Tips on Speech Recognition Software

Harold_noack The advice is pouring in from all points about using speech recognition software.

Harold Noack, an attorney in Boise, Idaho, told me he has used Dragon NaturallySpeaking and says it's especially demanding. "Especially memory. Dragon NaturallySpeaking is memory demanding I use 1000 MB of RAM," he said.

I have 512K and have called my trusty tech support goddess to double what I've got. Harold said an aspect of great importance is the quality of the microphone you use. The microphone shipped with Dragon is of inferior quality, according to him. He said he alternates between two excellent quality microphones:

  • A Sennheiser MD 431 II which is a boom microphone and costs about $400-$500.
  • A Sennheiser M E 3 which is a headset microphone that costs about $140.

He said to really get serious about this, I should go to the professional Dragon software. It has certain features as far as doing macros etc. that the preferred does not have. Unfortunately, the professional version was not on sale.

"Dragon Naturally Speaking is one of the most complex software. It is very frustrating to use. Just imagine the confusion between for,4, fore and four. Or take their and there. Fortunately, Dragon is pretty expert at selecting the correct word depending upon the surrounding words," he said. "In my experience Dragon NaturallySpeaking is not for someone who is an excellent typist."  I'm going to lose the use of my left arm for six weeks, so I won't be typing much.

Another great source of information is Lunis Orcutt from Tennessee. He uses the trade name for his software of KnowBrainer, which supplements and fills out Dragon Naturally Speaking and is an excellent product at a reasonable price.

Anne Stanton, President/Business Consultant of The Norwich Group said she used Dragon Naturally Speaking about 6 years ago "and at that time it was pretty good."

"Certainly the voice automated software has come a LONG way but I suspect you will need a program you can train to your voice to increase the recognition. Training Dragon took about 30-60 minutes last time I looked at it. Additionally I had some trouble with a slightly older machine. The voice automation puts a lot of demand on processor and memory so make sure you have a bit more hardware than the vendor recommends," she said.

Tom_kane My friend Tom Kane of Kane Consulting, Inc. told me he's used Naturally Speaking (version 7) for a number of years, but not regularly. "You have to spend the time training it, and at times it can be frustrating. If you have a cold, it will act up. But, having looked into IBM's version and trying one early on in the process, I think Naturally Speaking is probably better. I have primarily used it with Word, and once or twice with emails. Patience isn't one of my virtues."

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