Drastic reduction in Dragon's performance
Thread poster: Marie-Hélène Hayles

Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:15
Italian to English
+ ...
Oct 26, 2009

I'm a complete newbie with Dragon - I bought and installed DNS 10 preferred last Thursday. I'm using it with the Plantronics Calisto Bluetooth headset.

On Thursday I ran through the various installation wizards (using the default settings as suggested for newbies) and a couple of general training modules, and I was away. Sure, it had a few problems with various technical terms, but basically it was working fine. Friday was also fine.
But I tried using it today and it was a total disaster!
I've tried rebooting my computer, re-completing the audio wizard, as this morning it told me for some strange reason that I hadn't run through the Audio settings check (I had, but I did it again anyway, using the same default as it told me to the first time), going through more training (including one of the same ones I did last week - I couldn't even make it to the end of the module, as it didn't understand a word I was saying), and running the acoustic and language optimiser. To give you an idea how bad it still is:

What I said: help with dragon What it wrote: The and
What I said: dragon is not working properly What it wrote: will tell you
What I said: I have run through the general training What it wrote: in the early

I’ve just re-run the audio check (which it passes with a score of 19) and played back my recording, which is perfectly comprehensible.
So what on earth is going on? Can anyone help?


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Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:15
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Help Oct 26, 2009

I do not know the answer, but one possibility is that Dragon is treating some of your words as commands, not words. The obvious example is when you say Help with Dragon. Assuming there was a slight pause before you said that, sometimes the effect is the same as clicking on the menu option Help, followed by some unpredictable results.

However, you should be able to see that happening. But I have found that quite often Dragon will react in unexpected ways -- for an example jumping to a previous occurrence of the word.

You can force Dragon to interpret what you are saying as text, not a command, by pressing the Shift key while dictating. Worth trying.

That has just happened to me -- I said "a command" and instead of displaying those words it jumped to the MyCommands Editor. Very confusing.

If none of that works, I suggest trying different positions for the microphone. Also speaking more slowly and/or more clearly. Gradually you will master Dragon can appreciate the benefits.


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:15
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Peter.... Oct 26, 2009

But the point is I'm doing exactly what I was doing last week, when it worked fine!
I do take your point about the "help" thing (it kept happening to me on Friday when I was trying to say "copy of"), although in this case I think it didn't understand anything I said anyway. In fact it's taking a long time to type anything at all, whereas last week it was almost instantaneous (and accurate instead of nonsensical).

I've tried shifting my mike position around but it's made no difference.


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Giuseppina Gatta, MA (Hons)
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Did you try with another headset/mic? Oct 26, 2009

Hi Marie-Hèléne,

Something similar happened to my husband. He tried with another headset and he discovered that this was the problem.

Sometimes, even if the score you receive from the program is good, there are other problems. He had a good score with the first mic, but all he could get from the program was "hehehehe" (which was pretty funny to see), but when he changed the mic, even with a worse score, the program worked better.

So I suggest to try with other hardware, in order to find out what is going wrong.


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Patricia Rosas  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:15
Spanish to English
+ ...
Under "Words"? Oct 26, 2009

Marie-Hélène Hayles wrote:

But the point is I'm doing exactly what I was doing last week, when it worked fine!
I do take your point about the "help" thing (it kept happening to me on Friday when I was trying to say "copy of"), although in this case I think it didn't understand anything I said anyway. In fact it's taking a long time to type anything at all, whereas last week it was almost instantaneous (and accurate instead of nonsensical).

I've tried shifting my mike position around but it's made no difference.


I'm afraid I'm probably not going to help much but have you checked that you are in "normal" or "dictation" mode (go to the Dragon bar under the menu entitled "words")?

Sometimes Dragon does some very strange things and then all of a sudden the problem stops, and everything goes back to normal. I hope that you don't give up in frustration.

Patricia


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Richard Walker
Local time: 23:15
Japanese to English
Sounds like the mic Oct 26, 2009

From my experience, it's probably your mic. You can do a simple check by completing the Audio Setup Wizard and then listening to the playback of Part 2. Bluetooth mics tend to have lots of static and clip the beginnings/ends of words. DNS's Bluetooth settings try to compensate for this, but when the sound quality becomes too degraded it can spend a long time trying to figure out what it's hearing and then come up with something completely bizarre, which is what it sounds like is happening with you.

Having used any number of mics over the years, it’s actually quite amazing the impact they can have not just on DNS’s output, but on its speed. It's also amazing how little relevance the "audio quality score" has to actual audio quality.


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:15
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Problem resolved? Oct 26, 2009

Thanks for your suggestions, everyone.

Funnily enough the problem was connected with the mike, in that the default suggested by Dragon was actually my laptop's in-built mike, rather than the nice fancy wireless one that came with Dragon! (As I discovered when my IT expert hubby came home.) Changing over to the right mike made a huge difference. Of course it's still a mystery why the comp's in-built mike worked absolutely fine last week and not today, when absolutely nothing in the set-up had changed...

Anyway I'm reserving judgement until I fire up tomorrow and see how it goes (I'm typing this with good old-fashioned finger power).

[Edited at 2009-10-26 21:40 GMT]


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Patricia Rosas  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:15
Spanish to English
+ ...
please do keep us posted on your progress ... Oct 27, 2009

Marie-Hélène Hayles wrote:

Anyway I'm reserving judgement until I fire up tomorrow and see how it goes (I'm typing this with good old-fashioned finger power).

[Edited at 2009-10-26 21:40 GMT]


I'm curious to know how things are going today. I hope all is resolved.

One suggestion: be careful when using the "tools->options" window. Yesterday, having had to start all over on a new laptop after my other one crashed on Friday, I toggled on "enable double click to correct". Then when I went to edit my translation (manually), every time I double-clicked to type over something didn't like, the correction box in DNS appeared. Took me a while to remember what I'd change and change it back.

Good luck!
Patricia


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:15
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Today it's been fine Oct 27, 2009

Using the proper mike and everything has been fine. I'm now wondering if the problem I experienced yesterday with the laptop mike was something as daft as the lid angle (I have it plugged into a monitor, so I don't use the laptop screen) - maybe I just didn't have it open as wide yesterday...

Anyway, it's been fine today - let's hope it stays that way.

Thanks for all your suggestions, everyone.


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Paul Cohen  Identity Verified
Greenland
Local time: 11:15
German to English
+ ...
The angle between your mouth and the mic can be crucial. Oct 27, 2009

Marie-Hélène Hayles wrote:

Using the proper mike and everything has been fine. I'm now wondering if the problem I experienced yesterday with the laptop mike was something as daft as the lid angle (I have it plugged into a monitor, so I don't use the laptop screen) - maybe I just didn't have it open as wide yesterday...


It sounds a bit crazy, yes, but it could have been the angle of the lid on your laptop that was causing the problem. I use a headset with a built-in mic and occasionally, if it slips down on my head just an inch or so, Dragon has serious trouble understanding me and produces nonsense like the examples that you've given here. Generally speaking, the mic on a headset has to be only about an inch or two away from my mouth.

Hope the beast gives you no more troubles, Marie-Hélène!


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Michael Barnett
Local time: 09:15
English
+ ...
Typical mic problem... Oct 27, 2009

I suspected right away that the mic was your problem.

I have tried quite a few mics, including the Plantronics Bluetooth unit that comes with the software. I was not overly impressed, even with it.

Check out the precision instruments at knowbrainer.com.

Regards,

Michael


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