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My experience with Dragon to date
Thread poster: Astrid Elke Witte

Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:04
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Feb 18, 2007

After being bombarded last week with one or two rather lengthy legal documents, I made great efforts again to try to use Dragon Naturally Speaking 9 to speed up the process. Aside from the fact that I cannot dictate complete sentences, because I work around the strings of legal abbreviations, etc. (as I start off with the source segment in the target box, which appears practical for this purpose), the following insoluble problems still occur:

1. The constant message in the box at the top of the screen, "Dictating to non-standard window" (i.e. Trados box).

2. Even with strenuous attempts at training Dragon, it does not very often recognise the word "the", and usually types "sir". This is a great obstacle, in view of the rather frequent occurrence of the word "the" in the text.

3. The instructions that came with Dragon state:

"For example, if you say: "Let's meet to discuss the Conzelmann contract."

And the program types:

"Let's meet to discuss the Councilman contract."

You can say: "Select Councilman"."

The problem with that is that Dragon never recognises the text that it typed by mistake. Instead, it always says in the box at the top, "Matching text not found"! Therefore it does not select "Councilman".

According to the instructions, the "correction menu" should then appear. However, we did not get that far, since Dragon did not recognise the text to be selected.

But take heart! We can select the text with the mouse and then get the correction menu by pressing the "correction hot key" (minus key on numeric keypad)! Can we? Well, the only problem with that is that no correction menu appears upon pressing the "correction hot key".

Then, to get a capital letter at the beginning of a word or sentence you are supposed to be able to say "CAP The plaintiff...", for example.

What Dragon actually types, however, is:

"cup the plaintiff..."

Very interesting software, this.

It is a great pity that there is no way of accessing the correction menu when required, because, on those rare occasions that it appears, it makes the job a whole lot easier and the software a lot more useful.

Astrid





[Edited at 2007-02-18 11:53]


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Maurizio Valente  Identity Verified
Italy
English to Italian
+ ...
Quite strange! Feb 18, 2007

I have another (older) version, for dictating in Italian. But I never had these problems.

A few hints:
1. One common problem occurs when the mike is close to nostrils. It should be positioned to the right or to the left of the mouth. This includes initial training. This is about the failed recognition of the sound "the".

2. The quality of the mike matters.

3. I never say "Select Councilman", I just say "Correggi testo" (Edit text?) and the magic happens, ie the Edit window pops up (unless you go on dictating or the mike gets a spurious noise, or you type anything).

4. "CAP The plaintiff.. etc. You can use the MS Word function (auto-capping?). Or you say "Maiuscola iniziale" (=Uppercase).

Again, I've the Italian version, so I don't know the names of the equivalents commands in English.

HTH



Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:

After being bombarded last week with one or two rather lengthy legal documents, I made great efforts again to try to use Dragon Naturally Speaking 9 to speed up the process. Aside from the fact that I cannot dictate complete sentences, because I work around the strings of legal abbreviations, etc. (as I start off with the source segment in the target box, which appears practical for this purpose), the following insoluble problems still occur:

1. The constant message in the box at the top of the screen, "Dictating to non-standard window" (i.e. Trados box).

2. Even with strenuous attempts at training Dragon, it does not very often recognise the word "the", and usually types "sir". This is a great obstacle, in view of the rather frequent occurrence of the word "the" in the text.

3. The instructions that came with Dragon state:

"For example, if you say: "Let's meet to discuss the Conzelmann contract."

And the program types:

"Let's meet to discuss the Councilman contract."

You can say: "Select Councilman"."

The problem with that is that Dragon never recognises the text that it typed by mistake. Instead, it always says in the box at the top, "Matching text not found"! Therefore it does not select "Councilman".

According to the instructions, the "correction menu" should then appear. However, we did not get that far, since Dragon did not recognise the text to be selected.

But take heart! We can select the text with the mouse and then get the correction menu by pressing the "correction hot key" (minus key on numeric keypad)! Can we? Well, the only problem with that is that no correction menu appears upon pressing the "correction hot key".

Then, to get a capital letter at the beginning of a word or sentence you are supposed to be able to say "CAP The plaintiff...", for example.

What Dragon actually types, however, is:

"cup the plaintiff..."

Very interesting software, this.

It is a great pity that there is no way of accessing the correction menu when required, because, on those rare occasions that it appears, it makes the job a whole lot easier and the software a lot more useful.

Astrid





[Edited at 2007-02-18 11:53]


[Edited at 2007-02-18 14:20]


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Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:04
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
+ ...
My experience Feb 18, 2007

I also use Dragon 9 and Trados. There is no doubt that it takes time and patience to get the best out of speech recognition, but it does eventually - particularly for legal translation and its long words and specialist vocabulary.

In addition to Maurizio's excellent advice, I would add:

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:
1. The constant message in the box at the top of the screen, "Dictating to non-standard window" (i.e. Trados box).

Happens occasionally, not sure why, but rarely, and never since I upgraded tp Dragon 9.

2. Even with strenuous attempts at training Dragon, it does not very often recognise the word "the"

A very common problem. Dragon is at its worst with short words, at its best with long ones. I have mostly solved the "the" problem by saying "thee" and training Dragon to output "the".

The problem is that Dragon never recognises the text that it typed by mistake. Instead, it always says in the box at the top, "Matching text not found"! Therefore it does not select "Councilman".

I have just tried the same words, and it works fine to me. Frustrating for you, but it does prove there is light at the end of the Dragon tunnel.

To get a capital letter at the beginning of a word or sentence you are supposed to be able to say "CAP The plaintiff...", for example.
What Dragon actually types, however, is: "cup the plaintiff..."

Yes, a common problem, though happens very much less in Dragon 9. Dragon's Help section has advice about this.

It is a great pity that there is no way of accessing the correction menu when required.

Works fine for me, so there must be some simple answer. Could this keyalready be assigned to some other program? Is NumLock off? Perhaps someone else has a suggestion.

[Edited at 2007-02-18 15:02]


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Buck
Netherlands
Local time: 09:04
Member (2007)
Dutch to English
Considering buying Dragon Feb 18, 2007

Hi. I'm a legal translator. I work full time, but recently started freelancing for the additional income. It is going well. Although I am a good and fast typist, I sometimes get little aches and pains in my hands. The info I have seen on nuance.com's site praises the improved accuracy of version 9, so I was surprised to read about your problems.

Has it been worth the investment?

[Edited at 2007-02-18 15:34]


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Patricia Rosas  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:04
Spanish to English
+ ...
no problems here Feb 18, 2007

Astrid,
Given that my experience with Dragon since November, when I got it, has been fabulous, I'm wondering if it could be an incompatibility with Trados, or even that you are a native speaker of British English. The product was developed in Canada, so the pronunciation of many words would be different.

I do make an extra effort to speak clearly (my wrists are getting a rest, while my lips are working hard to form all the vowels and dipthongs with care).

Patricia


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 09:04
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
A context question Feb 18, 2007

Any experience with other-than-English language in the round?

Thanks in advance

Vito

PS: Maurizio with Italian ... OK

[Edited at 2007-02-18 20:05]


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Hester Eymers  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:04
Member (2005)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Dutch version Feb 19, 2007

Vito Smolej wrote:

Any experience with other-than-English language in the round?

Thanks in advance

Vito



I have been using the Dutch (Standard) version for almost two weeks now, and I have encountered only small problems. I find the program to be learning quite quickly from its mistakes.

Hester

[Edited at 2007-02-20 10:37]


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Ritu Bhanot  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:04
Member (2006)
French to Hindi
+ ...
Version of Dragon 9 Feb 19, 2007

Hi,

I've been thinking of buying it for some time now... but I am confused.

I'd like to know whether you use personal and home edition of Dragon or business and professional. And even in business and professional there are so many choices, so which one do you use?

And I guess you have to use different versions for different languages. Right?

Thanks in advance,

Ritu

[Edited at 2007-02-19 17:54]


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bohy  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:04
English to French
+ ...
Long-time user of Dragon... Feb 19, 2007

I've been using Dragon for about 7 years now, mostly in French. I made some attemps in English, but because I'm not a native English speaker, it makes things more difficult than with my native language...
Since version 6, speak recognition has incredibly improved, but I have learned also a few things which are essential for a satisfactory experience.
First, the hardware is crucial. Previously, I needed an adequate sound card, now on-board audio has improved, I guess. The problem of the headset remains the main problem, I have bought a considerable number of successive headsets, my best results were with digital models, I now have a (foldable, digital) Plantronics DSP400 which works great.
Second, it works better if you dictate entire sentences, at normal speed (the speed at which you made your initial recording). I had a tendancy to speed up the initial training, to save a few minutes; actually you must train the system at the speed you will use when translating (which is obviously slower than the speed at which you read a written text).
Third, you get different results depending in which software you dictate : Dragon is totally integrated with Word, Outlook and a few others, but in some others some of the voice commands are not correctly handled. In some cases, I have used Dragon Editor (where all commands work correctly) and cut-pasted texts. At least, you can check if you have the same problems in Dragon Editor...
Fourth, avoid to leave your microphone open when you don't dictate, otherwise Dragon may try to adapt to the sound level (very low) and pick weird things. I also never save my vocabulary when, for one reason or the other, the work session has not been "clean" (noisy environment, or microphone left "on" by error, or unusual vocabulary entered, etc.).
Fifth, understanding how to work best with Dragon requires time... I would not recommend to start with it on a rush job! Learn to do what is the quickest... there are several ways to open the correction menu (in Dragon editor, you have a contextual menu)!
I hope this will help, but first, first... make sure that you have a good headset !!!

Anne


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:04
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for all your suggestions Mar 13, 2007

Thank you all for your many suggestions. I could not get back to this thread at the time, because I became inundated with work. In the event, I desperately started using Dragon to try to speed up the work, and now, several weeks later, it works much better in many ways! The accuracy has improved a lot after several weeks of regular use. I still have certain problems, but I will bring them up in a new thread.

Thanks again.

Astrid


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