Dragon Naturally Speaking

by EricMN
47 replies
For those of you who have delved in this software

- did it work?
- was it useful (did it improve productivity etc)?
- what headset did you buy with it?
- worth it?

It seems like a fantastic tool and there are times when typing is just not an option for me but I still need to put words to 'paper'.

Any help, advice and/or feedback would be great
#dragon #naturally #speaking
  • Profile picture of the author bionictortoise
    I bought this with the voice recorder so I could dictate while out walking.

    I personally found I was spending too much time "teaching" and correcting it. It gets better as you go along, but I lost patience with it. I maybe should have stuck with it.

    But I didn't install it on my new PC and just type now, but go to Amazon and read the many reviews, and see what you think. Others seem to get on fine with it.
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    • Profile picture of the author wtatlas
      Hello,

      I've been using the premium version of this software for about two months now. My brief experience of the programme is that it does work, sometimes amazingly well, but it takes some time and patience on the user's part.

      The reason I say this is that the first few times I used it I had a lot of errors, mainly because I am not used to dictating and was only speaking two or three words at a time. As I became more used to it and began to think before I started to speak, I was able to say a whole sentence or most of one, all in one go.

      This resulted in much greater accuracy as the programme can put what is being said in context when it has more words to work with. For example, if you start a sentence by saying "The beech" and then stop, the programme won't know whether you mean "beech" or "beach". If you say, "The beach was full of people all enjoying a day on the sand" all in one go, then, just like a person, it knows what you mean by the context of the other words.

      The manufacturers say that it gradually gets more used to the way that you say things and I have to say that this seems to be happening for me.

      During the first few weeks that I used it I found that I was taking longer to finish a piece of writing than if I had just typed it myself, and I'm a pretty slow typist! This was mainly because I found the act of speaking into a microphone a little off-putting and I was just saying a couple of words at a time, (as in the example above), and getting lots of errors which had to be corrected. Now that I'm better at dictating I find that I can write a 500 word piece in about a half of the time that it would take by typing it out by hand.

      A headset came with the programme and I have just used that one. It works fine for me.

      I've only been using it for a couple of months and I am still improving my dictation. I expect that it will save me even more time as I get better at using it, so I would say, yes, I think it has been a worthwhile buy and will be even more so in time.

      I have seen a lot of negative comments about this programme and I suppose people might get different results to me. I think that you have to be prepared to have a lot of errors in the beginning and to spend some time "training" both yourself and the programme to achieve acceptable results.
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      • Profile picture of the author EricMN
        Originally Posted by wtatlas View Post

        Hello,

        I've been using the premium version of this software for about two months now. My brief experience of the programme is that it does work, sometimes amazingly well, but it takes some time and patience on the user's part.

        ...

        I have seen a lot of negative comments about this programme and I suppose people might get different results to me. I think that you have to be prepared to have a lot of errors in the beginning and to spend some time "training" both yourself and the programme to achieve acceptable results.
        Thank you wtatlas!

        This feedback was very useful, I'm glad you took the time to give me such a thorough breakdown of your experience.
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      • Profile picture of the author Scott Henderson
        It takes a little bit of time to train it, but not long maybe within a few days use. Once you have it trained and are used to dictating instead of writing you can get stuff done super fast. I recommend it but it may not be for everyone.
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  • Profile picture of the author sadiecopywriter
    I love mine. I use it everyday. I'm using it write this. I can't type at all. But I'm a professional writer and it's because of 'dragon' that I'm able to do it fast enough to make a living.

    But I spent a LOT of time training it. I read it every script it came with for the first week after I got it. I would finish work and just read to it for an hour at time. (You don't want to train it non-stop because your voice will crack.)

    I bought it a good quality headset, one used for phones. It was under $100.

    Then after I wrote some stuff with it, I fed it back into the dragon and read to it some more.

    I also teach it new words weekly.

    It's ever evolving and you have to put in the time with it if you want it to work for you.

    But I love mine. I want that new blue-tooth one, but then I'd have to train it again. (You have to train it over again every time you buy a new mic.)
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    • Profile picture of the author wordydiva
      Originally Posted by sadiecopywriter View Post

      I love mine. I use it everyday. I'm using it write this. I can't type at all. But I'm a professional writer and it's because of 'dragon' that I'm able to do it fast enough to make a living.

      But I spent a LOT of time training it. I read it every script it came with for the first week after I got it. I would finish work and just read to it for an hour at time. (You don't want to train it non-stop because your voice will crack.)

      I bought it a good quality headset, one used for phones. It was under $100.

      Then after I wrote some stuff with it, I fed it back into the dragon and read to it some more.

      I also teach it new words weekly.

      It's ever evolving and you have to put in the time with it if you want it to work for you.

      But I love mine. I want that new blue-tooth one, but then I'd have to train it again. (You have to train it over again every time you buy a new mic.)
      Thank you for the detailed feedback! I've considered purchasing dragon for over a year now and am now determined to get it tomorrow. I am not the most patient person in the world, but it seems as if training dragon is worth the effort.
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      • Profile picture of the author Michael D Forbes
        Windows 7 has voice recognition built in. Surprisingly good after running through the tutorials. I don't know if it learns as well as Dragon, but it's at least a nice free way to find out if you like the idea or not. I just can't get used to saying punctuation, it makes me crazy.

        To dictate text - Windows 7


        1. Open Speech Recognition by clicking the Start button , clicking All Programs, clicking Accessories, clicking Ease of Access, and then clicking Windows Speech Recognition.
        2. Say "start listening" or click the Microphone button to start the listening mode.
        3. Open the program you want to use or select the text box you want to dictate text into.
        4. Say the text that you want dictate.
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        • Profile picture of the author AndiC
          Originally Posted by Micheal D Forbes View Post

          Windows 7 has voice recognition built in.
          I found it terrible compared to dragon
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    • Profile picture of the author Benjamin Ehinger
      Originally Posted by sadiecopywriter View Post

      I love mine. I use it everyday. I'm using it write this. I can't type at all. But I'm a professional writer and it's because of 'dragon' that I'm able to do it fast enough to make a living.

      But I spent a LOT of time training it. I read it every script it came with for the first week after I got it. I would finish work and just read to it for an hour at time. (You don't want to train it non-stop because your voice will crack.)

      I bought it a good quality headset, one used for phones. It was under $100.

      Then after I wrote some stuff with it, I fed it back into the dragon and read to it some more.

      I also teach it new words weekly.

      It's ever evolving and you have to put in the time with it if you want it to work for you.

      But I love mine. I want that new blue-tooth one, but then I'd have to train it again. (You have to train it over again every time you buy a new mic.)
      This right here should give you the answer you are looking for. Just read through this post that was put together with Dragon, as the poster says. There are numerous mistakes, which means either the poster did not do a full edit or Dragon is making the mistakes.

      I, personally, tried Dragon and could see how the program could be very helpful, but I am not a fan of it just yet. When the software gets a bit more advanced I may try it again.

      Benjamin Ehinger
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      • Profile picture of the author PLRExpress
        I have used it in the past and it works almost perfectly for me. The only problem is that I can't think of what I want to write fast enough so I tend to just sit there staring at the screen!

        When I'm typing I have time to actually think about what I am going to write as I'm typing. When I just speak what I want, I tend to lose the flow so it's actually slower for me. It does work though.
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    • Profile picture of the author ecdavis
      Originally Posted by sadiecopywriter View Post

      I love mine. I use it everyday. I'm using it write this. I can't type at all. But I'm a professional writer and it's because of 'dragon' that I'm able to do it fast enough to make a living.

      But I spent a LOT of time training it. I read it every script it came with for the first week after I got it. I would finish work and just read to it for an hour at time. (You don't want to train it non-stop because your voice will crack.)

      I bought it a good quality headset, one used for phones. It was under $100.

      Then after I wrote some stuff with it, I fed it back into the dragon and read to it some more.

      I also teach it new words weekly.

      It's ever evolving and you have to put in the time with it if you want it to work for you.

      But I love mine. I want that new blue-tooth one, but then I'd have to train it again. (You have to train it over again every time you buy a new mic.)
      I think this is an excellent example of where Dragon is particularly useful. I also own Dragon and find that it works quite well when you take the time to train it. However, I also type at around 70 plus words a minute, and so for me, it is generally easier to type out what I'm thinking rather than run it through Dragon. But great program; does what it says it will do.

      Evan
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      • Profile picture of the author StephenJJackson
        If you've been having problems training DNS, here are a few things to consider.

        To get started, if you own any Dragon version earlier than 10, you will need to upgrade.

        The version used is important in order to make sure what works for me will also work for you. If you have Dragon 6, and I have Dragon 10, I won't really be much help.

        These are the items you will need to check on and change if needed:

        * Dragon Version

        * Headset - USB only - USB is far superior because it doesn't use your

        computer sound system like analog sets.

        * Computer Speed

        * Dictating Program

        I am currently working with Dragon 10.5 and I speak naturally and Dragon does the rest.

        Now this didn't happen overnight, I had to go through 5 different headsets, upgrade my computer, and train my version of Dragon until it worked properly.

        The first significant change you will realize is with the headset. Use a USB only style. The links are below for both styles I use.

        Next, if your computer has multiple programs running when you are trying to dictate, depending on the speed, it will not perform as you would expect.

        Regardless of what anyone says, Dragon is a memory hog and depending on your computer, you may need an upgrade. If your computer is a 2.8ghz or higher with at least 2gigs of ram, you have plenty of computer speed and memory, and your problem lies somewhere else.

        If you now have a USB headset like one of the units listed below, and your computer is fast enough, you will need to try dictating in different programs such as WordPad, Notepad, or 'NoteTab Light'. These will help you determine whether you have a program issue, or if your Dragon isn't trained properly.

        Once you have eliminated the obvious, it's time to look at training and optimization.

        First off, it's important to know the 'passing level' of your headset when you had originally trained it. You will usually be given a grade of 15 and above.

        You will then need to train your Dragon only using the 'easy training series' of which there are three in version 10.

        Once you have trained your Dragon you will need to run the optimizations.
        Do the following in the order printed:

        Run the Vocabulary Optimizer - Make sure you choose folders that have articles 'you' have written. The more the better because it will adapt to these writing styles.

        Run the Acoustic and Language Module Optimizer - this will take your training and all the information it has collected, and combine them for better speech recognition as well as spoken word anticipation. It will begin to recognize patterns in the way you speak, and soon it will know just what you'll say next because it understands how you talk.

        Each of these processes should be set on automatic to run at least once a week. For heavy users or 10,000 words a day, every two days will suffice. You will find that by using these simple solutions, your Dragon software will perform without issue, and quite frankly - you will find your work to be mistake free.

        "Only run these after you have trained."

        Try some of these and let me know how it's going.

        I am assuming you are using a windows based PC. If not, use what you can.

        Logitech ClearChat Pro USB headset:
        Logitech ClearChat Wireless USB headset:

        Hope this helps!!

        Stephen
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  • Originally Posted by sadiecopywriter
    I love mine. I use it everyday. I'm using it write this. I can't type at all. But I'm a professional writer and it's because of 'dragon' that I'm able to do it fast enough to make a living.
    Miss sadiecopywriter - you have a grammatical error...

    You are right about a quality mic - it can make a lot of difference.

    I had Dragon a few years ago, and I found it terrible to program. I hear it is much better now.

    I have always wondered how it trains for someone with a thick accent or dialect. I was amazed at the difficulty I had initially. I used to do voice-over and dialect coach so I tried it both ways. I spoke as succinctly as possible, with no dialect, yet I still had many mistakes. The mic made a world of difference.

    I use a plantronics .480 with a usb adaptor. It is very portable and has great clarity for the price. (shop it on ebay for good price)
    It is an in-ear phone, so some may find it uncomfortable, but I have used many mics over the years, and find this works great in all applications.

    It is quite delicate though, so you can't knock it around like a gamer headset.

    I use the program provided with vista now, and it works OK, but I should take more time to train it. Re-reading what you have written back into it is good advice.
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  • Profile picture of the author joan2009
    I spend too much time correcting so it didn't work for me. You need to have a good recorder for it to work and you need to train it a lot. I don't have the time to make it work for me so I don't use it
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    • Profile picture of the author Don Schenk
      Originally Posted by joan2009 View Post

      I spend too much time correcting so it didn't work for me. You need to have a good recorder for it to work and you need to train it a lot. I don't have the time to make it work for me so I don't use it
      That's too bad. I am using the latest version, and it is absolutely accurate. I am writing this reply by using Dragon, but I did spend a couple hours training it.

      Like sadiecopywriter, I read through all of the training stories. Then I told Dragon the location on my computer of several articles I have written, and it also used those to train itself. When I tried to use it with files produced by a small voice recorder, the accuracy was low until I trained Dragon to the sound of that voice recorder.

      I trained it to the voice recorder by doing another training with the microphone at the same time I recorded the training. Then I loaded the MP3 from the recorder into my computer and told Dragon to transcribe that file. It was almost 100% accurate.

      I just use the headset/microphone that came with Dragon, or I now use the voice recorder.

      I have used various versions of Dragon over the past four years, and the current version 11.5 is by far the fastest, and the most accurate. I find it has been a good idea to have spent the time training it.

      I am a reasonably fast typist, but I can talk much faster than I type. If I work from an outline when writing articles so I don't get lost, I can easily write more than 2000 words in about an hour, allowing for time to think my way through a new sentence before speaking it.

      :-Don
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      • Profile picture of the author Henry White
        The earlier versions were a royal PITA to "train" and I'm not sure how much of that profile actually carried over into the upgrades, but the current premium edition (11th) was a breeze in comparison!

        Just follow the installation and activation, and study the Quick Reference Card and you should be up and running in 15-20 minutes max.

        Whether you're using a recorder and feeding directly in the software, speak in a normal volume and don't be self-conscious about your articulation/enunciation and don't act as if you were being trained by Professor 'enry 'iggins.

        Mine has already paid for itself a thousand times over - conservatively.
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  • Profile picture of the author jeffrey73
    It has always been TERRIBLE for me, even trying to correct it. It had a mind of it's own and definitely did not want to be fixed! LOL

    It can with a headset too. Definitely not worth it, IMO.

    Originally Posted by EricMN View Post

    For those of you who have delved in this software

    - did it work?
    - was it useful (did it improve productivity etc)?
    - what headset did you buy with it?
    - worth it?

    It seems like a fantastic tool and there are times when typing is just not an option for me but I still need to put words to 'paper'.

    Any help, advice and/or feedback would be great
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    I bought it because I have severe and chronic pain in my neck, shoulders, arms and hands. I use it sometimes and it does help me write an article but the editing takes longer because it doesn't fully understand what I have said. I find it amazing that it actually recognises harder words but not easier ones.

    If you persist, it can be good. I have only just started using it again after a period of not using it and I have forgotten how to do some things so I am trying to find the right info. The training is the hardest part.
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  • Profile picture of the author EricMN
    Thanks for the feedback again, everyone.

    My girlfriend does transcription work for doctors and she hates it and swears it doesn't work, lol. But it seems to me this is a program that can do for you what you want if you just put in the effort.

    To clarify, I am using this as a way to dictate novels. Novels require tedious editing and multiple rewrites anyways, so if it isn't perfect that's okay. I think it will help that I am a native English speaker.

    I definitely won't be using it for final drafts or for any of my copy. It's nice to be able to rattle off ideas while sitting bumper to bumper, though.

    Gonna order it this weekend!
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    • Profile picture of the author sadiecopywriter
      Originally Posted by EricMN View Post

      Thanks for the feedback again, everyone.

      My girlfriend does transcription work for doctors and she hates it and swears it doesn't work, lol. But it seems to me this is a program that can do for you what you want if you just put in the effort.
      I don't know if this is the version your girlfriend has, but they make special Dragons for medical and other technical professions. That's because they pretty much fed it a medical dictionary so it can recognize words other Dragons can't.

      If all she has is the basic home and professional version, you're right, it would be horrible for medical transcription.
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  • Profile picture of the author UMS
    Given that I have an Australian/New Zealand accent, I was surprised just out accurate DNS was out of the box without any training.

    That said, it does take a bit of getting used to dictating as you need to formulate the sentence in your head before speaking it.
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  • Profile picture of the author RunRunRich
    I have used Dragon's Naturally Speaking off and on for the last 10 years. Currently I'm using version 11 which runs flawlessly. Yes, I had to trained it and it did take a little time. I find the best way to use Dragon's is to just let the ideas flow. I spend about 5 to 10 min just saying what's on your mind. After this I just go back and do a little on-the-fly editing. Reread it once or twice and your good to go. I love this program.. I even use their app for the iPhone which took no training. I'm not sure if you can get this for the droid but if you have the iPhone it's a definite must have.

    Important things to consider while using Dragon's is the quality of your mic and the setting which you are using it. I bought myself a nice pair of Logitech headphones with mic for around 60 bucks. PS it works great on Skype. I found that with the quality that comes from Logitech the position of the mic wasn't as important. I believe that the setting which you use it is also important. When I say setting I mean what room of the house or office are using it. I suggest you pick a quiet bedroom or home office with little to no background noise. Also from experience I think that you sometimes get interference from other electrical devices such as refrigerators and microwaves. I found it never works as well when I'm at the kitchen table as opposed to in my office. Anyways with any good tool takes a little tweaking and practice to learn how to use it right. Good luck...
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  • Profile picture of the author Karen Connell
    I had been considering DNS for quite a while but never actually got round to buying - until a few weeks ago.

    I remembered that I had some Amazon Gift Certs that were unused, so I used them to buy DNS. (around $49)

    I love it!

    I have a Lancashire (UK) accent and it understood almost all of my speech without any training.

    As someone has already said, the hardest part was to train myself to speak in full sentances rather than a few words at a time.

    But, practise makes perfect and I'm quite happy to spend a few minutes proofing and doing the very minimal editing required.

    My best gift to myself - so far...

    Will certainly look into using it 'on the fly' via the iphone but will need to learn more about apps:confused: - I'll ask the kids!

    Karen
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    • Profile picture of the author keepitsimple
      I highly recommend it. I have Dragon 10 and it is almost perfect. Only thing I suggest is to use it on a machine with core 2 duo or i series processors otherwise there is too much delay in Dragon typing teh speach which slows things down far too much.

      I run it on a laptop with an i5 and 4 gigs or ram
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  • Profile picture of the author Bruce NewMedia
    I think, short of the PC itself, and the internet, Voice Recognition is the greatest invention ever!

    ...Dragon, imo, is the best. I LOVE it, and unlike some others commenting here, it took no time at all for it to be trained. I write all my ebooks with it, and could not live without...especially since I am a slow typist! I have Dragon 10.
    _____
    Bruce NewMedia
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  • Profile picture of the author sonnyd
    I like DNS. I used to use it all the time. Unfortunately, now my office is near a busy street, and the noise confuses DNS so I can't use it yet.
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  • Profile picture of the author MatthewNeer
    My momma uses that everyday in her Physical Therapy business to get her paper work done. She is a pick n pusher so typing was always a hassle.

    She has had this for years and swears by it!
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  • Profile picture of the author areaman
    If you have Win 7 (or Vista) I would try the built in voice recognition software first. You may find that it works well enough for you without the expense. If I remember correctly (and I may not) Win 7 uses a licensed version of Dragon. Plus by using the Win 7 version you will find out if this something that works for you. It takes a commitment to train voice recognition software and sometimes people don't have the luxury of time or patience to properly train the software.
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    • Profile picture of the author Daniel Evans
      I know the earlier versions were quite bad but it appears from feedback given that the newer versions look quite promising!
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  • Profile picture of the author ddalgleish
    I use DNS 11.5 and it's pretty accurate. Most of the time I use it for getting article ideas jotted down, rather than dictating a completed version of the article.
    From the initial dictation, I can fill in the points, and create the final article, without forgetting any of the points that I wanted to cover.
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  • Profile picture of the author jcruz
    I have the program but have not been putting it to good use. I found it frustrating that you have to teach the program. I found myself spending just as much time correcting it as it would take to just write things out myself.
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    • Profile picture of the author cyberws
      Dragon is awesome! There are really only two things to know:

      1. You absolutely do have to train/teach it - and that requires some patience. If you're not willing to put in that time, don't buy it. How much time? You need to read some text and then the first few dictations will be not-so-great so more training is necessary.

      2. Once it's set up, you can FLY through content-creation. The initial training is a pain but the resultant speed is great.
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  • Profile picture of the author beatlechan
    I've been helping some doctors use dragon for their practice. They all seem to love it and amazed at how accurate it is.

    Key points from those doctors that have been using it for awhile:
    They found that the initial forty hours of using Dragon will be challenging since you will need to "train" it. However, once you get past that, you will see accuracy improve to almost 100%.

    You need to use regularly to maintain that accuracy level.

    Be sure to turn off the microphone when you are not using it. Besides typing up what you may inadvertently say, Dragon start to "learn" these errors and become less accurate.

    Also, speak in a consistent manner, that is, speak how you would normally speak. Dragon is recognizing your speech pattern and not your words so slowing down or breaking up a sentence will make things worse.
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  • Profile picture of the author Amy Harrop
    I have version 10, which is okay, but not stellar. It sounds like the newest version, 11.5 is better than version 10, and I'm wondering if I should upgrade. Anyone notice the difference between the two?
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  • Profile picture of the author stevenjacobs
    Banned
    I have it. It is my life line love it. I hate typing now can type a page 5 min . It is best so
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  • Profile picture of the author ahew
    I have the iphone version. It is amazingly accurate even when I speak quickly. So much better than that piece of crap that gets bundled with Windows 7.
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  • Profile picture of the author helfgott
    That's a really old app, but is really good, you just need to train it as any other voice recognition software.

    You will found a similar stuff in Vista and Windows 7.

    The fact is the Microsoft stuff is much better cuz let you interact with Keyboard and Mouse by voice, i don'tknow if newer versions of Dragon let you to do that.
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    • Profile picture of the author Azarna
      I use Dragon V11 Premium on a daily basis.

      You do have to be patient and give it a few hours of training. You also need to get into 'the groove' and talk in the right way. Not too slow or it won't understand context, which is how it works out that you meant 'too' not 'to' or 'two'. You also have to speak clearly, no mumbling etc, of course.

      Considering I reguarly read genealogical stuff like Victorian and Elizabethan letters to it, it does an amazing job. Often I think it will not get a funny word.. but it does.

      I am a fast typist, but Dragon goes faster, plus I like to use it when writing articles and things as I can sit back and close my eyes and just SAY. I do of course edit properly afterwards, heh

      Also my son finds it entertaining as you have to say the puctuation.

      And this comma as he puts it comma is open quotes very funny exclamation mark close quotes
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      • Profile picture of the author sanjaysharma
        does this software save your voice on computer while you are speaking an article. because if i am speaking in a creative mode than i just go with the flow and when i finished my speaking and check what dragon written than i need my speech. is this facility available in dragon software.

        sanjay sharma
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  • Profile picture of the author CopywritingTony
    Hmm. Has anyone used this for copywriting LOL
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    • Profile picture of the author Azarna
      Yes it does record what you are saying, you can play it back, but I don't know how long it can do this for.

      It can also read things out to you in its 'own voice' anyway.

      I have used it for all sorts of things, I can't see why it would not be eminently suitable for copywriting.
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      • Profile picture of the author CopywritingTony
        Originally Posted by Azarna View Post

        Yes it does record what you are saying, you can play it back, but I don't know how long it can do this for.

        It can also read things out to you in its 'own voice' anyway.

        I have used it for all sorts of things, I can't see why it would not be eminently suitable for copywriting.
        Great, I think I am going to try it out.

        Best Regards,
        Copywriting Tony
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        • Profile picture of the author Barry
          I definitely need to get this software. Can any of you recommend which version does the trick?

          I've seen it on amazon for $60. On their site, there is the basic for $100 and the premium for $200.

          If anyone of you have worked with both versions, can you perhaps let me know if the premium is worth getting.

          Thanks,

          Barry
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  • Profile picture of the author PhilippaWrites
    I use speech recognition software sometimes because I'm disabled and can't always use my hands. I've been using the built-in SRS that came with Windows 7. I've heard great things about Dragon but don't know if it's worth the money when the Windows 7 option isn't that bad.

    Also, Chrome, which I love, is really bad, accessibility-wise. I know Dragon won't be any better with that than the Windows SRS, and that's my main frustration with it really.
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  • Profile picture of the author Fraquelli
    Hello, I wrote 11 technical books for my students.

    It works with a very good mic, a quiet environment, and a sultry and pause tone. If you take the time to train the software and somehow you speak in the same voice range will work excellently.
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