- Mixing typing and dictating
- Dragon Dictate | Reviews | MacUpdate
- Dragon Dictate
- Why Use Dictation Software?
- Nuance Dragon Professional Individual for Mac 6.0 review: Better performance and accuracy
Recently, I had a chance to test version 1. In the box you get two installation discs and a noise-cancellation microphone headset by Plantronics that uses USB audio, which has an adjustable band if you have a big head like me. After going through the installation procedure, you are asked to train the software so that it becomes familiar with your voice. You can create separate profiles for separate voices. The training process itself is really simple.
You just need to say a few sentences displayed on the screen and you are done.
Mixing typing and dictating
It usually takes no more than five minutes if you follow the startup instructions and speak clearly into it. You can take up the training process as many times as you like once you have successfully installed the software. For creating a profile, you can choose between different spelling styles and accents. For this particular review, I used the Indian accent.
Dragon Dictate | Reviews | MacUpdate
Here, it shows which mode you are using, how loud you are speaking, the last phrase you just spoke, and so on. You must also be aware that speech recognition works differently than speaking to a normal person. They can easily understand in what context is a word is used but with speech recognition, you tend to make mistakes. However, every time you correct the mistake, the software learns more and more about the way you speak, which really helps. This application has four modes — dictation mode, spelling mode, command mode and sleep mode. You can switch between different modes just by saying the name of the mode.
Out of these, the most used are obviously the dictation and spelling mode, which as I highlighted above work pretty well, if you speak clearly. The more you use it, the better it gets. You can even add some words that you commonly use to its vocabulary.
You can either use the built-in text pad or use it with any other application. However, using it with other applications, like web browsers, is a pain due to the weak command mode. Even though the application as a whole works nicely, the command mode seems a bit unfinished. For years the leading solution has been Dragon Dictate Professional for Mac but the developer Nuance dropped a bombshell in October that it was discontinuing the product. Dragon Dictate Professional still delivers by far the best voice recognition in the industry.
The main reason is the Windows version has always been better than the Mac version anyway with more features,. There are also a few web-based voice recognition software that Mac users can use but they require a permanent internet connection in order to work. We have therefore also covered the best online voice-to-text recognition apps that Mac users can use in this article too.
The reason Dragon Professional Individual is our number one pick is the amazing accuracy and sophistication it offers compared to any other solution. The difference between Dragon Professional and most voice recognition software is that it can actually learn to recognize your voice. As it becomes more familiar with your accent and speaking style, it interprets your voice remarkably accurately. It also has Smart Format Rules which understand how you want phone numbers, dates, abbreviations and other data to appear.
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Another nice touch is that you can import audio clips from a device such as your iPhone and Dragon Professional will transcribe it into text. This is especially useful for journalists who have to record and transcribe long interviews.
Why Use Dictation Software?
The downside is that, as mentioned earlier, Dragon decided in late to discontinue the Mac version. There are various ways to do this but the easiest and most reliable by far is by using Parallels. Parallels allows you to run macOS and Windows at the same time so that you can switch between the two with ease. You then simply install the Windows version of Dragon Professional within your Windows environment and you can use it anytime on your Mac.
This is actually a better solution than using the Mac version anyway because the Windows version gives you slightly more control when tweaking and refining texts compared to on Mac. Note that you can choose between installing the Home Edition and Professional Edition but we strongly recommend going with Dragon Professional Edition , not least because it allows you to dictate in Microsoft Office and other apps.
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What we like about Dictation on macOS is that when you activate Enhanced Dictation , you can dictate offline without being connected to the internet. Be aware though that this requires MB of disk space to download some additional tools before it can work on your Mac. You then simply configure a language and hotkey to start dictation or you can even activate it with a keyword.
You can use this to start dictation in any application. Dictation works with any app including Office applications although not Google Docs which has its own voice recognition feature — see below. What we like is that the voice controlled formatting commands are quite extensive and you can even create your own customized commands. Not many people are aware that Google Docs has a surprisingly powerful voice recognition engine which not only transcribes speech to text but also allows you to change the formatting of documents with voice commands.
Google Docs Voice Typing is pretty accurate for a free online text-to-speech tool. Arguably the most impressive thing though is the an extensive list of commands for formatting text. Note however that formatting commands are only available in English but the voice engine recognizes 43 languages. Speechnotes is a cheap and cheerful online speech-to-text service which works in Google Chrome and on Android devices. One other option which may be of interest to Mac users is Rev. Rev is an iPhone dictation app which uses real humans to transcribe recordings. Rev is only available as an iPhone or Android app though.
Another option is Braina.
Braina is both a Siri style personal assistant and dictation app although it only works on Windows, iOS and Android. However, if you install Windows on your Mac, you could run the Windows version on it. However, you can ask Siri to turn on Apple Dictation for you.
Siri is designed as a personal assistant to launch apps, answer questions and generally speed-up your workflow on a Mac rather than dictation. The best option for you obviously depends on whether you want to wear something on your head, walk around, or just speak into a mic next to your Mac. If you like to walk around, buy a Wireless Headset but just be careful with the range as it can vary wildly depending on the model.
If you prefer not to wear something, Microphones deliver just as good results although you may find yourself craning over the desktop ones more than sitting up straight like you can with a headset. It can feel strange at first talking to a computer and hearing the sound of your own voice constantly.
Nuance Dragon Professional Individual for Mac 6.0 review: Better performance and accuracy
These are the best voice recognition tools available for Mac users. As you can see, the options are very limited by without doubt, Dragon Dictate Professional still leads by a mile. If you have any thoughts, experiences or suggestions regarding them, leave them in the comments below.
If you want other ideas to speed up your workflow, you may also find our look at the best OCR scanning and PDF conversion software for Mac useful too as they save valuable time retyping text locked in PDFs, images , newspapers and other documents.