Tip For Article Writers and Content Creators: How Well Does Dragon Naturally Speaking Speech Recognition Work?

by Georg Rauh on November 25, 2013

speed up writing with dragon naturally speakingIn the past I considered speech recognition to speed up my article writing a gimmick. My main concern was always that speech recognition on the PC is (supposedly) still not “perfect enough”.

I reasoned that the required corrections at the end would ultimately offset the initially benefit of being able to create content faster. I didn’t see the point in using speech recognition when the result would require me to do lengthy editing for each piece of content due to mistakes made in the dictation process.

I was very wrong!

For about 6 months now I am using Dragon Naturally Speaking 12 for pretty much ALL my content creation activities, whether it is article writing or creating web content. In fact, today I cannot see myself anymore to write without it!

Dragon Naturally Speaking 12 Makes Article Writing Fun

In the last few months I learned a lot about effectively using Dragon Naturally Speaking, mainly from the very good forum over at Knowbrainer. This is probably the best resource for speech recognition with Dragon Naturally Speaking (DNS), whether it concerns software or hardware.

I learned the right way to dictate my content..and I also learned about the importance of using a good noise cancelling microphone to dramatically boost recognition accuracy. By the way, I got myself an Audio Technica ATH-COM2 headset since the microphone used there had stellar reviews for speech recognition and this particular headset is also very affordable.

Training Dragon Naturally Speaking So it Understands Your Voice is Very Easy

When you use Dragon for writing, what you need to do is train the software first so it recognizes your voice. I was surprised that this is not an ongoing process but that it’s usually sufficient to run the initial training lesson(s). Once. This is normally some chapter of a book which you read to DNS, the entire process takes maybe 15 minutes. After this initial training, Dragon Naturally Speaking is ready to go.

It would now entirely go beyond the scope to write a complete “review” of DNS and to list all the features. I try to keep it simple and only give you some basics.

With the right dictation style (ie: pronouncing clearly!) and keeping your speech  as natural as possible, you can basically dictate your texts in “real time” as if you were speaking to another person. The accuracy for me now is VERY high with only some occasional mistakes made, most of the time when I start mumbling, so it’s mostly my own fault.

I also learned to dictate in a way as to first finish/write sentences and paragraphs and then at the same time checking them step-by-step for mistakes while I write. This greatly reduces errors and time needed after a piece is finished to go over the entire piece having to find potential errors.

Creating Content Faster – And Better

While the actual time to write/dictate content is certainly shorter as opposed to typing, I do not see this as the main benefit of using Dragon Natural Speaking!

For me, the benefit is that dictating content/articles via voice allows me create articles in a “more natural” way, this is where the actual speed increase is. When I dictate my content, it seems I can form better, more “coherent” sentences or paragraphs even. It is a little difficult to explain but I am sure you will understand if you were to do the same. When you type, the flow of thoughts is always slowed/hindered instead. Simply speaking your text makes this process a lot easier, it “flows” better, for a lack of words.

On the various forums I came across a lot of professionals such as doctors who use Dragon Naturally Speaking, lawyers or simply people like me who write web content. I can without hesitation say that for someone who works or produces content on a daily basis DNS is a huge help. As I mentioned above already, I really cannot think being without this software anymore, I started to loathe “manual typing” and hardly do it anymore.

Speech recognition has gone a long way and I absolutely recommend Dragon Natural Speaking!

Here is a page on Amazon with Dragon Naturally Speaking 12 for you to check out!

Some Tips:

There are various versions of Dragon Natural Speaking, the latest is version V12. It actually has an update now bringing it to version 12.5 which can be downloaded. DNS runs on my Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 x64 PC without a problem.

You will find editions like Dragon Naturally Speaking Home, Premium, Professional and so forth. I recommend the Premium version which is rather affordable if you don’t need the special features of the Professional edition. Dragon Naturally Speaking Professional has additional features, most importantly it allows to create custom scripts for speech recognition while the other editions don’t support making custom scripts and commands. There are also specialized versions like Dragon Medical and I think there are editions for lawyers also. I myself have Dragon Naturally Speaking Professional and I am very satisfied with it.

Dragon Natural Speaking may come with a headset/microphone but the included one is really not very good. It’s not better than a headset you use for PC gaming. A good microphone makes a huge difference!
Recommended Microphones:

Samson Airline 77 (supposedly really “the best” microphone money can buy, many doctors, lawyers etc. use this one)
Audio Technica ATH COM1/COM2: “Bargain” consumer-grade headset but has an excellent microphone. This one isn’t made anymore but you can still buy it in some stores.

A good sound card in your PC. Don’t use your built-in sound card. If you have a notebook (which most professionals are likely to use) you want what’s called a “USB Sound Pod” like the Buddy 7G Sound Pod or the Speechware SpeechMatic MultiAdapter. Those are advanced USB “sound cards” with built-in DSP for noise reduction and better accuracy.

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