It claims that its dictation feature allows you to work two to three times faster than typing. For that to be true, it needs to translate your speech to text accurately. As its own website points out, though, doing so with complete accuracy is still a pipe dream. The subscription also means you can always take advantage of the latest version of its software. As a paid service, though, the onus is on Transcribe to deliver.
With its competitors mostly failing to provide anything in the way of stiff competition, though, the bar has not been set high. After signing up, we got a brief tour with a pop-up explaining a few tools and controls. We then headed for the dictate button, eager to see what Transcribe would make of our rambling. We began with Oliver. It started by getting eight consecutive sentences percent correct.
The first mistake came when we got overconfident and started belting out words at speed, but it got things right when we went back and repeated ourselves more slowly. Compared to Windows, Speechnotes and Google, Transcribe is way ahead ahead and it edges past Siri in reliability.
It may also be useful for recording meetings or conversations in situations where you only need rough notes or are happy to go back and correct errors later.
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Transcribe is browser-based, but dictation only works in Chrome. We looked at Dragon NaturallySpeaking last, which is the most expensive of this list. We tested the cheapest version, Home, on our PC. Setup is an ordeal, with awkward download links and a serial number that needs to be entered in five different fields without allowing users to paste the whole thing in at once.
Taking a look at the install options, we found several English modules available. You can pick from Australian, Canadian, U. It got confusing when choosing our region and accent, though.
Dragon NaturallySpeaking Reviews and Pricing -
If we selected the U. Travelers that set their region to their location without checking carefully might not realize they can tune Dragon to their accent, which seems like a blunder from a usability perspective. Assuming that our U. There were advanced options to select our vocabulary type, but only large was available. You can choose the speech acoustic model, too, but it only offers a previous version of the default BestMatch V.
On start-up, we were given the option of launching in trial mode, despite not finding a free trial link on the website, or activating the product, which we chose. It asked us to read some text to confirm our microphone worked. Dragon was so confident, it cut us off halfway through, letting us move on to the tutorial.
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The tutorials looked clumsy, but were better when it came to content. Doing so took two attempts. From that point forward, it got everything right, including some complex punctuation and numeric input. Since we were only saying what it told us to, though, we reserved our judgment. At one point, a pop-up appeared to tell us what we said was not recognizable. We wondered if it was really our fault. Another pop-up offered to install a browser extension for us.
56 thoughts on “Dragon for Mac Goes from Zero to Hero – But Is It Too Late?”
Some may find these pop-ups helpful, others may consider them an irritant. After jumping through all these hoops, Dragon is a breeze to use. Its menu bar sits at the top of the screen and has a big red microphone to click when you want to switch it on. The menu bar is well-designed and gives you access to many useful features. Dragon allows you to select user profiles, which is helpful if you have people with different accents using the same machine.
It can analyze your vocabulary by looking at user-selected documents, meaning you can train it with data that reflects your personal use of language. You can also view a recognition history to see if there is anything Dragon gets wrong frequently. It has a raft of help features, too.
There is a performance assistant and several help and support options. The website includes a wealth of documentation, but it seems scattershot. There is also a knowledgebase, so if you need support, there a lot of options. When browsing through this we learned that only one user per machine is permitted , so taking advantage of the multiple profile feature is going to be costly.
They are listed so you can pick them by number if you see the one you want. Five minutes later, we had our answer.
Dragon is jaw-dropping when it comes to its core feature of recognizing what you say. Take a look at our dictation test results. It is a nice way to learn about the software, especially when starting out. Basic dictation is simple and can be used without assistance, though. We had fun testing these tools and exposing their limitations.
In OS X Mavericks, you now have the option of downloading a file that supports offline dictation.
Best Speech-to-Text Software: Dictating Results
That causes the file to download. Now, when you press the Fn key twice and start speaking, the words appear on screen as you speak. The feature works anywhere on the Mac that you can enter text, no training or customization necessary. Just press the key and start talking. Overall, I really like the feature. With my Retina MacBook Pro, the two microphones are so good that I can even dictate without first donning a headset microphone a traditional requirement for dictation.
When I first started dictating, you … had … to … talk … like … this … leaving … a … space … between … each … word. My usual tool is Dragon Dictate for Mac. How will it compare to Dragon? Note that, while Apple has never stated publicly where it got the technology behind Siri dictation, I strongly suspect it is Nuance, the same company that publishes Dragon Dictate.
And so I decided to put the two dictation systems to the test. The differences were striking. Just using the two products is a different experience. You can see a list of these applications here. Dragon 6 was designed in such a way that if a new application supports the accessibility framework it can automatically allow you to dictate and type, and insert text quickly.
Nuance has long recommended that one use a microphone designed for speech recognition, and, in the past, I did so.
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The results with this microphone are nearly as good as what I have seen in the past with microphones specifically designed for speech recognition. My only criticism of this version of Dragon is the price. For non-professional users, this is a pretty steep price, and is likely the most expensive app on their Macs. Instead of leaning over my keyboard, I sit back, relax, and talk to my Mac. And my words appear on screen. Dragon's speech recognition is so powerful and accurate that it will change the way you use your Mac.
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