Voice to text dictation with Dragon Naturally Speaking

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A long time ago, my colleagues and I dictated most of our letters, pleadings and other work product into a recording device, to be transcribed by a legal secretary. At first, we recorded onto a magnetic belt or tape. Later, we used cassette tapes (micro and regular size).

I could type, but this was before computers, and correcting typos, even on a Selectric with built in correction tape, was not the best use of my time.

Today, I type. But in my never-ending quest to increase my writing output, I have lately been experimenting with voice to text (speech to text) apps, including an old version of Dragon Naturally Speaking which I’ve had on my hard drive for several years.

I’ve tinkered with it in the past, but never used it consistently, mainly because of the learning curve and concomitant time it always seemed to require.

That, plus I am a quick typist.

And yet, I know that voice dictation is quicker, and if I can master DNS, I will increase my productivity.

This post wasn’t dictated with the software, but I have started using it daily. I’m learning the program’s commands, practicing my old dictation habits, and things are coming along. Period. Paragraph.

Nuance, which makes the software, just announced a new app for mobile, Dragon Anywhere, coming this fall. This looks amazing for those who are frequently away from their computer. When I’m out, I use Siri to dictate on my phone, but you have to stop and re-set every 30 seconds. Dragon Anywhere offers unlimited dictation time.

Nuance also announced a new Professional version for individuals. I couldn’t resist the price so I upgraded. (If you have DNS, go to Help on the menu and “check for upgrades”.

One thing I like about the upgrade (that I don’t have on my old version) is the ability to import an audio file for transcription. If I don’t subscribe to Dragon Anywhere (it will be a monthly subscription), this will be a big help.

If you read reviews about DNS, you find a mixed bag. A lot of people have had problems with installation and use of their products. Other reviews sing their praises.

If you use voice dictation in your work, or you have done so in the past, I’d love to hear your experiences. What do you use? How has it helped to improve your work flow? Do you have any tips to share?

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