What is Dragon NaturallySpeaking?

Dragon NaturallySpeaking is voice recognition software for your PC computer. It’s pretty simple: you talk, it types for you.

You wear a USB headset or a wireless Bluetooth headset, you talk to your computer, and Dragon NaturallySpeaking writes down what you say in the program of your choice.

I used Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.5 premium to write this blog post with 98.2% accuracy. In fact, I’ve been using Dragon NaturallySpeaking for the last year and a half, and overall, the voice-recognition software gets around 97.2% of my words correct. (Here’s a list of all of the posts written on this blog using Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.5 premium wireless.)

If you have a disability and you can’t use a keyboard, you can use Dragon NaturallySpeaking to control your computer with your voice:

  • Open up programs,
  • move your mouse,
  • you can even click and drag using your voice alone.
  • If you have Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Premium, you can create your own custom voice commands to insert frequently used text (or graphics) by voice.
  • If you have Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Professional, you can create more advanced custom commands (macros) to automate routine tasks.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking Uses

I first got speech recognition software because I was looking for a way to become more efficient. Here are some ways people use Dragon NaturallySpeaking:

Voice-recognition is cool for home use

Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.5 comes in four editions: home, premium, professional, and legal. (Here’s the official comparison chart and here’s the full Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.5 feature matrix PDF.)

If you just want to play around with speech recognition software, you can get Dragon NaturallySpeaking Home edition for around $99.99. (If you’re a teacher or student, you can get Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium for only $99.99 as well.)

Personally, I’m glad I got Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium instead of Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Home. Here’s why:

  • I want to use a wireless microphone (or my iPad as a wireless microphone with the Dragon remote microphone app.) You can’t use Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 home wirelessly.
  • After chatting with a Nuance customer service rep, I was told that you can’t upgrade your voice profile from Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 home to Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 premium. In other words, you have to start from scratch and create a new voice profile. All of the training that you’ve done in Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Home will be lost.
  • Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Premium has more advanced correction features, then the home edition. The Premium version let you play back your speech in documents. The Home version does not.
  • If you want to control Excel and PowerPoint with your voice, your need Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 premium. (You can control Microsoft Word and Outlook with Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Home.)
  • If you want to transcribe your audio recordings from digital recorders, you need Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 premium. (The home version can’t do it.)

Students (and adults) with a learning disability may find it useful to use Dragon NaturallySpeaking assistive technology.

Some people with learning disabilities find it easier to express ideas orally instead of in writing. Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.5 premium that you talk to your computer and your computer type down what you say.

If you’re thinking about buying Dragon software for your child with a learning disability, you should know the following:

People with physical challenges or physical disabilities may find Dragon NaturallySpeaking an important accessibility solution

Dragon NaturallySpeaking can help people with repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome. You can significantly reduce how much you have to touch your keyboard or mouse to do your work. The voice-recognition software can also help people with multiple sclerosis or paralysis.

The success stories on the Dragon NaturallySpeaking accessibility page includes testimonials:

  • someone with multiple sclerosis,
  • someone who is a C4 – C5 quadriplegic with limited use of arms and no use of hands or fingers
  • someone who has tendinitis.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.5 Professional is Section 508 certified so that federal employees with physical with disabilities can access computers. (Individuals can get Dragon NaturallySpeaking Home or Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium, which has the same voice recognition engine, but with different features.)

People can transcribe interviews or voice recordings using Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.5 Premium

You need Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.5 Premium or higher in order to be able to transcribe audio recordings from a digital recorder.

You can transcribe digital audio files such as .WAV,.MP3, .WMA, .DSS, or .DS2 files into DragonPad (the Dragon NaturallySpeaking text editor,) or directly into any other program (i.e. Microsoft Word.)

Unfortunately, Dragon NaturallySpeaking is a “speaker dependent” speech recognition system. In other words, Dragon NaturallySpeaking is trained to recognize your voice and not just any voice. (If you try to transcribe a recording of someone else’s voice, Dragon NaturallySpeaking won’t be very accurate.)

The solution is to “voice write”, or “parrot” the audio recording. You listen to the recording in one year and then “re speak” the audio from the lecture or interview into your Bluetooth wireless microphone so that Dragon NaturallySpeaking only hears your voice.

What does this mean?

  • If you’re a student, you can’t simply record a lecture, and then plug it into Dragon NaturallySpeaking to transcribe. You’ll have to re-speak the lecture yourself.
  • If you need to transcribe recording from a business meeting or court proceeding, even though you might have really high-quality audio, you’ll still have to re-speak the recording in order for Dragon NaturallySpeaking to transcribe accurately.
  • If you’re a teacher, you might consider checking out the testimonials on this educational transcription page. Some teachers use Dragon NaturallySpeaking while lecturing and have their words transcribed in a large size projected on the screen.

Attorneys and other legal professionals can transcribe legal documents use Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.5 legal edition

If you check out the Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.5 feature matrix, it looks like the legal and the professional editions are exactly the same, although if you check out the comparison chart, it looks like the legal edition has “specialized tools for the legal community.”

  • You can create custom voice commands to create legal documents and contracts.
  • You can automate a sequence of tasks like saving a Microsoft Word document under a specific client’s folder, printing out a hard copy of the document, and then automatically attaching the file to an e-mail.

Bloggers can write blog posts using Dragon NaturallySpeaking

Of course, you can blog using Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Here’s how I use Dragon NaturallySpeaking with Windows Live Writer. It’s saving my wrists from carpal tunnel syndrome, but I still need to revise and add the finishing touches logged into my WordPress account.

This post was written using Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.5 Premium Wireless. What is Dragon NaturallySpeaking?

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  • There are 1188 words in this post. Dragon NaturallySpeaking made 21 word errors. So, we had an accuracy of 98.2% in this document.
  • If you include punctuation and capitalization errors, Dragon made an additional 6 punctuation and capitalization errors. So, we had an accuracy of 97.7% in this document.

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