Product Review: Dragon Naturally Speaking
by C.S. Clarke, Ph.D.
I have been using Dragon Naturally Speaking to write articles, reviews, webpages and blogs for about a week now. This will be the first time that I've actually published anything using the program because I wanted the first item that I published to be this review.
If you do any extensive amount of writing, I highly recommend this program to you. It simply works. Right out of the box. Without any special training of the software to recognize my voice. (Of course, training the program will improve its performance.) This program alone makes it worth my while to have a Windows partition on my Mac Intel, and I plan to use it frequently. I have tried Mac-specific dictation programs and have generally been dissatisfied with them. Dragon Naturally Speaking simply blows me away.
If you get this program be sure to take the tutorials. They are easy to understand, quick to complete and make the program easy to use. The program itself may not need particular special training but the user does need a little.
Also, please note that most people need a little time to become used to dictation. It is really quite different from simply speaking to another person, and becoming good at dictation is an art. It has been a while since I have done extensive dictation and I'm finding that I have to relearn the process in order to be effective. And using a dictation program is different from using tape or digital recorders. Be patient. After you get the hang of it, you will be able to speed right along. And remember, although using dictation is much faster and more efficient than typing, you still have to proof-read your work.
(p.s. In some versions, you can record to a digital recorder and simply play back to the computer later. So you can dictate anywhere, any time!)