/// A Dragon That Takes Dictation and Controls a Mac by Voice

October 10, 2012  |  All Things Digital


I am writing these words—without touching a key. I’m dictating them into a word processor on a laptop. To do this, I’m using a very versatile program that not only allows me to dictate text but to correct it, delete it, and format it, all with my voice. [ See post to watch video ] This software enables me to perform other tasks on the computer by just talking. I can launch and close applications. I can search the Web and jump directly to Web pages using only my voice. I can address, compose and send emails. And I can even dictate and post status messages to Facebook and Twitter. The product that’s letting me do all this is the latest in the software line called Dragon. In particular, I’m using the newest Dragon dictation software for the Mac, called Dragon Dictate 3. Dragon’s maker, Nuance Communications Inc., has for years focused on the Windows platform. In fact, it released a new version for Windows, called Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12, in July. But with Dragon Dictate 3, which launched last month, Nuance has finally brought its Mac version nearly up to speed with the Windows version. Dragon Dictate uses a small window to show its status and often displays two larger windows, one with available commands and one with alternate spellings Despite some feature differences, the two versions use the same improved voice-recognition engine, so the company said my experience on the Mac would be a good indicator of its Windows product’s performance. I chose to test the Mac version because it can finally do some things formerly limited to Windows, such as selecting a single word by voice for correction or deletion or formatting. Based on my tests, I can say that Dragon Dictate 3, and by extension Dragon NaturallySpeaking, are quite accurate. However, this is old-school software. By that I mean it’s relatively costly, at $200, and requires time to learn how to use. It could take weeks or months to remember and master the specific wording of each of the many commands. For example, you need to say “File Open” as it won’t respond to “Open File.” So you’d need a good reason to make that investment in money and time.

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A Dragon That Takes Dictation and Controls a Mac by Voice



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