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on June 1, 2012
I'm only supposed to do 300 or so words, so I can't really get into it as much as it deserves. I'm only writing this much stuff to give people the mind boggling amount of serious problems.

Here's a brief summary: incessant crashes, increasingly poor accuracy (I create brand new profiles regularly because the new ones work better than the "trained" ones.) An infuriating insistence on adding "it," "is," "on," etc. at the beginning and end of a depressingly high percentage of transcribed chunks. Dividing into chunks smack in the middle of the word (even if there's plenty of silence in the chunk to make a clean break.) Bizarre refusal to recognize constantly used words (I'm a music journalist, and it won't come up with the word "band" to save it's life... that's a bit of an issue.) Tendency to come up with bizarre word suggestions instead of much more reasonable and common words (it once put "exacerbated" in place of "accelerated," and not one of the 10 proposed corrections had the correct word... every single one used "exacerbated.")

OK, new paragraph: if you edit in the display window instead of the correction choice window, it will eventually (fairly quickly, actually) fail to accurately display and/or play each subsequent chunk. Once a chunk is edited it will no longer play the relevant audio. There are no quick keys to choose a correction option in the unlikely event one of them is correct, and when you make a correction, you still have to click the button (which again, has no quick key:) This means you have to have one hand on the mouse most of the time (a big time waster when you have to type this much.) Increasingly less accurate as the sound file goes on (I work in 10 minute chunks to avoid this and a multitude of other issues... it doesn't always work.) Increasingly more likely to crash as the sound file gets longer (and it doesn't read MP3s...huh?!??!) Often, when it crashes (not if...when) it's pretty much broken until you manually delete all preferences and the dictionary (which are scattered throughout the computer) and reinstall. Opens your mail program, creates an email, and opens the crash report folder in your finder every single time it crashes (which I find arrogant and infuriating.) Has laughable "support" (as in none. At all.) No documentation that lets you know that you can use terms like "open quote," "close quote," etc. (I have no idea how many things of that nature I have yet to discover.)

OK... I count twelve serious, major problems up there, and no, that's not all of them. I'm stuck with it due to dyslexia, but it BARELY edges out my often horribly messy and error prone typing in terms of time spent. If you're not saddled with that issue, you're much, much better off just typing it out. Do a search on reviews. Every one is absolutely awful, except for a handful that sound suspiciously like press releases. And oh yes, my Mac Mini (with maxed out RAM) is less than a month old.

500-ish words. I'll stop there. I could continue. Easily.
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on December 22, 2013
Right now, this product is showing "unavailable," and I hope it stays that way. I'm only posting this in case it comes back, to save others the hassle. (I purchased straight from Nuance website.) Here's my breakdown:

1. It will not accept MP3 files, despite their being the most common audio format. You need to convert them. Not a super big deal for me, but something some people won't be able to do, and ridiculous since MP3s are so common.

2. Many, many crashes during training process, which leads to lost "training" and appears to make the software even worse at recognizing the speech.

3. Files must be of a certain bit-rate quality, which (as with format conversion) many people may not know how to do or convert to.

4. After literally HOURS of "training" the software, it produced no improved results, with the transcription being 75-90% useless. And let me tell you, the training process is tedious. (It does a test transcription, and you go in a type-correct all of its errors.) Ironically, as I mentioned above, the software was worse after training, though I don't know if this was because of the crashes. However, what difference does that make in the end?

5. My guess, from my experience and reading others', is that you should definitely NOT buy this software if you only have 2-3 hours of audio to transcribe and don't expect any more in the future. The money and time you'll spend on this would be better put toward paying a human transcriptionist (approx. $1 per audio minute).

6. Simply don't expect this thing to do with well natural speech, despite all the maker's promises. I'm guessing that it MIGHT do okay, with all the hours of training, if you were to dictate your own audio files in a slow and steady speech. However, the product's main promise (compared to Dragon and dictation) is that it will transcribe audio files -- implying that you can use it for files you already have!! In my case, all I wanted was to transcribe a few hours of interviews between two people... good, clean, simple audio that's high quality. But this software can't hack it.

7. Tech support sucks. Not available except during business hours, and the online support is nearly useless. The customer forums are mostly people desperately trying to help each other with an actual Nuance employee rarely to be involved. Blind leading the blind, most of the time. Not surprisingly, however, Nuance has SALES support people available via chat and phone 24/7. That should've been a red flag for me.

8. NO TRIAL VERSION. You have to buy and hope for your money back if it doesn't work. Luckily, I got the download version, so they should be able to deactivate it easily enough, to know I'm not continuing to use it.

My ONLY recommendation for buying this software is if you meet the following conditions:

-- You have many hours of existing audio speech you need transcribed.

-- You have the time to put into training the software... hours.

-- The speech in your audio is very clear, crisp, fairly slow, and good English; i.e., it's basically a dictation.

-- Your audio contains one person at a time. Even two people (interview) appears to screw this thing up.

-- You do not expect results that will be any better than 75-80%, despite these best conditions.

-- You are fully prepared to do some serious proofreading and editing, IF you want a polished final result. (This is true, however, for most voice-to-text software.)

And even after all these conditions, you still may not get what you're expecting.
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on June 30, 2012
This software (v1.1.1) continually crashes during training and use. Nuance appears to be unable to resolve the problem despite receiving all of the requested technical details related to the crashes.
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