 AM
I use Dragon as I have bad RSI, and I've commented in a few places here about it.

Don't consider the Standard version: get Preferred or Pro.

You'll need a machine with at least 2 gig of memory for it to run properly.

You'll also need a high-quality headset (I use a Sennheiser ME3) and a USB sound-pod, rather than an inbuilt sound-card, for best accuracy.

You can't use it to transcribe tapes directly, you have to echo-dictate--that is, listen to the tapes then dictate what you've heard into Dragon. Dragon only really works with one voice at a time, which has all ready been trained into the program.

As for accuracy getting worse the more you train: I've not used Vista, but have heard of this with Dragon. The user-files are easily corrupted, and so training can lead to more mistakes, as more corruptions occur through repeated alterations and re-saves.

There's a fabulous discussion forum at www.knowbrainer.com, I think: lots of useful information although it does get a bit sales-orientated at times.

Old Hack
12-09-2008, 06:56 PM
I'm bumping this one up again because I've recently upgraded to Dragon NaturallySpeaking Preferred v10, and it's FABULOUS.

I have the wireless version and get better results with its wireless headset than I got from v8 and my ultra-high quality Sennheiser headset: when I use it with the Sennheiser, the speed and accuracy are wonderful.

I also use it with a digital voice recorder. As ever, you need to get a good one: I have an Olympus DS4000 which cost me 350 or so. I plug my Sennheiser into it then walk the dogs and can write a few thousand words a mile! Accuracy is reduced, as I speak less clearly while I'm walking: but it's a very fast way of getting down a first draft, or making notes as you go.

I've blogged about the newest version in more detail here, if anyone's interested.

Jenna wrote:


Very accurate and only one glitch that I've found so far (I have to restart it after it transcribes about 5 pages). I use it to transcribe interviews.

Jenna, I transcribe about 2,500 to 3,000 words before it starts to object: I wonder if you have enough working memory on your computer? If so, I'm pretty sure you can fiddle around with how the memory is used by Dragon (from within Dragon itself) to give yourself a little more room to work. If you've got a fast computer and a big hard drive, you shouldn't be so restricted by it.

Dave.C.Robinson
12-09-2008, 08:52 PM
I'm just trying it now, but it doesn't work in Firefox. I can't enter anything in the quick reply box. So I'm dictating this post in notepad and it works pretty well.

Tirjasdyn
12-09-2008, 09:01 PM
I just got DNS 10 Mobile edition, which comes with a digital voice recorder, for my birthday.

It has a very pretty box. But it's going to stay there since my computer is waiting to be replaced. I long to use it during my daily commute. And I am sad because I don't know when that will be.

I am very sad.

Old Hack
12-10-2008, 12:20 AM
I'm just trying it now, but it doesn't work in Firefox. I can't enter anything in the quick reply box. So I'm dictating this post in notepad and it works pretty well.

I thought it was fine with Firefox... Dave, if you're still struggling you could pop over to the KnowBrainer forum and have a poke around, to see if there's an easy fix for that. I'm SURE it's OK with Firefox, but could be completely wrong.

I feel like I'm working with rollerskates on, it's so quick and easy now.

Wheeeeee...!

Dave.C.Robinson
12-10-2008, 01:18 AM
I thought it was fine with Firefox... Dave, if you're still struggling you could pop over to the KnowBrainer forum and have a poke around, to see if there's an easy fix for that. I'm SURE it's OK with Firefox, but could be completely wrong.

I feel like I'm working with rollerskates on, it's so quick and easy now.

Wheeeeee...!

I should have been clearer-- I'm working with the Vista program because I haven't the spare money for Dragon (that and I decided to give it a try as soon as I saw this thread). Unfortunately the Vista version doesn't allow me to dictate in this box. I have to type it.

However, I've written about 400 words of a fantasy short story using it and it works surprisingly well for a freebie.

Gogoplata712
12-10-2008, 03:01 AM
I'm typing this with windows vista voice recognition. It works well for free program but I have to correct it quite a bit. Maybe it's because I'm using the sound board. I know I have to play around with it later with a microphone. Any background noise it types out something but I can see it being useful in the future. I wish I knew this was here sooner.

Old Hack
12-10-2008, 12:16 PM
Gogo, it sounds as though you'd get much better results if you got yourself a good microphone and a sound-pod instead of an inbuilt sound-card--internal sound-cards aren't well-shielded against interference, and so don't tend to give such good results. And sound-pods aren't very costly.

Dave.C.Robinson
12-10-2008, 03:52 PM
I think I've got it; though it doesn't work as well here as it does in office applications. At least I could enter this in the quick reply box with voice recognition. As far as free goes, I think it's great. I guess I'll have to start thinking of external sound pods in a whole new light. Normally I'm just concerned about built in versus add on card.

Darzian
12-10-2008, 08:07 PM
I had a look at the Dragon 10 software on Amazon and most of the reviews are terrible. I'd advise a check there before you buy. For some reason, Google Chrome isn't letting me put in a link. Oh well.

mario_c
12-11-2008, 08:49 AM
I had a bad experience demo-ing V/R software at our local CompUSA many years ago - can't remember which brand, I think was the major competitor to Dragon which is now out of business :D

I would be curious how this works with script writing software (I use celtx on Mac, and SceneWriter Pro on PC but not for long) because you have to bounce between dialog and directions (using the tab key) so it recognizing such is vital. Typing has kind of a old-school appeal for me, but I think I should get beyond it already. :D

Williebee
12-11-2008, 09:29 AM
I've used Vista's speech recognition with mixed results. A lot of that had to do with the quality of headset I used.

DNR is on my Christmas list. Just, you know... in case anybody was wondering....:)

Old Hack
12-11-2008, 11:05 AM
I had a bad experience demo-ing V/R software at our local CompUSA many years ago - can't remember which brand, I think was the major competitor to Dragon which is now out of business :D

I would be curious how this works with script writing software (I use celtx on Mac, and SceneWriter Pro on PC but not for long) because you have to bounce between dialog and directions (using the tab key) so it recognizing such is vital. Typing has kind of a old-school appeal for me, but I think I should get beyond it already. :D

The latest versions of Dragon are a far cry from the earlier ones, Mario: they're far quicker and more accurate. Really, it's amazingly good.

I don't know how well it would work with your script-editing software because I've not tried it, or read any reviews of it used in this way: but I can use just about any software with it, and I can navigate all over the computer with it using the built-in commands. If you want to use the tab key, you just say "tab key" and off you go.

Old Hack
12-11-2008, 11:08 AM
I had a look at the Dragon 10 software on Amazon and most of the reviews are terrible. I'd advise a check there before you buy. For some reason, Google Chrome isn't letting me put in a link. Oh well.

Darzian, I'm using Dragon Preferred 10 now (literally), and think it's great. I wonder if the bad reviews you've read relate to earlier versions of the software?

It's critical that you learn how to use it properly, and to take care with positioning your microphone properly; a very high-quality headset used to be critical too but with version 10 that seems less important, judging by the results that I've been getting with other headsets.

Darzian
12-11-2008, 02:13 PM
Darzian, I'm using Dragon Preferred 10 now (literally), and think it's great. I wonder if the bad reviews you've read relate to earlier versions of the software?

It's critical that you learn how to use it properly, and to take care with positioning your microphone properly; a very high-quality headset used to be critical too but with version 10 that seems less important, judging by the results that I've been getting with other headsets.

I don't know much about it- I just checked it on Amazon. I only heard about the existence of such software yesterday. The one I checked is Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 Preferred. Some people said it works perfectly while many others reported installation problems. The average rating is 2.5, which IMO is a little too low.
I agree that some of the reviewers may not have the specifications needed to run the software perfectly.

Ah- linky (http://www.amazon.com/review/product/B001B5J7LQ/ref=cm_cr_dp_all_summary?_encoding=UTF8&showViewpoints=1&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending)