This DRAGON NATURALLY SPEAKING REVIEW was last updated Thu June 18, 2020: If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. The last question I answered was from a reader asking about if you can install Dragon Professional 15 on a home computer and school laptop. Read the comment below.
After reading this review, if you have any questions about which product to get, please leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!
This post is about the latest version of Nuance Dragon voice software (Dragon Home 15 and Dragon Professional 15)
If you want information about older versions of Nuance Dragon software, these posts might interest you:
- Can I still get Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium 13?
- Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13 Premium vs Nuance Dragon 15
- Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13 Home vs Premium vs Student
Psst. You don’t want the older versions. The voice recognition is more accurate at transcribing dictated text in Dragon 15 than it is in Dragon 13.
NOTE: Nuance currently only offers two versions of their Dragon “Naturally Speaking” software for the consumer market:
- Link to OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Dragon Home 15
- Link to OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Dragon Professional Individual 15
Use Dragon Naturally Speaking to get ideas down (because you talk faster than you can type)
This is my giant review page about Nuance Dragon Naturally Speaking voice-to-text software.
(Yes, I know the brand changed to just Dragon Home and Dragon Professional, but not everyone knows that, so that’s why I use both terms interchangeably. If you want information about how the older versions of Dragon Naturally Speaking compares to the current version, you want to read this post. )
I’ve been talking normally with the speech recognition voice software to blog and “write” for over 8 years. I use Nuance Dragon Professional Individual 15 and speak normally so the speech-to-text voice engine can type down what I say.
For review purposes, I went out and bought a license for Nuance Dragon Home 15 so I could wear two headsets at the same time.
This article will explain the difference between Nuance Dragon Home 15 vs Nuance Dragon Professional Individual 15 as well as discuss the differences between Dragon Version 15 vs Nuance Dragon Naturally Speaking Premium 13.
NOTE: I only use Dragon Naturally Speaking and DragonPad (their word processor program – like NotePad) to dictate my words and get my computer to type things down for me. For example, when I dictate notes into my Google Docs or Google Slides for my 21st-century learning skills lesson plans, I don’t dictate directly into a web browser because I find I get better accuracy using their custom word processor and then copy-pasting the text over into Google Docs / Google Slides.)
Compare Nuance Dragon Naturally Speaking Versions Table of Contents:
- What is Nuance Dragon Professional
- The latest version of Nuance Dragon Naturally Speaking is Version 15
- Difference between Nuance Dragon Home and Professional 15
- Tip #1: Nuance Dragon Professional 15 allows multiple user profiles. Nuance Dragon Home 15 does not.
- Tip #2: The toolbar has more features in the Professional version as opposed to the Home version
- Tip #3: The Home 15 seems to be just as accurate as Nuance Dragon Professional Individual 15
- Tip #4: Both versions of Nuance Dragon Naturally Speaking save voice files with your text files.
- Tip #5: Both versions let you choose between accuracy or speed when transcribing
- What is the latest version of Nuance Dragon Naturally Speaking voice software?
- Nuance Dragon speaks naturally to you – by playing back your recorded speech.
- Nuance Dragon speaks naturally to you – by reading text using a text-to-speech voice engine.
- How many computer and laptop devices are you allowed to install Dragon Home v15 and Dragon Professional Individual v15?
- Using Dragon Professional 15 for the first time. A story
- 5 Things I’ve learned about using Nuance Dragon Naturally Speaking for the first time
- Would I recommend Dragon Professional Individual 15 for a new user like John? (The answer might surprise you!)
- Nuance Dragon Professional Coupon Code / Sale Info
What is Nuance Dragon Professional?
Nuance Dragon Professional and Nuance Dragon Home are the names of the speech-to-text voice voice software made by a company called Nuance.
Basically, you use Dragon, speak naturally and the computer types down (transcribes) what you say.
It’s definitely faster than typing for most people and I find it’s way more accurate than talking to my Google Home or Siri on my iPhone.
You can also use it to control your computer to open windows, browse the internet and other things.
- Nuance Dragon Naturally Speaking 13 Premium was the last “Premium” version made by the company. They now only make Professional and Home editions. (Read this article about if you can still get Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13 Premium.)
- Jump down to read the section comparing Dragon Professional vs Dragon Home to decide which version fits your needs.
The latest version of Nuance Dragon Naturally Speaking Voice Software is version 15.
I’ve been using Nuance Dragon speaking software for over 8+ years since version 11. (Ahh, memories)
I blog and type with the voice software and I keep track of how many transcription word errors that Dragon makes because I was curious about how accurate it was.
(Teacher Speak: Basically, I did a running record / miscue analysis with it.)
Right now, I find Nuance Dragon 15 seems more accurate right out of the box than previous versions.
- When I wrote the draft for this original blog post, Nuance Dragon Professional Individual 15 was around 96.92 % accurate without any voice training.
- In another blog post, Nuance Dragon Professional Individual 15 and Nuance Dragon Home 15 both had a speech-to-text transcription accuracy of around 99%
You have to read a few paragraphs when you first launch the software (to do a microphone check), but that’s all you need to get started.
When the speech-to-text software first came out, it was called Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking (one word) and came in three editions for the consumer market.
Back then, you had to read complete paragraphs and passages in order to “train” the voice software to recognize your voice. As you can imagine, this was time consuming (and really difficult for students with reading difficulties. Ironic.)
Now, it’s pretty much plug-and-play. Just install the software, read a paragraph to do a microphone check, and then you can start dictating.
Other Versions / Editions of Nuance Dragon Naturally Speaking:
Over the years, I have personally used all 3 consumer editions:
I’ve been using Nuance Dragon Naturally Speaking since version 11 and I still upgrade to the latest version for the speech-to-text voice improvements.
- Nuance Dragon Naturally Speaking Home
- Nuance Dragon Naturally Speaking Premium
- Nuance Dragon Naturally Speaking Professional
Dragon Naturally Speaking in other Languages:
I have only ever used Dragon software in English (and for Windows. Haven’t heard good things about the Mac version.)
A reader asked about whether Dragon software would work in both English and French.
Unfortunately, Dragon Naturally Speaking is language specific. If you want to use Dragon in a different language than English, you’ll have to buy that specific language version of the voice recognition software.
(It does make sense, though. Have you ever tried to type in French while your phone was trying to auto-correct everything into English words?)
I checked out Dragon’s Customer Help page about languages.
(When I checked today Mar 2020, the page says it was last updated in August 2018. The help page doesn’t list French as available in the Dragon Home edition, although they do sell it in their store. See link below.)
If you buy Dragon in a different language, they also include the English vocabulary database so you can create a profile in the language and in English.
“this means that after installing Dragon Professional Individual 15 Spanish, it is possible to create an English user profile.”Dragon’s Customer Help page about languages.
Here are some other things to note about Dragon software in different languages:
- When installing multiple languages, the versions must match.
- The installation process will repair your existing English version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking. During the repair process, the vocabularies for the second language will be installed.
- When you have installed a second language, the new vocabularies show up in the “New User Profile Wizard”.
- Dragon NaturallySpeaking is configured to install and operate on the same language as the operating system.
- To control the computer by voice, the Dragon NaturallySpeaking language must match the operating system language.
- Not all languages show up in the Nuance Store all the time – it depends on your region.
Here are the links to Dragon software in different languages:
I’ve never used the following, so I can’t speak about the quality of word transcription and recognition, but here are the links:
- Dragon Home – French ($150 USD)
- Nuance Professional Individual – French ($450 USD !!! Not sure why the French professional version is $150 USD more expensive than the other professional language versions…)
- Nuance Professional Individual – Spanish ($350)
Don’t forget… Nuance offers a 30 day return policy. This means, if you bought the English version by accident and you want to translate a second language, you can still get a refund (within 30 days, of course.)
It also means, if you buy Dragon in a different language and find it doesn’t meet your needs, you can always return it within 30 days.
(As always, remember that I’m some random voice on the internet that blogs about Dragon. Don’t forget to check out their help page on Languages yourself.)
Compare Dragon Home vs Dragon Premium
Dragon Home 15 is much more accurate for a brand new user than Dragon Premium 13. But, that’s because the voice recognition in Dragon 15 is better than Dragon 13.
This is an unfair comparison now because they stopped the development of Dragon Premium at Verison 13.
Nuance Dragon Naturally Speaking Premium was also offered in a student / teacher education edition for a discounted price, but they no longer offer this.
(I know schools and districts get educational bulk pricing, but according to my source, they currently don’t offer an education discount for Nuance Dragon software for the consumer market anymore. )
In July 2018, Nuance Dragon Naturally Speaking Premium was discontinued (at version 13) and Nuance stopped upgrading it to simplify their brand.
Today, the latest versions of Nuance Dragon Voice Software is:
- Nuance Dragon Professional 15
- Nuance Dragon Home 15
Although you may be able to get Nuance Dragon Naturally Speaking Professional 13 on eBay or Amazon, I wouldn’t. Version 15 is an impressive improvement in voice-to-text transcription accuracy.
Make sure to look at the feature matrix (PDF) from the official Nuance site to see if it’s worth the savings… Personally, I don’t think so.
What’s the difference between Nuance Dragon Home 15 vs Nuance Dragon Professional Individual 15?
- Nuance Dragon Home 15 costs $150.
- Nuance Dragon Professional Individual 15 normally costs twice as much at $300.
FYI: They offer a Nuance Dragon Professional Group version for corporate clients, but that doesn’t apply to individuals like you or me.
When you use Dragon, speak naturally and clearly so that the voice software can type down your dictated text.
Both Nuance Dragon Professional Individual 15 and Nuance Dragon Home 15 seem to have the same speech-to-text dictation accuracy. (See below.)
So, the real question you have to ask yourself is:
Are the extra features you get in Nuance Dragon Professional 15 worth the extra money?
And, the answer depends on how frugal you are.
If you’re low on cash and you just want the computer to type down what you say, then you might be able to get away with Nuance Dragon Home 15. (Not Nuance Dragon Home 13 or an older version – those versions didn’t play back your voice samples when you were correcting mistakes. You want to have it so Dragon speaks naturally to you when you fix your mistakes by playing your voice sample.)
Here are some highlights of some of the major differences between the two versions of Nuance Dragon voice software (formerly known as Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking – one word.)
Key Differences between Nuance Dragon Home vs Professional 15
- You can create multiple user profiles with Nuance Dragon Professional Individual 15 (IMPORTANT!)
- You have more tools in Nuance Dragon Professional 15. (Also, the toolbar is larger.)
- You can transcribe someone else’s recordings in Nuance Dragon Professional 15 from MP3. (IMPORTANT! You can’t do that in Nuance Dragon Home 15.)
- You can set a folder to be auto transcribed by Nuance Dragon Professional 15.
- You can set up custom commands (macros) in Nuance Dragon Professional 15 (to simplify your life.)
- You have more control over your vocabulary in Nuance Dragon Professional 15. Sure you can train words in Nuance Dragon Home 15, but you can see the complete vocabulary list in Nuance Dragon Professional Individual. (IMPORTANT!)
- Nuance Dragon Professional backs up your voice profile. (You can also set a custom folder for it to back up to.)
When you’re using Nuance Dragon, speaking naturally and clearly in a regular voice is essential.
In both versions, you do a microphone check:
- You wear your headset and read a paragraph which explains a little bit about how to use speech-to-text software.
- There’s also an additional tutorial that walks you through some basic skills.
What you’ll quickly realize is that no matter which version of Nuance Dragon you use, it’s important to speak naturally in long, complete sentences. Otherwise, the speech-to-text software will make lots of transcription errors.
Well, some words sound identical – to, too, two – but mean completely different things.
- I went to the store.
- I’m going, too!
- So, that makes two of us!
So, it’s the context that helps Nuance Dragon voice software figure out which spelling of the word is correct.
When you use Dragon, speak normally to get the best results. If you speak. in. short. and. choppy. sentences. it. just. won’t. transcribe. well.
So, which version of Nuance Dragon voice software is more accurate?
Nuance Dragon Home 15 seems to be just as accurate as Nuance Dragon Professional Individual 15.
It seems both versions use the same voice engine under the hood.
- I set up the Home edition on my laptop and Nuance Dragon Professional Individual 15 on my desktop computer.
- I wore two headsets at the same time with microphones on both sides of my head.
- I used Dragon, spoke naturally and both computers “typed” down what I said.
- I dictated a blog post into the computer and it seems like Nuance Dragon speech-to-text software heard the same thing in both versions of the software. Click here to see the number and examples of errors that each version of Nuance Dragon 15 software made. (Stay tuned for more detailed analysis.)
- Both the Home and Professional versions save a voice file.
- Both versions let you choose between accuracy or speed when transcribing
Use Dragon Speak Naturally Tip #1: Nuance Dragon Professional Individual 15 is designed for multiple user profiles. Nuance Dragon Home 15 is not.
THIS IS AN IMPORTANT DIFFERENCE!
Although multiple people in your household might want to use Nuance Dragon, speak naturally, and get stuff done, the speech-to-text software is only licensed for one person use per license.
But sometimes, you might want to create multiple user profiles for the same person. For example,
- If you transcribe an MP3 recording of someone else, you definitely want a different user profile so it doesn’t muck up your voice profile. (Transcription is not available in Nuance Dragon Home 15)
- I use a different voice profile for my classroom work, as opposed to my other side gigs. (I didn’t want vocabulary terms and speaking styles to cross over. I don’t think it would really matter, but I’m just like that. At school, I use a much more formal tone when writing report cards, but when I blog, I occasionally use slang. Y’know?)
Nuance Dragon Professional Individual 15 gives you complete control to create and manage multiple user profiles.
In Nuance Dragon Professional 15, the start menu lets you create new user profiles as well as choose which folder they get saved in.
(This makes it easy for you to back up those folders to make sure you save your voice recognition files in case a disaster happens.)
Nuance Dragon Home 15 is really designed for one user profile.
In the start menu, Nuance Dragon Home 15 doesn’t give you an easy way to create multiple user profiles.
- When you open Nuance Dragon Home 15, it doesn’t give you the option to choose from multiple user profiles unless you upgraded from Nuance Dragon Home 13 and you already had multiple user profiles.
- In this case, you get to see the open user profile window, but as you can see from the screenshot, you can’t create new user profiles from this window in Nuance Dragon Home 15.
Please Note: Nuance Dragon Home 15 is different from Nuance Dragon Home 13. In Nuance Dragon Home 13, I seem to recall being able to set up multiple profiles…
By the way, if you try to be sneaky and import a new profile into your Nuance Dragon Home 15, the software warns you that importing a new profile will delete your existing user profile.
On the other hand, Nuance Dragon Professional 15 lets you speak naturally and import, export, backup and restore user profiles from the manage user profiles administrative menu.
Nuance Dragon Professional Individual 15
Use Dragon Speak Naturally Tip #2: The toolbar has more features in Nuance Dragon Professional 15 as opposed to Nuance Dragon Home 15
Although Home and Professional Individual 15 use the same speech-to-text transcription engine, it makes sense that you get more features and options in Nuance Dragon Professional Individual 15.
The toolbar in the Home edition only has two buttons: tools and settings. Some of the tools have been moved into the tools option, but you’re missing a few key options that you get in Nuance Dragon Professional Individual 15.
Most notably, Nuance Dragon Professional Individual 15 has all of the features in Nuance Dragon Home 15 and…
- a button to manage user profiles
- a button focused around vocabulary options.
- In Nuance Dragon Home 15, you have the ability to train specific words, but you don’t have the ability to see the entire vocabulary list or to import entire lists of words.
- You need Nuance Dragon Professional 15 to have full control over the custom vocabulary.
- A button with more audio options.
- In Nuance Dragon Home 15, you can only do a microphone settings check when you first create your user profile.
- In Nuance Dragon Professional Individual 15, you can do a microphone settings check whenever you want to help Dragon adjust the volume levels if you move to a different room, or if you want to make sure your microphone is in the right place.)
Use Dragon Speak Naturally Tip #3: Nuance Dragon Home 15 seems to be equally accurate as Nuance Dragon Professional Individual 15
This is a key issue that might make frugal peeps get Nuance Dragon Home (instead of Nuance Dragon Professional).
Both Home and Professional versions come with its own word processor called DragonPad.
I tend to use DragonPad when I use Dragon and speak normally. (I know I can dictate into a web browser, but personally, I find that a little glitchy.)
For this experiment, I wore two headsets at the same time.
- One headset was connected to a laptop running Nuance Dragon Home 15.
- The other headset was connected to a desktop running Nuance Dragon Professional Individual 15.
Here’s a screenshot from both computers showing a complete review post that I’m writing using DragonPad.
Although I haven’t crunched the numbers yet, I’m going to guess that both versions of Nuance Dragon Naturally Speaking 15 will have the same speech-to-text accuracy rate.
- In an article I wrote about Nuance Dragon Professional Coupon Codes, I was able to get a 99.2% speech-to-text accuracy rate straight out of the box.
- But, in this article about what is Nuance Dragon Professional and a story about my friend using speech-to-text software for the first time, I was only able to get a 96.92% speech-to-text accuracy rate.
Use Dragon Speak Naturally Tip #4: Both versions of Nuance Dragon Naturally Speaking save voice files with your text files.
What’s even cooler is that both Nuance Dragon Home 15, and Nuance Dragon Professional Individual 15 save the voice recording file (.DRA) when you save your work from DragonPad.
It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it is.
When you fix a mistake in Nuance Dragon Home 15 or Nuance Dragon Professional 15, Dragon speaks naturally to playback what you said.
As you fix mistakes, the speech-to-text software gets better and better as it updates your user profile.
Dragon Professional Individual has always saved your voice recording file. This means you could close your work and then open up the file at a later date and you could still play back and fix mistakes.
(Nuance Dragon Home 13 and older versions of the software did not let you play back what you said as you try to fix and train Dragon.)
We can see here from the following screenshots that both Dragon Home 15 and Dragon Professional Individual 15 save your text file as well as your voice recording (.DRA) file that goes with it.
It’s a big deal that makes life a lot easier. Trust me.
Use Dragon Speak Naturally Tip #5: Both Nuance Dragon Home 15 and Nuance Dragon Professional Individual 15 let you choose between accuracy or speed when transcribing dictated text
I’m a little bit embarrassed to say I had no idea this was a thing. (And, this is an important key to improving the voice recognition accuracy for Dragon Voice Software!)
If you open up the options window, and then choose miscellaneous, there is a slider that lets you choose between speed and accuracy in both Dragon Home and Dragon Professional Individual.
- This means if your computer is a little bit slow, you might want to move the slider over to the fastest response side.
- On the other hand, if your computer has a lot of processing power, you might want your voice dictation software to be a little bit more accurate.
In this review, I set my copy of Nuance Dragon Home 15 and Nuance Dragon Professional Individual 15 to the most accurate setting, as seen in the screenshots below:
Right now, based on writing this review wearing two headsets and using two computers running Dragon Naturally Speaking at the same time, it seems as though both Dragon Home and Dragon Professional Individual have pretty much the same accuracy rate.
What is the latest version of Nuance Dragon Naturally Speaking voice software?
- Nuance is the company that makes Dragon voice typing software.
- The two versions are Dragon Home 15 and Dragon Professional Individual 15.
- It used to be called Dragon Naturally Speaking (1 word), and I’ve also seen it referred to on the official Nuance website as Dragon Naturally Speaking (2 words) but now it’s been rebranded as just plain Dragon.
Nuance Dragon speaks naturally to you – by playing back your recorded speech and dictated text…
Nuance Dragon speaks naturally when you get it to play back a selected sentence in DragonPad.
- Simply highlight some text,
- Right click to open the menu, and then
- Click on “PLAY THAT BACK”
Getting Dragon to speak naturally helps when you are correcting mistakes.
- It doesn’t speak with a digital computer voice, but rather Dragon speaks naturally because it’s playing back the actual sample that it heard and transcribed.
- This way, if you forget when you initially said, you can play it back and then correct the mistake.
Both Nuance Dragon Professional 15 and Nuance Dragon Home 15 save the voice files when you save your work, so you’ll be able to hear back your voice sample the next day when you open up your file again.
VERSION DIFFERENCE: Dragon Home 13 did not play back your voice sample when you were correcting mistakes. You need Nuance Dragon Home 15 to have the advanced correction feature that lets you hear your voice clips so that you can fix transcription errors easier.
NOTE: Sometimes if I make several corrections in the same paragraph, I find the voice samples get out of sync with the sentence that I’m correcting. Minor glitch, but annoying.
Nuance Dragon speaks naturally to you – by reading using a text-to-speech voice
The second way Nuance Dragon speaks naturally to you is in a “robot” voice using some text-to-speech software.
- Highlight the sentence or paragraph that you want Nuance Dragon to read to you.
- Right click to get the pop up menu
- Click on Read That, and Nuance Dragon speaks naturally to you to read what you typed.
How many computer and laptop devices are you allowed to install Dragon Home v15 and Dragon Professional Individual v15?
One of my readers asked whether they could install Dragon Professional Individual on their home computer and laptop for use at school. So, I did some research.
Old answers from 2015
There is a third party customer support website that checked with the Nuance support team in Deember 2015:
- It says you can install Dragon Naturally Speaking version 13 Professional and Legal editions on up to 4 computers before you receive a license error.
- Apparently you can install up to 10 computers (but you have to request a license activation increase from the Nuance support team.)
Dragon customer support has a support page where it talks about how many computers you can install Dragon on.
- It says for consumer editions of Dragon speech recognition, they grant one license of the software which can be installed on one computer at one physical address and you can install one copy on a secondary computer for backup purposes.
- But then it goes on to say that for latest editions of Dragon speech recognition – and it specifies Dragon for Mac – it says the license is per user not per machine.
- So a license user is permitted to create and use multiple voice profiles and these voice profiles can be stored on one or more computers.
- But, a separate license must be purchased for each additional person whose voice profile/voice profiles are being used by the software.
But this information also seems outdated because the last update was on September 2015 and the article implies the new license is for Dragon for Mac.
What about current consumer editions of Dragon software?
So what the correct answer?
How many computers can you install Dragon Home 15 and Dragon individual 15 on?
In 2020, a single user can install Dragon Home 15 and Dragon Professional Individual 15 on multiple computers for their own use (and create multiple voice profiles)
According to the Dragon Desktop End User License Agreement (checked on June 18, 2020)…
When you buy Dragon NaturallySpeaking v15, you’re allowed to
- you are allowed to install the voice dictation software on multiple computers for your own individual use. This means you can install it on your home computer and your school laptop
- You’re also allowed to store your voice profile on multiple computers but you can also store on a server so that you can switch from laptop to desktop and “still maintain a consistent dictation experience across computers”
- You are also allowed to create multiple voice profiles under this license. For example, I can use Dragon professional 15 to transcribe different people’s audio files – and I can create separate voice profiles for those transcription purposes.
What are you NOT allowed to do when you buy Dragon Home 15 or Dragon professional individual 15?
- If I buy a license of Dragon Home 15 or Dragon Professional Individual 15, only one person is allowed to use Dragon software.
- Other people in the house are not allowed to use the software to create their own voice profile unless they buy their own copy / license.
So, basically the license is per person and not per voice profile (even though Dragon professional 15 lets you create multiple voice profiles.)
Here are some quotes from the dragon desktop and user license agreement that covers Dragon Home 15 and Dragon Professional 15 (Checked as of June 18, 2020.)
install and use the Software contained on the provided installation media on multiple computers running validly-licensed operating systems…
A licensed speaker is permitted to create and use multiple Voice Profiles under this license.Voice Profiles can be stored on one or more computers or on a server to allow the speaker to move from computer to computer and still maintain a consistent dictation experience across computers.
A separate license, however, must be purchased for each additional speaker whose Voice Profile or Voice Profiles is or are being used by the Software.SOURCE: Page 2 of Dragon Desktop EULA checked on June 18, 2020
Here’s a screenshot of the Dragon professional end user license agreement showing the relevant text.
And here’s a screenshot of Dragon professional version 15 software showing you that yes you are allowed to create multiple voice profiles when you are transcribing. In fact, Nuance Dragon recommends you create separate voice profiles if you are transcribing the same person a lot.
Using Nuance Dragon Professional 15 for the first time. A story…
My buddy John and I are working together on his website. He has lots of great ideas and an interesting view on the world. I’m helping on the technical side.
The problem is, he’s not much of a typist. He jokes about how bad he is, and he’s not wrong. Great teacher, but not really a techie-kind of guy.
John uses the “seek and destroy” method of two fingers, maybe three fingers per hand when he’s typing.
So, when I’m helping him out with some technical stuff and waiting for him to type out his ideas, it’s a painful process.
To end my misery, I let John use Nuance Dragon Professional Individual 15 on my laptop.
Watching him use Dragon voice recognition software for the first time was a little bit painful, but not as painful as watching him type.
Long story, short, it was incredibly quicker for John to speak normally and get all of his ideas down on paper by speaking instead of typing.
The only training we had to do was to put the headset on John’s head and get him to do an audio check.
(Well, I did have to tell him to bring down the mic boom so it was in front of his mouth, but I don’t consider that part of the voice software training.)
Actually, come to think of it, if we slowed down to actually read the instructions from the Dragon software, it’s pretty self-explanatory. We were just were trying to get to “typing” out our ideas.
It took John maybe two minutes to read the paragraph for the audio microphone check.
When John got to the end of the paragraph, I had to ask him to start reading the paragraph again from the start, even though he literally just read that he had to do that out loud.
Eventually, Dragon adjusted to John’s voice and we opened up DragonPad, the built-in dictation app that comes with Dragon Naturally Speaking. It’s like WordPad… but for Dragon. Name checks out.
I think the hardest thing about having John use Nuance Dragon Naturally Speaking was getting him to say the word “period” at the end of the sentences. If you don’t do that, Dragon tends to give you gigantic run-on sentences.
He would say it every now and then, but to get him into the habit, I had to literally hold up a sign that said “period” every time that he needed to add a full stop.
He got better by the end of his blog posts, but to be fair, this was literally his first time using the software. I’m sure he’ll get much better with practice.
In the same amount of time that it took John to type out his first two paragraphs on the computer, we were able to dictate out two pages worth of ideas.
1. It’s really easy to start dictating with your voice.
Especially now in the current versions of the software.
I remember using older versions of Nuance Dragon Naturally Speaking where you had to read pages and pages of stuff to get it to recognize your voice. Now, it’s pretty accurate, straight out of the box with no training.
All you need to do is literally plug in a headset and just do a microphone check by reading a paragraph, and then you’re off and away, blogging your views of the world.
(WARNING: some microphone headsets work better than others. Check this help file out on the Nuance website.)
2. I really like DragonPad which is a little word processor program that comes with Nuance Dragon Professional Individual 15
I don’t have to worry about installing things into my browser to try to get Dragon Professional Individual to work.
To be perfectly honest, when I blog longer articles, I always dictate directly into DragonPad, than Google Chrome. It makes me much happier.
Later on, I just copy and paste the transcribed text from DragonPad into WordPress. Plus, DragonPad recorded the audio so later on, as we are fixing some of John’s words, we could just replay that section of the speech and try to figure what he originally said.
Note: you can dictate directly into Internet Explorer or Google Chrome, but we didn’t have a lot of time. And I didn’t want to waste time by asking him to wait patiently as I made sure that the driver or the extensions were installed in the browser.
He was in the middle of writing a blog post, and I had a faster way for him to get his ideas on paper.
I just wanted to get him to start dictating. So that’s why I went with DragonPad. I supposed we could have used Microsoft Word, but meh.
3. Talking is easier for some people, rather than typing.
When I was watching John, he sounded best when he was just able to stand up and talk naturally.
I know sometimes when he’s writing, John comes across much more stiff and formal. His natural voice doesn’t come across on paper as well as it does when he’s talking.
So using Dragon Home or Dragon Professional Individual would probably help John a lot because he can just get his ideas down and then later on fix the grammar. (Or, get a copy editor to fix the grammar.)
Note: There is a difference between Dragon Home vs Dragon Professional. And, it’s not just price.
Using voice recognition software is probably a good thing for John.
- Just talking and getting ideas down is a lot quicker and easier for John than typing.
- When he types, he gets distracted by fixing spelling mistakes, choosing the right word or changing formatting.
- He even said it was a lot easier to get all of his ideas down.
I was actually impressed with the software because John was just talking naturally and then every now and then Dragon Naturally Speaking would just spit out the entire sentence and it was pretty close to what John said.
I don’t have the accuracy rates for him, but that’s probably something I’ll look at next time.
I did notice that there were a few mistakes, but Dragon Professional creates a voice profile as it gets to know you, especially as you correct mistakes.
4. The one Dragon Professional command I had to teach John…
The one command that I did have to teach John was how to turn the microphone off and that’s by saying “go to sleep.” And then of course, “wake up.” Over time he got the hang of it.
(I supposed we could have used the “+” sign on the numberpad which is the hotkey to turn things on and off. Maybe next time.)
Hmm, I did try to teach John the command, “scratch that,” but he was a little bit nervous because he thought that might wipe out entire sections of what he just wrote because he doesn’t really breathe to speak.
That might be true. It might wipe out a sentence, but it wouldn’t wipe out an entire paragraph. Dragon Naturally Speaking works in words and phrases, so I guess how much you lose would depend on how frequently you pause.
5. Why I had to move away from John as he was using Dragon Professional Individual 15
When I was talking to John, sometimes his microphone would pick up what I was saying and you could see the little Dragon symbol spinning to say that it was thinking.
So I had to move and sit a little bit away just so that we could have a conversation but so I wasn’t interrupting his voice dictation.
(I was prompting him with topics and questions to guide his writing.)
I have seen at a conference, demonstrators use Dragon Naturally Speaking in a crowded room with a lot of background noise and people dictating with just a USB headset.
Maybe because we were in a quiet room, the microphone was picking up my voice. Not sure why I had to move away, really, but I didn’t want to slow down John’s flow.
I noticed one of the things that slowed him down a little bit was when he chose to add punctuation words like “comma”
His writing probably would come up better if he just worried about saying “period” only and not pay attention to the other punctuation marks. He did say “question mark” without any problems.
I guess, you just get used to speaking out punctuation marks, but if you’re just starting, I’d only worry about “periods.”
Next steps – Correcting our errors using Nuance Dragon Naturally Speaking
I read on the Nuance Dragon Naturally Speaking help page that it suggests taking the time to make corrections as a way to help Dragon to learn.
I think one of our mistakes was that we had John dictate his entire blog post in DragonPad, and then we just immediately copied that into a Google Doc and started doing our corrections and editing there.
Next time, I think we should correct the misheard words within DragonPad itself.
Even though the initial paragraphs might’ve been said a while ago, it seems like DragonPad actually remembers the dictated text. It records a voice file with your text file and you can actually use all the correction and the fixing commands that Dragon has.
Normally when I use Dragon, speak naturally, and blog, I fix mistakes on the go.
I say a sentence, and then I look to see how many mistakes there are, and then I slow down my writing process and fix the mistake (while also taking note of the dictation error so that I can count the number of errors at the end.)
I think this might be a little bit more accurate because you’re correcting and training Dragon as you go along. Initially this feels a little bit more artificial because you’re constantly stopping to correct things.
With this post, all I did was use Dragon and spoke normally and naturally into DragonPad. I’m just talking. I’m standing up and talking at the screen; not really looking at the screen.
And at the end, I’ll go back and listen to all of the things I said in DragonPad. Count the number of errors. And then that way not interrupt the flow of writing.
(UPDATE: I did fix the errors at the end, and found this post had an accuracy of around 96.9%. Not bad, but if you look at the list of errors that Dragon Naturally Speaking made at the bottom of this post, I bet you some errors wouldn’t have happened a second time, if I fixed them to begin with. For example, if I trained the phrase “DragonPad” the first time it heard “Dragon pad”, it would have transcribed it correctly the next 3 times.)
Would I recommend Nuance Dragon Professional Individual 15 (which is what I’m using) for a new guy like John?
Well, probably not.
John doesn’t have a lot of money to spend. Nuance Dragon Professional Individual 15 is $300, although sometimes when it’s on sale, you can get it for less.
If you’re lucky and you can get Nuance Dragon Professional on sale, then I would definitely get Dragon Professional because of the extra features.
But, if money is tight and all you’re looking for is speech-to-text software, then $300 is definitely not worth the money, especially when you can get the same quality of audio transcription in the Home edition.
However, I would recommend Nuance Dragon Home 15 for John because it gets stuff typed out faster than him actually typing it out.
Nuance Dragon Professional Coupon Code / Sale Info
PRO TIP: If you go to the shopping cart, sometimes you get a popup savings off of 10% off of everything in your shopping cart.
So you could get:
- Nuance Dragon Professional Individual 15 (digital download) for $300
- Nuance Dragon Bluetooth Wireless Headset for $99.99 (normally $149.99)
- Discount on order: -$40
- Shipping for the headset in the US: $9.95
- Sub-Total: $369.94
Without any discounts,
- Nuance Dragon Professional Individual 15 (digital download) for $300
- Nuance Dragon Bluetooth Wireless Headset for $149.99
- Shipping for the in the US: $9.95
- Sub-Total: $459.94
So this is essentially saving you 20% off of Nuance Dragon Professional Individual 15 + Bluetooth Wireless Headset. (Save $90) Not bad!
Here’s a screenshot of the shopping cart:
Use Dragon Naturally Speaking and get it done.
This post was written using Nuance Dragon Naturally Speaking (Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12.5 Premium)When I wrote the first draft of this post, Nuance Dragon Voice Software was 98.3% accurate. Although I spoke naturally, the voice recognition software made 27 mistakes out of 1567 words.
- Nuance offers two versions of their voice software. Read this blog post comparing Dragon Professional vs Dragon Home 15.
- UPDATE (Tue, Dec 10, 2019): By the way, I still use Dragon Professional 15 to blog and write things down – even though I type at 100+ WPM. The last post I dictated was this one about a free New Year’s Resolution writing activity.
Article first published on Aug 2, 2013 and last updated on June 4, 2020