a review by Tom Piper
Tired of typing? Need a break from the mouse? Want to step away from touching the screen? Yearn to just talk to your computer and have it transcribe every word at normal talking speed? There is a terrific product to give you this freedom.
In April 2010, I did a review of MacSpeech Scribe which, at that time, was the world’s most advanced personal transcription solution for the Macintosh. With the acquisition of MacSpeech by Nuance Communications, Dragon Dictate has now replaced Scribe as the new leader in Mac transcription. As their website says, “. . . with Dragon Dictate for Mac, (you can) accomplish more than you ever imagined possible. Input text just by speaking – up to three times faster than typing – and interact with your favorite Mac applications using only your voice. With Dragon Dictate you can produce reports, e-mail, articles, books, research notes, online content, and more — quickly, easily, and accurately. You’ll get more done faster with less stress and more success — at home, at work, or wherever life takes you. Dragon Dictate provides amazing accuracy and requires just minutes of training to get started – it’s Simply Smarter Speech Recognition.” Here are a few of the features:
- Instead of a keyboard, use your voice to produce text. Speak your thoughts, then watch your words appear on screen in your favorite Mac applications (at up to three times faster than typing) with an astounding recognition accuracy rate of up to 99% right out of the box.
- Dragon Dictate for Mac keeps up with your brain. Transform ideas into text at the speed of thought, and start being creative and productive with only your voice -- don’t let typing get in the way of your ideas or productivity.
- Control your Mac in a relaxed, hands-free manner without being tied to your keyboard. Instead of using your mouse, just speak commands to launch and control applications. Move the cursor or click anywhere on screen simply by voice.
- Tell your Mac what to do, like “Reply To This Message” or “Open Microsoft® Word” or “Jump To Google” to work faster and smarter. Create voice commands that automate complex workflows on your Mac.
- Create a digital world, powered by your own voice. Customize Dragon Dictate for Mac with personal vocabulary and voice commands that reflect the kind of work you do.
- Dragon Dictate for Mac was built to give users the experience we expect from our favorite Macintosh applications - an intuitive, easy-to-use interface that dramatically boosts productivity. What’s more, Dragon Dictate for Mac works with our favorite Apple applications, including Mail, iChat, iCal, TextEdit, Pages, Safari and many more.
- Dragon Dictate is a very powerful product. I’m using it to write part of this review, and it has not made a mistake yet. The speed is incredible, as it produces text a whole line at a time. The transcription products before this one were very good, but this one is just plain incredible. The initial training for Dragon Dictate to learn my voice only took 5 minutes. if you need a program to do transcription on your Macintosh computer, this is the best software that you will ever find.
Dragon Dictate 2.0 can be acquired for $179.99 (electronic download), $199.99 (boxed shipment with standard headset), or $299.99 (boxed shipment with wireless headset) by going to http://www.nuance.com/talk/challenger.asp where any of the other products can also be considered. If you already own MacSpeech Dictate, you may upgrade for $49.99. Amazon.com also has the boxed version available for as little as $139.99. Dragon Dictate requires an Intel-based Macintosh and Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard or later, Internet connection for registration, and Nuance-approved USB microphone. With a long history of dependable performance with Dragon Naturally-Speaking in the PC world, Nuance also provides Forums to acquire and exchange information, plus social network interfaces for Facebook, Twitter and others.
I have used MacSpeech products for number of years with great success. In addition to the regular tethered headset that came with Dragon Dictate, I have also purchased the high-quality Plantronics Calisto bluetooth headset that allows me to walk up to 30 feet away from my computer (wandering improves my thinking). This has really helped me achieve my goal of getting away from traditional computer tools to be more creative, and have fun doing it. I highly recommend this tool for your productivity and enjoyment.
Incidentally, if you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, then Dragon dictation is available for free from Nuance Communications. This is a terrific app which records your voice, sends it to a remote voice recognition application powered by Dragon Naturally-Speaking, and returns editable text to your screen.