on July 28, 2012
I am a mac user at work, I love macs. DragonDictate is awful on the mac compared to Naturally Speaking (same company) on windows. In fact I could not get it to work after a week emailing Nuance in office 2011 on Lion. The microphone would go inexplicably silent and things were just difficult. An alien experience on a mac. I do not like windows, but my daughter needs this software so Naturally Speaking is head shoulders above Dictate, in fact, dictate cannot even get off the floor.
on August 5, 2011
This is a product that has a clear and identifiable market. This product possesses some refined audio-to-text algorithms. It offers a variety of microphone input sources, but the included microphone headset is generally the most accurate (although the corded one feels like 'cheap' plastic (because it is) & uncomfortable perched on your head (no padding).
The program allows one to train the software for certain words / speech patterns that don't come up properly in it's Speech recognition. However, understanding what happens after you train the program to identify your speech and when it actually begins to work are 2 different matters. There is a lot of trial and error required, by the user, to get it working reasonably; which is very un-Mac like. For instance, while one is investing in training it is, seemingly (to the user), more efficient to have the Vocabulary Training window open- on the side, rather than wait to close it down each & every time you enter a Speech-trained word. But, you don't find out that the program hasn't saved your word/ way of speaking until it's too late- one realises that without closing the window each time it will not save your training (and you are left thinking - "this is not working.."). Why not add a 'Save" button? . There are many instances of this counter-intuitive design .
The menu on the right hand side is vague as to whether these are actual spoken commands or subject titles (you click on them for help and they just sit there). Your only help is either 20 min of waiting on the phone for Tech Support, or going back into the computer to scroll page after page -while you are trying to work in the programme (...oh yeah, don't expect this "...for MAC" product to recognize the useful 3 finger 'Mac' trackpad scroll! while you're searching it's 'Help' Section). For the money requested for this program, this product suffers in the Help department. It's not that it is not there- it is- and when I did find some of it- it seems to be concisely written by people who can communicate clearly (which is an excellent bonus). However, the time & energy required to find the right help works against the intended savings. If this product came with a written manual (that opens flat) like so many good products have (for decades..), it would be a big improvement! As it stands, it will cost me $60 -80 in my time, + gas & mileage & paper/binder- to download the 170 pages of Help manual onto a USB key, drive to a copy place, line up, wait for it to be printed, get an open coil cover, pay for the job, drive back and start where I left off.
But, on the other hand, NUANCE CORP. will save $4 - $5 for not providing a good proper paper manual; plus 50 cents for removing the headset padding. The end result is similar to a company that works diligently to design & build a great performance car; and then the bean-counters decide that they can save $$ by putting cheap tires on it. Add to this that the fuel filler entry, on the sportscar, automatically morphs and changes location (sometimes beneath bodywork) every 200 kms - and you get the picture. You tell everybody you own this great sportscar; but after awhile, you end up leaving it parked in the garage. It's just easier.
If this company wants to save $$ they should fire the boys in the boardroom that swill cost-cutting nonsense & hire 1 good hands-on leader who knows what the end-user experience needs to be like. Then follow their plan to re-build public reviews.
SUMMARY: Good useful program if you are really willing to work & practice at it. Quite useful for creating large text bodies. Making corrections can be very time consumptive. Not efficient for small tasks or short letters. Allows you to use Apple's built-in mic & store it as a mic option; but won't remember the microphone format (volume sensitivity settings) that you had to create to get it to work accurately- so, each time you open DRAGON DICTATE it must be re-set (~30-50 secs) - before you can do anything.
NOTE: I understand(?) that APPLE used NUANCE CORP's excellent algorithm software to develop SIRI - which is smooth, intuitive, and easy to use after some basic tips & practice. If NUANCE hired APPLE to refine the user interface this could easily be 5 stars!
This review is dedicated to all the good reviewers out there who have saved us all time & money in various purchases with their prudent and accurate assessments.