Monday, 4 November 2013


 this is just a quick test to see how blogger copes with DragonDictate. As you can see, it decided to begin the sentence without a capital letter for reasons best known to itself. This ought to be very easy to put right, but in fact, it can result in the unravelling of the entire passage.

The software's ability to accurately transcribe what I'm saying is astonishing. It gets quite obscure words absolutely perfect first time – even the names of towns and foreign words. But of course, it can never be perfect all the time. Editing will always be necessary. This is where the problem lies.

The software will behave itself for quite long periods of time, but then will start to behave very strangely. The most common glitch that I have encountered so far, is the random insertion of a rogue letter after any punctuation. So when you say comma or full stop a letter A or O or D will suddenly appear after it.

But not always.

But far more disconcerting than this, is when you ask it to do some seemingly simple piece editing, and it goes crazy – the cursor suddenly whizzing about drunkenly through the text until it alights on some word or part of the word which it then deletes or replaces with seemingly random letters. O

 I'm leaving that O where it is, to show what I mean. That is just appeared as I typed. In fact there is another O moving one space ahead of the cursor as I continue. How Nuance can release this in such a state and – as it did with me during a telephone conversation – deny that this problem exists, despite many references to it in forums, I just don't know. O

May be Nuance would try to persuade me that I am doing something to cause this. But I don't see what I'm doing that anyway veers from their prescribed commands. In fact, on the subject of commands – although I can summon up their recognition window, which lists possible alternative spellings – I can't make it go away. They say that the command is "hide recognition window". I know that the software is understanding what I say, because it writes it out accurately – and yet it will not obey that command.

I thought long and hard before buying the software. I have used Dragon before on a PC and became frustrated with it. The software has improved enormously in terms of recognition, but the general opinion seems to be that it works much better in Windows than it does on a Mac. Although their representative tried very hard to persuade me otherwise, I think that's probably the case.

However, having said all that, it is amazing to be able to simply speak and have your speech instantly converted into type. I have been suffering with RSI for some time and I think this will be enormous help in that regard. I type quickly, but not properly, and although I don't think that typing is the cause of my RSI, it certainly doesn't help.

My problems have been caused by mouse clicking and so it is important to me that the editing process works because otherwise I will be clicking away during the training process, which will be a bit counter-productive.

It's early days though and I hope that as the software learns about my speech patterns and sloppy diction, the whole experience will improve. I'll let you know how I get on.

Any mistakes in this blog post I'm going to blame on DragonDictate.


  1. Isn't it always the way, that manufacturers blame the user for problems rather than admit there's a mistake somewhere? My Teen has a phone with voice recognition on it. It's mainly used as a comedy prop - recite song lyrics and see what gibberish it comes up with!

  2. I was wondering if you'd consent to do an interview and/or guest post for our site The News in Books. I just read Mister Creecher and will posting a review on it soon. Thank you for your time.

  3. Rebecca - I am so sorry. Somehow I missed seeing your comment. I would be very happy to do that. I'll try and contact you via your website

    I'm still persevering with Dragon, Mary - but I fear that it simply does not work with a Mac and that Dragon know this, despite their words to the contrary when I spoke to them.