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First try: 1370 words an hour with Dragon Naturally Speaking v8
Thread poster: Nora Diaz

Nora Diaz  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 21:29
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Oct 29, 2005

In a previous thread I'd asked how many words one could expect to translate in one hour with speech recognition software, specifically with Dragon Naturally Speaking 8.

Today I got my copy of DNS8 and decided to see for myself how many words I could do.

It took about 45 min to set up and train the software, and then I did my test.

I'm working on a rather technical document involving manufacturing, inspection, quality control, etc., and even though I wasn't too sure this should be my first try with the new software, well, that's the document I was working on and I couldn't afford to waste valuable time on a dummy dictation, so that's what I used.

I'm happy to report that I was able to do 1370 words in one hour, including all corrections (a lot were needed initially for technical terms and acronyms) and a lot of manual reformatting of the document (due to poor formatting by the original writer, nothing to do with DNS8).

I had used version 5 of Dragon Naturally Speaking and was never entirely happy with the results, but version 8 is a whole other story. Recognition accuracy is amazing, correction is a breeze... I'm impressed.

I'm thinking that if I was able to do 1370 words within my first hour of using the software, with a document that required a lot of pausing due to formatting, and that is mostly bullet points (which also requires a lot of interruption while dictating), I might be able to get even better results with a regular document with regular paragraphs and no formatting problems, and once I learn how to use the software properly and train it further.

I'd love to hear what other colleagues have experienced regarding learning curves and productivity improvements with DNS8.

-Nora

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2005-10-29 10:38]


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Dinny  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 06:29
Italian to Danish
+ ...
To make up for slow typing? Oct 29, 2005

Hi Nora,
Your post made me a bit curious, so I went to check out the DSN8. I'm not quite sure about the advantanges though... Is this programme ment to help slow typers?

I'm a "speed-typer" (just made a small self-test: 256 words in 5 minutes, ergo over 3000 an hour), so it would make no difference for me to dictate for automatic typing (except maybe by relieving some of my shoulder pains!). Of course, I can't speed-type while I'm translating, but still doing around 400-500 words an hour, depending on difficulty. My brain wouldn't work any quicker by using a word recognition programme???

On the other hand, I have a bad memory, so CAT tools are sent from heaven as far as I'm concerned. I don't think DSN8 could be used together with a CAT tool?

I think I'll just await the comments from others before rushing out to buy DSN8


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Nora Diaz  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 21:29
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Do a little experiment Oct 29, 2005

Hi Dinny,

Of course, whether a program like DNS8 will be useful to you is a personal decision.

Unfortunately there is no way to "try before you buy" with DNS8, and even though you could try other speech recognition software, the results might be misleading, as recognition accuracy and ease-of-use varies significantly.

I think you could try another test: if you know that you can translate 400-500 words an hour now, how about "dictating" a translation for one hour (no need to have the software, just to check how far you could get) and seeing whether you could dictate more than 400-500 words within the same period of time. I would suggest doing this test with text that you haven't translated yet, and including all the usual interruptions, then maybe subtracting 10-15% of the words for any initial training and correction you will need to do.

Please note that this is highly unscientific, but it's what I did before deciding to go get the software.

On the other hand, DNS8 does work with Trados, and basically with any other program you have in your computer.

Another possibility that is new in DNS8, is the ability to dictate your translation into a portable digital recorder, pocket PC or the like, then importing the file into your computer and having Dragon do all the transcribing. I haven't tried that yet but it sure sounds interesting.

-Nora

[Edited at 2005-10-29 17:39]


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Daniele Martoglio  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:29
Polish to Italian
+ ...
texts are not only words... Oct 29, 2005

Nora Diaz wrote:
,
,
.
"",
, , - - .
: - , " " ( ) - . , - % .
, .
, , .
, , , .


this is your last post, but WITHOUT WORDS.
i've a question: DNS8 write no commas, no points, and so on? Because the text-formatting also is time compsuming..

Daniele


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Nora Diaz  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 21:29
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
You dictate them Oct 29, 2005

You have two options:

1) Dictate all punctuation as you go
2) Use a "speech only" option (I think that's what it's called), in which Dragon detects speech pauses and inserts commas and periods appropriately.

When translating, I think it's better to dictate the punctuation, so for instance, if you want DNS8 to type:

The boy, whose hair was long, said: "I need a haircut".

You would literally dictate:

Cap the boy comma whose hair was long comma said colon open quotes i need a haircut close quotes period

It sounds a lot harder than it is, and after doing it for a while, you get used to it.

According to the help file you can actually format (bold, underline, italics, tabs, etc.) all text by using speech commands, but I haven't gotten that far yet.

Also, consider that the most effective use of DNS8 for translators is a combination of speech recognition and the quick keyboard shortcuts we use all the time.

For example, I just finished dictating text in a table in Word. Even though I could say the command "tab" to move from cell to cell, I found it easier to use the tab key on my keyboard, since my hands were free anyway.

I hope that helps you get a better idea of what's involved. I myself am just going through the learning process, but this morning I dictated another 2000 words, this time using Word, Trados AND DNS8, and I'm getting more proficient every time.

Best,

Nora

[Edited at 2005-10-29 20:52]

[Edited at 2005-10-29 20:54]


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Dinny  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 06:29
Italian to Danish
+ ...
I will try to dictate a translation and see what comes out Oct 30, 2005

Nora, I'll try what you suggested. Remembering that years ago when I worked as a secretary for a lawyer he actually dictated quicker than I could manage to type - fortunately dictaphones have pause-pedals!

Let us know how things are proceeding when you involve a CAT tool, will you?

However, I fear the programme would have a little problem with Danish? Or is there software for any language? I mean, Danish is not written as it is spoken, far from it, and we have other characters in the alfabet, like æ, ø, å.



[Edited at 2005-10-30 06:34]


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Nora Diaz  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 21:29
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
There probably is a Danish version Oct 30, 2005

Dinny,

I'm not 100% sure about Danish, but there are a lot of different language versions for this software. You basically have to buy the one that includes your language.

In my case, I have the Spanish version, and it also includes English, so I can dictate in either English or Spanish (though not at the same time, you have to switch "users" so the program will change the speech patterns to be recognized), but not in any other language.

Spanish also has a few characters that don't exist in English, such as ñ, á, ü, ¿, ¡, etc., and everything works perfectly.

Go to their website www.scansoft.com and I'm sure you'll find some information there about all the languages available.

By the way, it works perfectly with Trados (I have Trados 7). You just open a translation unit the way you normally would, dictate your translation, close the unit and move on the next one. I've been using my usual Trados keyboard shortcuts, as that seems to speed up the flow, rather than trying to use speech to open and close the TUs.

One other thing I've realized is that you don't really have to strain your voice. I'm using a very sensitive microphone, so it works perfectly fine even if I'm almost whispering.

-Nora


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Peter Bouillon  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:29
Member (2005)
French to German
+ ...
How do you manage editing? Oct 30, 2005

Nora Diaz wrote:

By the way, it works perfectly with Trados (I have Trados 7).


So what happens when you meet a pre-translated segment? Do you edit with speech commands (something along the lines of "Select the third word from the left, move that three words further up, go to the last word, delete four trailing letters, add "ng"...")?

Interested,

P.B.


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Dinny  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 06:29
Italian to Danish
+ ...
Cannot! Oct 30, 2005

This new exiciting adventure just bumped into a firewall.
The Dragon software doesn't come in a Danish version.


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Nora Diaz  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 21:29
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
You're close Oct 30, 2005


So what happens when you meet a pre-translated segment? Do you edit with speech commands (something along the lines of "Select the third word from the left, move that three words further up, go to the last word, delete four trailing letters, add "ng"...")?



Hi Peter,

According to the help file, that's exactly what you need to do. I must confess I'm not proficient enough yet to use only speech commands, so what I'm doing so far is using a combination of speech for the actual translation and my mouse/keyboard for all text moving, repositioning, etc.

For example, if I get a segment where I need to replace a whole phrase, I will select the phrase with my mouse/heyboard, then dictate the new phrase, which replaces the selection just as if you had typed it in.

I will report more as I keep learning. In the meantime, if you're interested in seeing exactly what commands would be involved, you can download the user's guide from ftp://ftp.scansoft.com/files/support/manuals/dns8_usergd.pdf, and look at page 41, Correcting and Editing.

-Nora



[Edited at 2005-10-30 19:00]


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Nora Diaz  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 21:29
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Oh, that's too bad! Oct 30, 2005

Dinny wrote:


This new exiciting adventure just bumped into a firewall.
The Dragon software doesn't come in a Danish version.



That's too bad! Maybe they'll have it in the future.

-Nora


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Angus Woo
Local time: 12:29
Chinese to English
+ ...
No Chinese version either. Oct 30, 2005

Dragon supports neither Mandarin Chinese nor Cantonese. There are more than 30 million people using traditional Chinese everyday, not to mention the simplified Chinese used by 1.3 billion mainlanders.

It’s hard to imagine why they simply chose to ignore a huge market of this size.


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Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 22:29
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Dragon Naturally Speaking 8 Dec 8, 2005

Nora Diaz wrote:

Dinny wrote:


This new exiciting adventure just bumped into a firewall.
The Dragon software doesn't come in a Danish version.



That's too bad! Maybe they'll have it in the future.

-Nora


Hi Nora. From your reading I think you translate mainly from English to Spanish, am I right?

You say you translated initially (in Octobe 29) 1370 words an hour. Today is December 8th. How many words are you translating an hour? In a month? How much has your monthly translation percentage increased compared to a translation without DNS 8 ?

Did you buy the DNS 8 used in english-speaking countries or a Spanish-oriented DNS 8? My only fear is that I could buy a DNS 8 and then, when speaking, it recognises my spanish words into english ones.

Where did you bought it? I have seen some DNS versions (6 or older) in big stores but haven't seen yet the DNS8.

Sorry for the quetions but I want to buy it too. It seems to be a great help. Thank you very much.


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Nora Diaz  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 21:29
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
It's still pretty consistent, and I'm hoping it will get even better Dec 9, 2005

Hi Yaotl:

I translate both English to Spanish and Spanish to English, and I have used DNS8 for both.

Depending on the text, and on how much training I'm willing to do for a particular topic, I can get from 1300 to 1800 words an hour. However, I should be honest and say there are some topics for which I haven't found it entirely appropriate yet. Mainly because I haven't had the time to train the software in some of the terminology, and training as you go can be time-consuming, so typing is faster in that case (I'm thinking medical terminology, for the most part).

Regarding your question about how many words I'm translating a month with DNS8, I think I should clarify that I'm using it as an additional tool, and that it hasn't entirely replaced typing, for a couple of reasons: one, I lost my voice for almost an entire week (not due to DNS), so dictation was not an option for a while; two, sometimes it's too noisy around here (I have two young children) to dictate accurately. Plus, I don't want to be speaking all day long.

On the plus side, if I don't want to be interrupted, I like to use DNS8. It looks like you're busier, because you're dictating, so people around you tend to interrupt less, I've found. It's also a nice break from typing, it kind of changes your pace, so I like to alternate between the two.

One thing that was time-consuming at the beginning was proofreading the final document to look for missing one-letter words. For instance, if I dictated "se van a agotar", the software would write "se van agotar". Training the phrase (you select it, then read it to the software, which then matches the written phrase to the spoken form and "learns" from that) will take care of similar sound combinations in the future, but you have to take the time at the beginning to catch all those little things and correct them.

I bought the Preferred edition in Spanish, and got it at Sam's Club (I don't know if I'm allowed to give store names here). With this version you can dictate either in English or in Spanish, though not at the same time. You have to switch users, so you basically create two users, and set English for one, Spanish for the other one. Be careful not to get the English-only version, since that won't allow you to dictate in Spanish.

Somehow I feel that if I could find the time to train the software extensively, I would be using it more and more, and I hope that will happen in the future. I've just been too busy, but I am definitely glad I have this tool.

Saludos!

Nora


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Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 22:29
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Gracias, Nora Dec 12, 2005

Thank you very much for your kind and detailed answers. Yes, I'll buy it and I've plans to do a similar thing: use it but not all the day because I get tired of speaking too. II'll alternate it with typing


have a nice day


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