Software Review: Dragon NaturallySpeaking, Version 11

Dragon NaturallySpeaking, Version 11

I’ve played around with voice-recognition software over the years.  Seven years ago, I tried hard to make Dragon NaturallySpeaking work for me.  Despite extensive training, I could not get it to work for me.

After reading a review which I have since lost track of, I decided to buy a copy of Dragon NaturallySpeaking version 11.  I figured, why not take a chance on it being an effective bit of software, given that the review said the software was vastly improved over version 10.  Plus, I found a copy at my local Walmart for 50 bucks; the deal that I do not think you’ll be able to get easily, because after looking on Walmart website, they certainly do not offer that version of the software, and certainly not for 50 bucks.

It’s been interesting to experiment with this software.  I’m only moderate as typing speed goes.  The software seems to have an accuracy level for me after two weeks of roughly 98%.  The initial training session lasted about 10 minutes.  Since that time, I have trained specific phrases that are unique to me about five times.  Each time I did the training why would utter the phrase after the training, it worked.  I was able to dictate an essay for publication on my blog on the evening that I installed the software.  The training worked that well.

When I speak to the computer, I utter phrases not words.  I can talk, and my speech is not stilted.  The software does better when it hears phrases.

During the installation of the software, it asked to look through the files on my PC, and scanned them to see how I write.  I suspect that allows the software to make educated guesses as to what I really want to see on page.  All I can say is that it certainly seems to do a good job.

In making corrections, a menu pops up with the most likely corrections.  Typically I have found that the correct option for correction is on that list, 90% of the time, and you simply utter the command “choose three.”  It also allows you the option to train new phrases, and spell words out, in order to get new vocabulary into the database of the software.

I have kept my hands in my pockets for the creation of this piece.  If there are any errors here is because I did not see the error and issue a voice command to correct it.  With that, I will close by saying that I really like this software, and intend to use it intensively for writing my essays.  I think it cuts the amount of time that it takes to write my essays by about 30 to 40%.

PS – one more note, this version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking contains a quality headset with a microphone.

Quibbles

It’s not perfect.  Sometimes making corrections purely by voice can take minutes and the aggravating.  I find that using a combination of voice hand control is optimal.

Who would benefit from this software:

I think almost anyone can benefit from the software, unless they are a really fast typist.  Beyond that, anyone who has physical handicaps could benefit dramatically from this software.  If you can speak, and master a few voice commands, you can use this software and type.  It can be used for issuing commands in other software, but I have not done that because I can do that more quickly using my hands.

If you want to, you can buy it here: Dragon NaturallySpeaking Home, Version 11.

Full disclosure: I bought a copy of the software with my own money.

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