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Is anyone else having trouble using Dragon?
Thread poster: Astrid Elke Witte

Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:57
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Nov 4, 2006

I bought some voice recognition software, which arrived yesterday - Dragon Naturally Speaking 9, Preferred Version. I had hoped to be able to use it to dictate my translations to the computer.

On attempting to put it into operation, I soon hit the first snag. The first thing that happens after installation is that you have to go through a volume check test. Both this volume check and other tests have to be passed before it is possible to use the software. Unfortunately, although everything was plugged in correctly at the back of my computer, and the only other thing which could not be "correct" was my own voice, I simply could not pass the volume check test, no matter how hard I tried.

Now, firstly I would like to know if this is unusual. I know that I have a rather soft, voice, and that I have had trouble before with recording equipment, at university. However, I cannot believe that it should be technically impossible for me to use this software.

What happened next, after I failed the volume test 20 times over, each time trying to project my voice a little bit better, was that I experimented wildly. First I yelled into the microphone, squeezing it against my lips, then I tried singing. That didn't work, either, until I tried singing at the top of my voice. Finally it seemed loud enough to satisfy the program and, after an hour, I passed the volume check test. However, I don't know what the neighbours thought - I live in a block full of old people!

Since the instructions say that this procedure is to adjust the software successfully to my voice, it will not be adjusted, in any event, because it only adjusted to exertions such as singing at the top of my voice, and I will be wanting to speak in a normal way and at a normal volume when I use the software.

Next came something similar, some sort of audio check. Again, I had trouble passing it and finally got a note on the screen saying that I was allowed to proceed to the next step, but the results might not be very good.

The third test, involving practising reading out a sentence, posed similar problems, but I found a way to cancel that test and move on.

Once the program was finally set up I created a new Word document and started speaking. Whatever I said, however I said it, and however loudly I said it, I got something like the following, with the words appearing on the screen after a very long delay:

"on the of the a in the on the way in the a of......"

Does this program normally work - for anybody? And if so, HOW?

Astrid


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gianfranco  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 03:57
Member (2001)
English to Italian
+ ...
Microphone volume level Nov 4, 2006

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:
...
What happened next, after I failed the volume test 20 times over, each time trying to project my voice a little bit better, was that I experimented wildly. First I yelled into the microphone, squeezing it against my lips, then I tried singing. That didn't work, either, until I tried singing at the top of my voice. Finally it seemed loud enough to satisfy the program and, after an hour, I passed the volume check test.
...


Have you checked the Microphone settings in your system?
Do you know where to find them?
I assume that you are using Windows, and that you know where to find the Volume Control applet.

Make sure the Microphone setting is visible (if its not visible, go to Properties and tick it), and check that the volume level is not too low. Then try again the volume test....

bye
Gianfranco



[Edited at 2006-11-04 13:57]


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:57
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I didn't know there were any volume controls on the PC itself Nov 4, 2006

Hi Gianfranco,

Thanks for the tip. Where do I find the volume controls on the PC itself? I didn't know there were any, because I hardly ever turn on the sound of my computer.

Astrid


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Lucinda  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:57
Member (2002)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Dragon Naturally Speaking 8 Professional Edition Nov 4, 2006

Hi Astrid,

About a year ago, I purchased Dragon Naturally Speaking, Version 8 Professional Edition and I must say that I am not pleased with it. It is very cumbersome to install like you experienced and since then I have not been able to 'train' it like I am supposed or want to.

First, I work with background music and that had to be off because it seemed to interfere. I did not like that. Then I am not sure if it is because I work on highly technical translations - I cannot seem to get it to 'train' to that. It also does not work well in my other specaialty 'medicine' so after figuring that I was losing money, I disconnected it and went back to my old way - typing in the translation.

Here again also not a happy customer. Perhaps some colleagues can shed light on this.

Have a great weekend!

Lucinda


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:57
Member (2004)
English to Italian
Volume... Nov 4, 2006

XP in English...

Start > Control Panel > Sounds and Audio Devices > Volume...


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:57
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Got it fixed! Nov 4, 2006

Thanks, Giovanni!

I found it, and also found out that both "line-in" and "microphone" sound were completely switched off!

Now I can start again with Dragon, and see if it does work after all.

Hi Lucinda!

Looks like it may not be quite so awful after all, but I have to try again now, after having found the volume controls.

I can believe it is problematic with background music switched on. I hadn't thought of that one!

I am about to find out whether it understands legal terminology.

Astrid


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:57
French to English
Background music Nov 4, 2006

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:

I can believe it is problematic with background music switched on. I hadn't thought of that one!



If you go through the training procedure with background music on, it should be able to cope. It's supposed to be able to deal with some background noise. At least, I don't have any trouble with it any more. I initially made the mistake of training it in utter silence, so when I first used it for real, it was picking up the radio and trying to write out the football commentary Train it with the radio on in the background, and no problem!


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Luisa Ramos, CT  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:57
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
Training for your accent Nov 4, 2006

[quote]Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:

The third test, involving practising reading out a sentence, posed similar problems, but I found a way to cancel that test and move on.

Once the program was finally set up I created a new Word document and started speaking. Whatever I said, however I said it, and however loudly I said it, I got something like the following, with the words appearing on the screen after a very long delay:

-----------------------

Astrid, the whole idea of the program is to "train" it to recognize your voice and your accent. Is that what you skipped? If you did, it would not recognize your voice and accent and would not know what to write. Maybe that is why you got garbage on the screen.

My problem is different. I have never been able to make it work. Regardless of the training sessions, and although I speak very clearly, it seems to expect a particular "Castilian Spanish" accent that I do not have. Has anyone else encountered this problem, either in Spanish or in English?


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Luisa Ramos, CT  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:57
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
It is a miracle! Nov 4, 2006

Luisa Ramos wrote:

My problem is different. I have never been able to make it work. Regardless of the training sessions, and although I speak very clearly, it seems to expect a particular "Castilian Spanish" accent that I do not have. Has anyone else encountered this problem, either in Spanish or in English?


After I wrote this I decided to give it a try again and, lo and behold, it works! I distinctly remember that I was never able to do it, so I do not know what might have taken place since the last time I tried it a very long time ago. However, I must say that I write extremely fast and accurately and this might slow me down. But sometimes I get "tennis elbow" so it will come in handy.


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:57
Member (2002)
German to English
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TOPIC STARTER
Accent? Nov 4, 2006

Hi Luisa,

I have a standard English accent, and I sent off to the UK for the UK English version of Dragon. However, the reason I skipped that step was that it presented me with the same sentence about 50 times over and would not accept my rendering of it or move on - which was absolutely no fun! I just needed to get past it, to start the program.

However, I have meanwhile established that some volume controls needed to be set on my computer, and, when I finally found them this afternoon, the microphone volume was switched off completely - which explains why yelling at the thing yesterday didn't help.

Astrid


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:57
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
It's no good - the volume check still won't complete Nov 4, 2006

I thought I had it fixed - but it still won't pass the volume check. All the settings on my computer are turned up to top volume now, but it just keeps coming up with an error message saying, "Volume too low". I guess I have simply wasted my money.

Astrid

P.S. I think it might be the problem that it is not possible to save the new settings. The microphone just keeps turning itself off again automatically, every time I switch it on.

[Edited at 2006-11-04 17:50]


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Christel Zipfel  Identity Verified
Italy
Member (2004)
Italian to German
+ ...
It might be a hardware problem Nov 4, 2006

Dear Astrid,
are you sure your micro is working?

To check this, go to control panel - sounds (I have an Italian Windows so I don't know the exact wording - in German it should be "Sounds und Audiogeräte" anyway).

Under "voice" or something like that (the fourth tab from left) you find: "Voice registration" and then "hardware check". Do this hardware check. If your micro doesn't work, Dragon won't recognize anything:-)

Good luck!


I read now your post.

Keep calm, you didn't waste your money for sure!

If your microphone doesn't work, this could be due to your audio driver.

I went through a similar problem some time ago. I wanted to use Skype for VoIp calls, but my brand new microphone didn't work. I bought even a second one to be sure
Finally, I discovered that I had to reinstall the audio driver of the machine. Probably - I don't remember - I was helped by the customer service of my computer and they told me where to download it. Since then everything works perfectly.

Some more patience and you'll manage it!



[Bearbeitet am 2006-11-04 18:04]

[Bearbeitet am 2006-11-04 23:05]


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Suzanne Blangsted  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:57
Danish to English
+ ...
Dragon talk Nov 4, 2006

It is not only the Dragon you will have to train but yourself. Most people getting started with the Dragon believe it is just to install it and then talk to it like to a person. I have used the Dragon since it came on the market a decade ago, when it cost US$2500 for the medical professional version. That was in the dark ages of voice recognition. The newer version are so easy to work with compared with the first ones.

You will need to understand the program by reading the manual, and you will need to take the time to let the Dragon get to know your voice. I have a Danish accent dictating in English, but that does not bother the Dragon.

There will be mistakes, but when corrected immediately, the Dragon behaves correctly.

Again, you will need to KNOW the program by taking the time to work with the Dragon. You should also know how your computers hardware works in connection with any program that is installed.

Again, I have used the Dragon for a decade now and find it a very useful tool. I used to type 150 words a minute but my hands wore out and I got osteoarthritis, so the Dragon is a necessity for me now.

Good luck, if you have a little patience with yourself and the Dragon, you will master the program in no time and enjoy it.

[Edited at 2006-11-04 18:36]


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:57
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Hardware is working Nov 4, 2006

Thanks. I did the hardware test, and a note came up to say that the hardware works perfectly.

Then a note came up on the screen to say that Windows Firewall was blocking it, so I turned that off, but still nothing works. And the microphone setting on the computer keeps switching off automatically every 30 seconds, but, even when it is switched on, and there is a loud sizzling sound coming from the speakers, to show that everything is working, Dragon just refuses to pass the volume check test. I have tried speaking louder and louder again, but still it finds the volume too low. There is no solution, is there? None at all! Obviously Dragon is not intended to work, it's just a fraud; a complete con.

Astrid


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Heike Steffens  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:57
Italian to German
+ ...
No fraud at all .... Nov 4, 2006

Dear Astrid,

I can perfectly understand your annoyance when things don't seem to work as they are expected to, but I can assure you that the programme does work very very well and I have installed even two versions (the German and the Italian one), which I was afraid could create severe problems.

Sorry for not offering you the help you need, but maybe you could try to contact the Nuance-Support at http://support.nuance.com/?

Maybe they can help you through these unwanted problems.

Best
Heike


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