Dragon Naturally Speaking
Thread poster: Daniela Magnoni (X)

Daniela Magnoni (X)
Local time: 12:03
English to Italian
+ ...
May 22, 2007

Hi everybody,
I was wondering whether any of you use Dragon Naturally Speaking (standard 9 or professional) and what you make of it. I would also like to know whether it can be set to recognise both Italian and English or just Italian. Plus, are differences between the standard and the professional versions relevant for translators? Would you recommend it? Are there any other valuable products of this kind?
Thank you in advance
Daniela Magnoni


Margreet Logmans (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:03
English to Dutch
+ ...
English & Dutch May 22, 2007

Hi Daniela,

yes, I would definitely recommand DNS. I use the professional version and I've never used any other, so I don't know much about the differences.

I can tell you, however, that it can be set to more than one language, but as fas as I know, you have to create a user account for each language. That is, I have three different user accounts for Dutch, English UK and English US. You have to train each of them separately.

It says you work a lot faster using DNS; I'm not really sure about that, because I can type really fast. The big advantage for me is the ability to avoid spelling errors and typos. This is especially useful for the differences between English UK and English US; I'm not always sure what spelling to use, DNS is. And it's a good way to prevent RSI.

Only one problem at the moment: I haven't managed to get DNS to work with Windows Vista yet!

There are more speech recognition products available, but I'm quite sure Dragon is the best.


P.S. I got a little confused when you said 'standard or professional' - I use DNS 9 Preferred, not Professional. It covers all my needs.

[Edited at 2007-05-22 15:50]


ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:03
English to French
+ ...
Professional not much better than Preferred May 22, 2007

I use Dragon 8 Preferred. I am very happy with it and find that pretty much all my translation needs are catered to by this version. I find that the difference in efficiency and functionality between these two versions is not proportional with the price difference. I sincerely don't understand why the pro version is so expensive. In other applications - for example, when you're a salesrep on the road and need to dictate your quotes while driving - it may be worth it to buy the pro version, but for translation needs, pretty much all functions you are likely to use are already included in the pref version.

If you buy the Italian version of Dragon, then it will let you dictate in either Italian or English. However, it will not let you combine both in the same session. You will have to set up two separate user profiles - one for each language. Switching from one to the other is easy - it's just that you will not be able to dictate one sentence in English and then dictate another right away in Italian without switching profiles.

I use Dragon for pretty much everything. However, I find it less useful when translating lists or Excel files that only contain one or two words per segment. I occasionally dictate my own correspondence as well as longer e-mails. Not everybody would agree, but I find that I have, in average, doubled my productivity since before I picked up Dragon. It is also much easier on your wrists! Much, much easier!

I like using Dragon because I can now get as much work done as before but it only takes half as much time. This enables me to attend outings I wouldn't have been able to attend otherwise. Suddenly, going to the hairdresser's isn't such a challenge anymore.

All the best!

Edit: I just wanted to add that it took me about a week of usage before Dragon started to really understand me. It already understands you right from the start, but it gets up to 99% accuracy after about a week. Of course, if you use it only an hour or so per day, it will take longer. It should start getting really accurate after maybe 50 hours. Also, if I remember correctly, the standard version only lets you give voice commands to your computer but will not let you dictate. Therefore, for translation purposes, the standard version is virtually worthless. I think that for our translating needs, the Preferred version is best.

[Edited at 2007-05-22 15:35]


Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:03
French to English
+ ...
Preferred fine for me too May 22, 2007

I've been using DNS 9 Preferred for a couple of months now and it certainly increases your producitivy on straight texts. It's less useful when you have lots of foreign words/names or equations to reproduce, but still much faster if combined with a TM programme.

I haven't been able to work out why the professional version is so much more expensive as this certainly does all I need it to.

The only slight grouse I have is that after a while it refuses to let me select words or phrases and produces an error message "**** disconnected". Everything else works fine and this is easily circumvented by selecting using the mouse. I just wonder why it happens!

I switched to dictation to prevent RSI and it's brilliant for that. You just have to watch your voice....

Good luck!


Stefanie Sendelbach  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:03
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
DNS 9 Preferred here May 22, 2007

Hi Daniela,

As far as I know, the multi-language input depends on the language version you use. I have DNS 9 Preferred (German), and I can use German and English as input languages. But, as others have already said, you need to set up and train different user accounts for the different languages. The English version might only be able to understand English input, so I suggest you buy an Italian version, which should support both English and Italian.

The Preferred version works in MS Word and Excel, as well as email applications and some other programs that are important to translators. The basic version might not cover so many different programs, but I am not sure about this.

I installed my version last week only, so I am by far no proficient DNS user yet. But I don't regret having bought the software, and my wrists are definitely thankful for the break they get from the constant typing that I used to do. The initial setup took only about 30 minutes, which is a great improvement to previous versions, as far as I know. Now it is about training myself and learning all the different commands that DNS understands.

Like Margreet, I also consider the avoidance of spelling mistakes to be one of the greatest advantages of speech recognition.

Since the prices of speech recognition softwares have gone down drastically in recent years, it is not such a big investment anymore. I bought my (new and original) version on ebay for EUR170 (including VAT).

I'd say, give it a try. Being able to increase the speed of your work and taking the strain from your wrists should be worth it. And if you don't like it, you can always sell it to someone else.


[Edited at 2007-05-22 15:23]


Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:03
Italian to English
DNS 9 Standard May 22, 2007

For better or worse I decided to buy the Standard version.
I'm sorry Viktoria but you're wrong about not being able to dictate with it. Mine has all the facilities and benefits mentioned by others in this thread so far. In fact I don't use it for commands as - in this respect only - I find it slower than using the keyboard (and I'm too lazy to learn them).
When comparing the different products initially, I couldn't identify any benefits offered by Preferred to justify the additional cost and I've seen nothing in this forum yet that makes me think I made the wrong decision, although all my work does tend to be in Word.


Dr. Derk von Moock
Local time: 13:03
Greek to German
+ ...
Voice Pro May 22, 2007

It's just very much better than Voice Pro from linguatech, which I never got to work proper.



Giulia TAPPI  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:03
French to Italian
+ ...
DNS Forum May 23, 2007

First of all, I would like to say DNS has been discussed before in a specific forum.

- You can easily find the differences between the 3 versions on NUANCE (SCANSOFT) website. They mainly concern the software you can use with DNS
- The standard version, in my opinion, is enough if you want to dictate your translations, but just in one language. For instance, if you buy DNS in Italian, you can just dictate in Italian, no English, no other languages
- The preferred version, which combines one language (for instance, Italian) with English, is also useful if you translate in different languages. For instance, I had to buy 2 different preferred versions, one for Italian and one for French, to be able to dictate in French and in Italian. Both also come with English, but I do not use it.
- As far as I know, only the Dutch version has several languages, but no Italian!
- The pro version is really too expensive, and I think is suitable for a firm, not a freelancer like me.
- I think DNS is really super. I was not a very good typist, and now I have really increased my translation speed (up to 13/14 pages a day), and I am no more tired at the end of the day!


Nora Diaz  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:03
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Vista Version Now Available May 23, 2007

I also use DNS Preferred and it works great. Training is a snap. I hardly remembered that, but I've just upgraded to a Vista computer and had to reinstall the program, so I had to go through the training again. It didn't take long and I was dictating within 15 minutes of installing the software. Of course you can also import your speech profiles from your old computer.

I was able to do a 1200-word document in about 30 minutes, even though I had to correct a few words because my speech profiles were virtually empty. With DNS, the more you use it, the better your results.

By the way, I downloaded the new DNS version for Windows Vista from Nuance's website. It's a free upgrade, thankfully, and it installed flawlessly. All you need to do is provide your original serial number to upgrade from DNS 9 to DNS 9.5.



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