Dragon Naturally Speaking

The question was asked: Is voice recognition software a viable option today? Is it ready for prime time?

My short answer is: Definitely. Yes.

I use version 8 of Dragon NaturallySpeaking. It cost me about $250 though my memory may be faulty. I purchased an Acoustic Magic microphone that sits on my desk in front of my monitor; it cost about $250.

The more significant cost I incurred … and wisest thing I did was to engage a consultant to install the software and set up the system, and then to teach me how to use the system. That cost me between $500 and $1000. In the process, he trained the machine to accept my voice and me how to train the machine on my own.

The real cost is not the software or equipment; the real cost is the time you invest to train the equipment to understand your voice patterns.

I purchased previous versions and didn’t use them because of errors, etc. This version is great, not perfect, and enables me to produce certain products that I would not create otherwise. I like this version. I wish it were more accurate, but suspect its lack of complete accuracy is because of the environment in which I use it.

If I were doing straight letters or even pleadings, I think the accuracy would be substantially improved. Even in the environment of recording in which I operate this software, its accuracy is good enough for me to be satisfied and continue to use it..

Invest (note I said “invest,” not cost), however, in a consultant to help you … and you’ll be even more satisfied. Focus on your core skills and pay to have someone to show you how best to use the product in your environment. You will short-cut the learning curve and enhance the value of the money you spend on the software and hardware.


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