The Power of Dictation - I Love My Dragon

33 replies
For years I have struggled with writing. Not because I cannot write, in fact I'm pretty good at it when I want to be, but because the agony of staring at my work, editing it as I go, not feeling as though the end was in site etc. was overwhelming.

I decided to make a serious effort to empower the microphone and my voice to see whether or not I could produce content without having to literally type it all out.

I just did about 30 or so minutes of dictation, and boom, 3,500 words popped-up on the screen. It's an amazing feeling.

Yes, there is editing to be done. But editing a document that is mostly finished opposed to one that is not, is like comparing apples and oranges. The accuracy is pretty good but again well worth dealing with opposed to having to type it all out.

Here are some of the things I've discovered...

- Have an outline. Without one (just like in "real" writing), it's hard. An outline is like a map - a step-by-step resource. You're no longer wandering aimlessly, you have a defined path and all you have to do is put one foot in front of the other.

- Record to a file (I use Audacity) and have it transcribe the file. I found myself agonizing over corrections and typos when I did it on the screen (I try and do this though every so often so Dragon gets smarter about my speaking).

- Record one section at a time... nothing like doing 30 minutes and realizing something went wrong.

I cannot recommend it enough. No more writers agony...

Good luck!
#dictation #dragon #love #power
  • Profile picture of the author InitialEffort
    What microphone are you using? I had been looking at one by audiotechnica for video recording and article dictation.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3633689].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author TravisVOX
      I bought the Yeti... very nice mic.... more expensive than most mics you'd exepct in the home, but works great.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3633892].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author Tim_Hawksworth
        Thanks for your experience.

        Are you using this system for article writing, blogging or
        are you writing a book ?
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3633947].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author TravisVOX
          Originally Posted by Tim_Hawksworth View Post

          Thanks for your experience.

          Are you using this system for article writing, blogging or
          are you writing a book ?
          Book/report for now...
          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3635174].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Bish
    Thanks for the advice, how long did it take you to train Dragon or is it different now?. I tried it about 10-11 years ago and it sucked. Might try it again.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3636729].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author jamesburchill
      Nice thread. I'm a HUGE fan of Dragon on the Mac. I don't recall which version I have because I simply keep upgrading everytime they offer it

      Anyway, to your point about an outline, I like to use mind maps to help me. Sure you can use a list in notepad or textedit, but I find it stifles my flow.

      And when you stammer or stop in the middle of a sentence, the VR software can make more mistakes than usual since it uses phrase recognition to improve accuracy.

      That being said, I do find using it to be a boon most days. Although I also find "ye olde fashioned" pen and paper work well when I don't feel like being tethered to my desk (or my Macbook).
      Signature
      James Burchill ~ Bestselling Author & Coursepreneur
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3636849].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author TravisVOX
      Originally Posted by Bish View Post

      Thanks for the advice, how long did it take you to train Dragon or is it different now?. I tried it about 10-11 years ago and it sucked. Might try it again.
      I went through their typical training, and anytime you talk and dictate at the same time it corrects and learns.

      I should have wrote originally that you do have to talk clearly... probably a bit more "defined" than your normal conversation. And it's never perfect, but it's certainly good enough!
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3637365].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author jamesburchill
        Originally Posted by TravisVOX View Post

        ... it's never perfect, but it's certainly good enough!
        And it's a great value choice compared to outsourcing to a transcription service. I do this with certain material, it's about $60 per audio hour for a professional job. Turnaround in about 24 to 48 hours.

        So if you don't have the budget, or you need the work fast, the software is an excellent option.

        A final thought, I use it to 'save my wrists and arms'. Some days I spend 14 hours at a computer and by the end of it my forearms feel like they're on fire (or at least glowing red hot!)

        Using Dragon I can avoid this rather uncomfortable situation
        Signature
        James Burchill ~ Bestselling Author & Coursepreneur
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3641381].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author easytext
      Originally Posted by Bish View Post

      Thanks for the advice, how long did it take you to train Dragon or is it different now?. I tried it about 10-11 years ago and it sucked. Might try it again.
      I just bought Dragon 11 and well what can I say!
      I write a lot of content for people here on Warrior Forum and when I feel like giving my fingers a rest, there is nothing better than this.
      I sit back with a cup of tea, have my research open on my laptop and Dragon Speech on my desktop. I speak completely naturally (erms and ahhs have to be edited of course!) and I would say number 11 is 99 percent accurate- even with my Southern British accent.
      Highly recommended and light-years ahead of number 10 even.
      Signature

      Just another website
      http://whichipadtobuy.com/

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3642191].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author Bish
        Originally Posted by easytext View Post

        I just bought Dragon 11 and well what can I say!
        I write a lot of content for people here on Warrior Forum and when I feel like giving my fingers a rest, there is nothing better than this.
        I sit back with a cup of tea, have my research open on my laptop and Dragon Speech on my desktop. I speak completely naturally (erms and ahhs have to be edited of course!) and I would say number 11 is 99 percent accurate- even with my Southern British accent.
        Highly recommended and light-years ahead of number 10 even.
        If it works with a southern British accent I'll probably give it a go (I'm from Bristol). Wheres the best/ cheapest place to get it, what peripherals are required (microphone etc).

        How about talking into IPhone/ Dictaphone when your out and about, then plugging in when you get home, can it transcribe your recording?, anybody use it like this?
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3659331].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author John Henderson
          Originally Posted by Bish View Post

          If it works with a southern British accent I'll probably give it a go (I'm from Bristol)
          The version sold in Britain understands a British accent -- within reason...


          Originally Posted by Bish View Post

          How about talking into IPhone/ Dictaphone when your out and about, then plugging in when you get home, can it transcribe your recording?, anybody use it like this?
          The iPhone/iPod Touch can transcribe your recording using Dragon Dictation software which is free from the iTunes Store...

          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3660024].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Hoodyy
    I've heard that teaching these sort of programs your voice can be a long and tedious task and barely even worth it.

    Your post makes me want to try it out for myself. I can imagine it now, pacing up and down my room talking with a cup of coffee in hand rather than typing frantically at my desk...

    Let's hope this works!
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3641400].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Henry White
      Originally Posted by Hoodyy View Post

      I've heard that teaching these sort of programs your voice can be a long and tedious task and barely even worth it.

      Your post makes me want to try it out for myself. I can imagine it now, pacing up and down my room talking with a cup of coffee in hand rather than typing frantically at my desk...

      Let's hope this works!
      For my first version, years ago, I had to put about 45 minutes into "training" the software, and did have to repeat a few passages

      I'm going to do the same proofreading, editing, and rewriting regardless of how it's generated, so I really couldn't say with certainty how much of this improvement can be directly attributed to the software and how much is conditioning from using it.

      Being free of the mechanics and speed differentials between speech or dictation and manually keyboarding is worth an hour of training the machine - if that's what it takes! (And for maximum freedom and productivity get the upscale edition with digital recorder so you don't have to he tethered to you PC or laptop.)
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3642039].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Charlotte Jay
    I am so glad to hear this. I write for a living, but am not a very fast typist. My computer doesn't have enough RAM for Dragon to run, so I have to upgrade it before I can try it. I've heard nothing but good things about it though.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3641984].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author cypherslock
    Dragon and Yeti FTW. You can get both on eBay for $70 or so each. Wouldn't use anything else.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3642072].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author donhx
    I have been using Dragon Naturally Speaking since version 6 -- now at version 11. I use it every day.

    It used to be difficult to train DNS but all that is gone. You can train it in 30 minutes now. What is difficult to do is training yourself.

    The OP offers excellent tips for doing that. Most people try to just start talking hoping something good will pop out of their mouth. But you really need to do some research on your topic and create an outline. I find it also helps if you act like you're sharing the information with a friend in a conversation rather than just talking into a microphone. When you pretend you are talking with another person, it adds a dynamic dimension to what you're saying/writing.

    One important thing--don't assume you're finished when you are done talking. Your dictation is just the first draft. Good writing never appears in the first draft, whether you are writing by hand, using a keyboard or doing dictation. Seasoned writers understand the importance of editing and polishing their first draft.
    Signature
    Quality content to beat the competition. Personalized Author Services
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3642133].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author easytext
      Originally Posted by donhx View Post

      I have been using Dragon Naturally Speaking since version 6 -- now at version 11. I use it every day.

      It used to be difficult to train DNS but all that is gone. You can train it in 30 minutes now. What is difficult to do is training yourself.

      The OP offers excellent tips for doing that. Most people try to just start talking hoping something good will pop out of their mouth. But you really need to do some research on your topic and create an outline. I find it also helps if you act like you're sharing the information with a friend in a conversation rather than just talking into a microphone. When you pretend you are talking with another person, it adds a dynamic dimension to what you're saying/writing.

      One important thing--don't assume you're finished when you are done talking. Your dictation is just the first draft. Good writing never appears in the first draft, whether you are writing by hand, using a keyboard or doing dictation. Seasoned writers understand the importance of editing and polishing their first draft.
      I like the advice you give when using the Dragon. It's almost like acting in front of an audience I feel. When people type they have more time to actually think about what they are saying so the Dragon can really throw people of the first few times. Dragon 11 requires minimal training but maybe the users do! Plan what you are going to talk about first and talk like you are speaking to a friend and you will save much more time than if you simply try to speak off the top of your head- Plus I don't think clients would really appreciate spending their money on people who can't be bothered to spend time researching their material! Nice to share opinions about the Dragon.
      Signature

      Just another website
      http://whichipadtobuy.com/

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3642251].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author bobsstuff
    I just purchased Dragon 11 for $50. Local MegaStore, "Frys" matched the price of a vendor on Amazon (I love stores that match prices). I did the basic out of the box training and its accuracy amazed me.

    It had a hard time with "by" "bye" and "buy", but in a sentence with more context it understood those words better. The recognition by context is amazing.

    I just got started so I only have a day's experience, but I am a happy Dragon owner. When I bought it my wife thought I should also buy the movie, "How to train your dragon" LOL
    Signature
    Bob Hale
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3642266].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    For people looking for a free alternative, check out Windows Speech to Text. It's free and comes with just about all modern versions of Windows.

    A big key for it is to do the training over and over. But if you spend a couple of hours on the training, understand the basic commands and have a decent mike, I think it works really well.
    Signature
    Discover the fastest and easiest ways to create your own valuable products.
    Tons of FREE Public Domain content you can use to make your own content, PLR, digital and POD products.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3659413].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Rezbi
    I haven't read every reply, but do you have to have a separate microphone, or will the webcam one do if it's decent quality?

    I've avoided this type of software as I've never been keen on 'training' it for my voice.

    I'll have to give it a go now that it's upgraded.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3660169].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author John Henderson
      Originally Posted by Rezbi View Post

      I haven't read every reply, but do you have to have a separate microphone, or will the webcam one do if it's decent quality?
      I don't know about the effectiveness of webcam mics; I bought this headset to go with my dictation software...
      Sennheiser PC 131 Skype - Over-The-Head Binaural:...Sennheiser PC 131 Skype - Over-The-Head Binaural:...
      Originally Posted by Rezbi View Post

      I've avoided this type of software as I've never been keen on 'training' it for my voice.
      I wasn't looking forward to it either, but the dictation software gives you some text to read and you just keep reading it out until it says "Okay, I can recognise your voice now" -- which took me less than 10 minutes (using MacSpeech Dictate).
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3660246].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author Rezbi
        Originally Posted by John Henderson View Post

        I don't know about the effectiveness of webcam mics; I bought this headset to go with my dictation software...
        Sennheiser PC 131 Skype - Over-The-Head Binaural: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics


        I wasn't looking forward to it either, but the dictation software gives you some text to read and you just keep reading it out until it says "Okay, I can recognise your voice now" -- which took me less than 10 minutes (using MacSpeech Dictate).
        I was afraid you'd say something like that.

        Sennheiser's are good, though. That's why they cost so much.

        But I need a new one so it's probably about time.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3660427].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Bish
    Thanks John
    Not quite in the Vicky Pollard category but you know what these west country accents are like.
    Cheers
    Mark
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3661335].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author jamesburchill
      Originally Posted by Bish View Post

      Thanks John
      Not quite in the Vicky Pollard category but you know what these west country accents are like.
      Cheers
      Mark
      LOL, well my family's from Bristol too. Then I lived in Africa for a few years in the 80's and then Australia in the early 90's, finally settling in Canada in 1994. Can you imagine how mangled my accent is? The good news is (a) I still get paid as a public speaker and (b) I was able to teach Dragon to capture my words almost perfick
      Signature
      James Burchill ~ Bestselling Author & Coursepreneur
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3665316].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Ralf Skirr
    I tried it several times, the recognition rate of the current version is amazing, especially when I think back a few years.

    But I find it really hard to get used to dictating the punctuation.

    Ralf
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3665526].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Michael Oksa
    I just got a new computer yesterday. I have never used DNS before, but decided to pick up the newest version.

    I love it!

    It took about ten minutes to train it the first time, and I would say it had about 95% accuracy right out of the box. There are a few things I still need to learn, but all-in-all, it's a winner!

    To be honest, I'm having a much harder time getting used to the different keyboard layout.



    All the best,
    Michael
    Signature

    "Ich bin en fuego!"
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3666076].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author success1618
    Has anyone used macspeek and dragon dictate, I guess I have the original it works ok. But the inaccuracy is really low. I also don't have a mic, but when I get sentences that I can't even decipher what they are it is discouraging to use.
    Signature

    Master all financial markets worldwide, learn the cutting edge secrets and pain saving techniques of the Trading Harmonically Methodology :

    http://tradingharmonically.com/blog/

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3666320].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author gslauen
    Would sure save a lot of typing time.
    Signature

    I started out with nothing and I still have most of it.
    http://redalligatormarketing.com

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3667664].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Michael Oksa
      Originally Posted by gslauen View Post

      Would sure save a lot of typing time.
      Being habitually laconic doesn't hurt either.



      All the best,
      Michael
      Signature

      "Ich bin en fuego!"
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3667698].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author stephfoster
    Nice. Glad to hear that Dragon keeps improving. I keep debating whether to get it for my MacBook or for myWinXP machine. I suspect I'll end up getting it for Mac, just because I like the flexibility and the machine is significantly newer.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3668216].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author mikeroosa
    With Dragon, can it work from an mp3 file that I have recorded or do I need to be speaking into the headset?
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3747098].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author mojojuju
      Originally Posted by mikeroosa View Post

      With Dragon, can it work from an mp3 file that I have recorded or do I need to be speaking into the headset?
      You can use either.
      Signature

      :)

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3747314].message }}

Trending Topics