Voice Recognition Software

An
AnicusEpub
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Wed Mar 05, 2014 1:56 am Post

Is there a "voice recognition software" compatible for use with Scrivener for Apple users? If so can you please tell me the name of it and any ".experience" you have in using it? Thank you !

Steve
Anicusepub@comcast.net

Hu
Hugh
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Wed Mar 05, 2014 6:08 pm Post

There are at least four types of dictation software that one could use with Scrivener on an Apple Mac.

Two of them I haven't used. They are Microsoft's and Apple's own dictation applications, supplied as part of the operating systems. The Windows system would have to be mounted as part of the functionality of the Windows 7 or 8 operating systems within Parallels or a similar 'virtual machine' environment on top of the Mac OS X platform. In other words, complicated, prone to problems and probably expensive if you have to buy extra RAM for your Mac to make it work (as you'd probably have to do).

The Apple system, of course, wouldn't need all that software superstructure, just an appropriately decent microphone. And the programme itself is already accessible on your machine, at the foot of the Edit menu of (I think) every Mac application, including Scrivener. I believe one or two people have reported using it with Scrivener - worth searching the forum.

But the Big Daddy of voice recognition/dictation software is made by Nuance under the Dragon brand. The version for the Mac is called Dragon Dictate (DD), and for Windows, Dragon Naturally Speaking (DNS). DD and DNS share the same voice recognition engine and so are equally good at understanding dictation, but DNS is quite a lot better at also enabling you to use your voice to control your computer. For this reason, some Mac users install DNS using the paraphernalia I listed above (Parallels, Windows 7 or 8 ); of course you'd also have to install Scrivener for Windows. But DD is perfectly useable with Scrivener on your Mac without all that, if dictation is all you want.

Voice recognition is clearly a developing technology. It isn't error-free yet, but as far as I can see it's improved hugely in the last five or ten years. The two key things that experts say can really make a difference to the accuracy of your results are the quality of your hardware (lots of L3 Cache, whatever that is, and avoiding Bluetooth mikes are usually advised, for example), and your dictation technique (don't imagine that you can dictate with all the um's and ah's of everyday speech - you won't get an acceptable outcome).

The experts say that dictation is a skill that needs practice to make it successful. That's my experience also.
'Listen, some quiet night, when you've shirked your work that day. Do you hear
that distant, almost inaudible clicking sound? That's one of your
competitors, working away in the night in
Paris or London or Erie, PA.'

An
AnicusEpub
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Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:50 pm Post

Thank you Hugh ! This was extremely helpful. A friend in Colorado also suggested "Dragon" -- I will check it out and also what "dictation app" my Mac Book Pro laptop can incorporate. I was advised that if I do go the "Dragon" route not to shortchange myself and take the TIME to do proper SETUP and TRAINING TUTORIALS. I think I get the picture now that two (2) of you have suggested becoming "technically sound" in "dictation software." The nice feature about the Dragon v.4 is it's Bluetooth capability. Being a Writer I like to "move around in my space" and not be tied to a chair. Physically, I've been diagnosed with "chronic disc degeneration" in my cervical, mid-thoracic and lumbar spine -- too much bone on bone brings on the pain and too much time spent in one position is also "not good" -- sitting, standing, laying flat on my Writing Den floor are "all in the mix" for me so "hands-free" would be nice. The only downside is cost; close to $300, BUT . . .

Thanks again -- any other ideas, I'm open for business. Your response was thorough and helpful.

Steve
Anicusepub@comcast.net

Br
Briar Kit
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Thu Mar 06, 2014 7:44 am Post

AnicusEpub wrote:Is there a "voice recognition software" compatible for use with Scrivener for Apple users? If so can you please tell me the name of it and any ".experience" you have in using it? Thank you !

Steve
Anicusepub@comcast.net


Enhanced Dictation in OS X Mavericks works very well. Worth trying before splashing out for additional software and the cost of future updates.

http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/ ... -dictation

I assume, but don't know, that it would work with a Bluetooth mic.

http://support.apple.com/kb/PH13714
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Hu
Hugh
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Thu Mar 06, 2014 8:49 am Post

As I understand it, there are two potential problems with Bluetooth microphones and voice recognition. One is the need in speech-to-text for the microphone to 'pair' reliably and without interruption with your computer (or a receiving dongle plugged into one of the USB sockets on your computer). For some setups involving Bluetooth, this pairing can be unreliable; I've personal experience of this.

The other issue is possibly more fundamental: my understanding is that, despite what some brands may claim, the digital sampling rate or the frequency range of ordinary Bluetooth is too low to be ideal for voice recognition purposes - something like that, anyway (as you'll have gathered, I'm not an expert). There's an enhanced Bluetooth standard now being introduced, but I don't know how widespread it is.

However... there are wireless microphones that use forms of radio that are not Bluetooth and do have the necessary technical specifications - this, for example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpJj1SHZBqc
'Listen, some quiet night, when you've shirked your work that day. Do you hear
that distant, almost inaudible clicking sound? That's one of your
competitors, working away in the night in
Paris or London or Erie, PA.'

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nom
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Thu Mar 06, 2014 12:09 pm Post

Dragon Dictate works well (I used to use it a few years, and a couple of versions, ago). They are about to release a brand new version - got the preview email about it yesterday.

The main problem I had with dictation was thinking my thoughts clearly and succinctly enough before saying them. I don't think in complete, well-formed, sentences so I naturally had a little trouble dictating them. Hence I had frequent, and often overpowering, urges to edit the text I was creating as I created it. Given that Dragon Dictate (at least then, it may have changed by now) was not good at tracking text changes in software other than itself, this did not work well. I haven't used it for at least 12 months, although keep promising myself I'll retry it when I have (a) a new Mac with more memory and (b) DD's editing abilities improve.

No problems whatsoever with using bluetooth with Dragon Dictate. They even provide their own (free) iOS app you can install on your iPhone in order to use it as a bluetooth microphone - it worked wonderfully (even better than the USB microphone that I originally bought to use with DD). You can also buy DD with a bluetooth microphone supplied.
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Jo
Jordi Mora

Thu Mar 06, 2014 12:48 pm Post

Briar Kit wrote:Enhanced Dictation in OS X Mavericks works very well. Worth trying before splashing out for additional software and the cost of future updates.


Just to second this suggestion: Apple's built-in works very well indeed, for free. I don't use any extra mics, just the small built-in mic, and find that is sufficient. The pick-up on my new i-Pad mini is slightly better than on my MBA, which I put down to the 2nd noise-cancelling mic on the i-Pad. Although my early 2013 MBA doesn't have that technology I understand that the newest MBA models do.

Ni
Niran
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Sat Mar 15, 2014 12:39 am Post

Nuance just-released Dragon Dictate 4. Every time there is a new release of Dragon Dictate I was hold my breath in anticipation. Mostly I wonder if this program will continue running and not have any serious hangups. It seems with each incarnation I expect less.

This version of Dragon Dictate is excellent. The speed of translation definitely makes this a worthwhile upgrade. H

Hu
Hugh
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Sat Mar 15, 2014 10:48 am Post

Niran wrote:Nuance just-released Dragon Dictate 4...

This version of Dragon Dictate is excellent. The speed of translation definitely makes this a worthwhile upgrade. H


I agree.
'Listen, some quiet night, when you've shirked your work that day. Do you hear
that distant, almost inaudible clicking sound? That's one of your
competitors, working away in the night in
Paris or London or Erie, PA.'

Jo
Jordi Mora

Sat Mar 15, 2014 4:09 pm Post

Hugh wrote:
Niran wrote:Nuance just-released Dragon Dictate 4...

This version of Dragon Dictate is excellent. The speed of translation definitely makes this a worthwhile upgrade. H


I agree.


I have to admit that having posted above about the surprisingly abilities of the built-in Apple dictate feature I am now - as of this morning - a new convert to Dragon Dictate 4. I'm a rotten typist and I've a lot of writing to do at the moment and so I thought, given the recent vey positive reports, it was worth a £125 punt to try it.

It took forever to download (wonderful rural BT broadband) but much less time to complete the Voice Training preliminaries and the Interactive Tutorial and to get to work. Voice activated editing of the dictated text is going to be very useful, as is the ability to expand the vocabulary by feeding the Dragon a text document with all of the oddities in it, and as an added bonus - one I wasn't expecting - whereas the Apple system only works on Cocoa applications, which excludes Tinderbox 5, Dragon works very nicely in it on my small tests so far.

Hu
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Sat Mar 15, 2014 7:38 pm Post

Dr Dog wrote:
Hugh wrote:
Niran wrote:Nuance just-released Dragon Dictate 4...

This version of Dragon Dictate is excellent. The speed of translation definitely makes this a worthwhile upgrade. H


I agree.


I have to admit that having posted above about the surprisingly abilities of the built-in Apple dictate feature I am now - as of this morning - a new convert to Dragon Dictate 4. I'm a rotten typist and I've a lot of writing to do at the moment and so I thought, given the recent vey positive reports, it was worth a £125 punt to try it.

It took forever to download (wonderful rural BT broadband) but much less time to complete the Voice Training preliminaries and the Interactive Tutorial and to get to work. Voice activated editing of the dictated text is going to be very useful, as is the ability to expand the vocabulary by feeding the Dragon a text document with all of the oddities in it, and as an added bonus - one I wasn't expecting - whereas the Apple system only works on Cocoa applications, which excludes Tinderbox 5, Dragon works very nicely in it on my small tests so far.


I haven't come across software that is reviled and admired to the extent that Dragon's variants are, both Windows and OSX - though I suspect that differences between users in hardware choices and dictating style and competence have much to answer for.

I hope your use continues to come out on the plus side.
'Listen, some quiet night, when you've shirked your work that day. Do you hear
that distant, almost inaudible clicking sound? That's one of your
competitors, working away in the night in
Paris or London or Erie, PA.'

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ptram
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Mon Mar 17, 2014 12:10 am Post

Dragon Dictate 4 is not yet localized in Italian, so it is very bad software. Here! :evil:

I've been using Dragon Dictate for years -- first on a virtual PC running on my Macs, then (when the Italian version was finally released for Mac) right in its native version. The Mac version is great, much better than the PC version (that tended to become less reliable, under Win XP Pro, after half an hour of use).

I used it to dictate my dissertation, and this saved my academic career, since typing a long essay after my work hours as a technical writer had to be considered impossible. I also use it for occasional translations, and sometimes for dictating notes. I've good pronunciation, so Dragon Dictate has always been able to do a near-perfect transcription.

The Apple dictation service in both the Mac and iOS is good, but not nearly as accurate. Also, you have to dictate in chunks, and wait for transcription in the idle time -- not too natural for me. Dragon lets me see the text appearing while dictating, letting me be aware of mistakes immediately after I do them.

So, I'm eagerly awaiting for the new version. It's an essential tool for me.

Paolo
Last edited by ptram on Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Jo
Jordi Mora

Mon Mar 17, 2014 9:31 am Post

ptram wrote:I used it to dictate my dissertation, and this saved my academic career, since typing a long essay after my work hours as a technical writer had to be considered impossible.

The Apple dictation service in both the Mac and iOS is good, but not nearly as accurate. Also, you have to dictate in chunks, and wait for transcription in the idle time -- not too natural for me. Dragon lets me see the text appearing while dictating, letting me be aware of mistakes immediately after I do them.



Thats how I'm using it: I wrote an academic monograph which I am now using as the basis for a wider, more general non-fiction work. All of the research has been done and as the structure of the document is in place I essentially have a massive re-write on my hands (in addition to my daily business). Dictating to the Dragon in just the 8 hours I've used it since purchase at the week-end has been extremely productive.

I had worried that dictating so much instead of typing would change my `writing' style and probably for the worse; but of course all I am dictating is Shitty First Drafts and so the self-editing stage brings my written voice back in. Henry James worked like this, and if it's good enough for him ...

I agree completely with the advance over the Mac, good though that is (I still use it on my iPad mini). I like the fact that there is no time-out on Dragon mic, which allows for a much more natural delivery, though I've not got used to putting it to sleep when the phone rings and so have accidentally fully transcribed my side of a few phone calls this week-end ...

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jtranter
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Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:29 am Post

Henry James? Yes, indeed. But once he began using dictation (to a Scottish gentleman "type-writer") he did become notably verbose. Rather, his native verbosity seemed to be given free rein and a new lease of life, and spread like a weed. So, beware!
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Jo
Jordi Mora

Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:53 am Post

jtranter wrote:Henry James? Yes, indeed. But once he began using dictation (to a Scottish gentleman "type-writer") he did become notably verbose. Rather, his native verbosity seemed to be given free rein and a new lease of life, and spread like a weed. So, beware!


I'm not in full agreement with the James I, James II and the Old Pretender view of him, nor the native verbosity bit (and there was none so scornful of his as his brother Willy - the subject of my writing). But I take your point ...