Top positive review
8 people found this helpful
one of my favorite programs
on April 9, 2014
I've been using Dragon NaturallySpeaking since version 3. Many people try this program and almost immediately stop using it. when I first began using it years ago I did the same thing. I would put it on my computer system, go through a lengthy "training" process to teach it how I speak. The training process teaches it how you pronounce different words and it used to take about an hour. While there is still a training period it now takes roughly 5 min. in the past even after training the program to recognize your voice through that hour-long process it would still make many mistakes. And like most people I just got frustrated and uninstalled it.
If I gave this five stars you know there has to be a bright side coming. :-)
One day, back in version 3, I decided I was going to use it no matter what. And I'm glad I did. What frustrates people the most about using voice dictation software is that it's not 100% correct all the time. Now a big "however". However, when the program makes a mistake (and it holds true right up to the newest version) instead of getting frustrated all you have to do is correct the mistake. Teach the program what you wanted it to type as opposed to what it did. Once you do that it usually doesn't make the same mistake again. As an example, I have a medical condition called Ménière's disease. I guarantee you the word Ménière's is not in any standard dictionary that computer uses. So the very first time I was dictating a letter and said the word Ménière's the computer typed the words "many ears". Coincidently, Ménière's disease does happen to be a problem with the inner ear but the term many ears isn't certainly what I was looking for.
To correct the error went like this: say to the computer "select many ears", then say "spell that" and a dialog box pops up and all you do is speak into the microphone and spell the word correctly. In my case it was to say "cap m e n i e r e ' s", say the words "click train" and the computer automatically clicks a button labeled train and then you speak the word that you just spelled and it enters it into its dictionary. And it will then replace the incorrect spelling with the correct one automatically and you can continue dictating.
When people read this in the manual that is usually what deters them from using the program. I like everyone else thought I was going to be spending all my time saying that entire paragraph to correct a word. Also like everyone else I thought I didn't have the time. The thing is, to actually perform the actions that I described in the previous paragraph actually takes less than 15 seconds and once you do but you don't have to do it ever again.
I have created a website dedicated to information on Ménière's disease so the term Ménière's came up constantly. After the first time it made the mistake of spelling Ménière's as many ears it never made the mistake again. Being a website dedicated to a rare medical condition I used the term Ménière's probably 100 to 120 times. Like I said, after correcting it the first time it never made the mistake of misspelling Ménière's again. In this review alone I've used the word Ménière's at least 6 to 8 times. This review is being dictated through Dragon NaturallySpeaking. If you do see a mistake in any of the words in this review it's due to my laziness, not the program. I say that because besides just speaking into a microphone and watching the words appear on screen you can even use the program in another way to check what you've written (or what it's written).
Both the premium and the home versions of this program have the ability to read what has been typed out loud. The only reason I'm not doing it is because I'm starting to run late for an appointment and lost track of time. So there isn't time to have it read the entire review back to me and listen for errors. But once more, if you read this back to me and there was an error all he would have to do is go back and correct it and it wouldn't happen again.
When I started using this program it was for work purposes but I didn't think much of it when I stopped using it because I typed 111 words per minute accurately. What can I say, I did a lot of typing so my speed just naturally built up. Another however coming. However, now I have osteoarthritis and not only do I type very slowly but it's very painful. Using NaturallySpeaking once I start the program I don't have to touch the keyboard. It even has an entire set of commands for several of the most common web browsers so you can use it to surf the Internet as well. And that is also in either the Home or Premium versions of this program. As of today (April 9, 2014) Amazon is selling the previous version (11) for an extremely reduced price. While I purchased the Premium 12 version for a few extra features I found I really don't use them so I went back and purchased two copies of version 11 (I have multiple computers). As THE final note, which ever version of the program you by, it also comes with a plug-in headset. I didn't feel like sitting a few feet from my computer – which is the length of the cable to the headset – so I simply purchased a wireless one for $20. But you do have everything you need to get started right out of the box.
Would I recommend it? I own four copies… you guess…