Let me give you the bottom line first: I’m writing this to recommend you try a voice-recognition program. I’m using Dragon Dictate for dictation and voice command on my Mac, but I’ve also tried it’s older brother, Dragon NaturallySpeaking on Windows, and recommend each program for its respective platform. For those of you who do a lot of writing, it could increase your productivity considerably.
Yesterday, I got the newest version of MacSpeech Dictate. It’s now called Dragon Dictate. Dictate is a program based on the Dragon Naturally Speaking engine — an engine that originally was exclusive to Windows users. And MacSpeech ported the engine into it’s own voice-recognition program on Mac. Dragon NaturallySpeaking is owned by Nuance and recently Dictate became part of the Nuance family as well.
Several years ago, before a good dictation program was available for the Mac, I bought the Dragon NaturallySpeaking program for Windows and used it in a Boot Camp partition on my Mac. And I was very pleased with it. (In fact, you can read my old review of it at http://superperformance.com/dragonreview.php.) But if you know Mac users, you’ll be well aware that we prefer to have a Mac version of a program available to us.
Even though a program that is ported from one platform to another is seldom perfect, this program does a very respectable job. I admit that it does have some conflicts and some temperamental quirks, but most of the problems seem to be with the user needing to know how to use a dictation program. (And most of the probable conflicts are with Preference Panes that are not necessary to the functioning of programs other than haxies.) It is very like learning how to dictate into a tape recorder in a way that a human transcriber can make sense of. So while the program needs some “training” to begin with, it’s the user that needs the most training.
I’ve been working with MacSpeech Dictate since it was first published, replacing iListen, and now that it is Dragon Dictate I’m pleased to see that it has been considerably improved. I think that I have solved my initial problems with the program. Enough in fact that I used it to write this post. If the problems that I had at first reappear or new problems pop pop I’ll keep you updated.
In the meantime, if you want to check it out for yourself, just go to http://www.nuance.com/for-individuals/by-product/dragon-for-mac/index.htm, or, if you are on a PC, check out http://www.nuance.com. I don’t think they have a demo, but they do have a 30-day money-back guarantee.
(Complete disclosure: I am not an affiliate. No one paid me to talk about this product. I’m just talking about my own experience with the product. Every user is different, so your experience might be different. And, I did edit this by hand, primarily to correct my own punctuation, add a couple of comments and clarify my ideas.)