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Basic question about Dragon Naturally Speaking
Thread poster: Amy Duncan
Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:07
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Jun 1, 2007

I have never used speech recognition software, but am thinking of trying it. I don't have time to look through all the forum entries to see if there's an answer to my question, so here goes:

Let's say I have a document in my source language on my computer screen. If I start talking, do my words replace the ones on the screen? If not, how does it work?

Also, is Dragon Naturally Speaking9 a good one? They're selling it for $99.99 at the moment and I'm thinking of getting it.

Any help will be appreciated.

Amy


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Pavel Blann  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 17:07
Member (2005)
English to Czech
basic answer Jun 1, 2007

as peter linton mentioned in another answer, you cannot speak to dragon in any language (e.g. not in portuguese, not in czech, etc.), pls. see www.nuance.com/naturallyspeaking/international/

the process as I see it:
1. you should have two documents (the source and the target)
2. you look at the source window and dictate into the target one
3. dragon recognizes your speech and types the text for you

assumptions:
a. you have sufficient hw+sw to support speech recognition
b. you have trained dragon using your accent in a given language
c. you have learned how to use dragon

imho, dragon naturallyspeaking preferred (english) is a good one.

good luck!
pavel


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:07
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Very helpful! Jun 1, 2007

Thanks, Pavel. I'm researching this now, and I hope whatever answers come up here will be useful to others as well.

I'd be speaking English (my pair is PT>EN), so that won't be a problem, and I have a new computer that is plenty adequate.

I'm not sure how I can train with the program if I don't have it, since they don't offer a demo, but I'll look into it on their site.

Thanks again.

Amy


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Nora Diaz  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 09:07
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
It's a good tool, but requires initial time investment Jun 1, 2007

Hi, Amy,

Dragon is a great tool. I don't know if there's a bilingual software option in your language combination. In my case my software is the Spanish version of Dragon Naturally Speaking Preferred 9.5 (just upgraded from 9.0) and I can dictate either in English or in Spanish, but to change languages I have to select a different user, something you set up when you first install the software or create a new user.

In the example you mention, what you dictate would only replace the words on the screen if you first select the words. Basically what Dragon does is transcribe what you say at the cursor position, so if you position the cursor, say, above the paragraph you're going to translate, it will "type" what you dictate and insert it before the paragraph. You would then have to delete the source paragraph as you normally would (or alternatively can learn the commands needed to do this via Dragon).

The price you mention is a very good deal if it's the Preferred edition. I think I paid close to three times that.

DNS 9 is good enough to start dictating within 30 minutes of installing it, (take 30 mins for training, at least), but make sure you get a good microphone, and don't expect recognition to be 100% accurate right off the bat. Having said that, it's definitely a nice tool to have.

Nora


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Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 10:07
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Useful Jun 1, 2007

I agree with por Czech colleague. Buy it, I have DNS version 8 and it's very useful.

Oh! and Nora's commment is useful too! Indeed, I asked here and after reading her kind reply that day, I decided to buy it.


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:07
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, Nora and Yaotl...another question... Jun 1, 2007

The Nuance site is offering this $99.99 deal on Dragon Naturally Speaking 9 Standard, and they're charging $149.99 for Dragon Naturally Speaking 9 Preferred. They state some of the following as advantages of the Preferred version:

On-the-go Dictation
-Bluetooth Wireless Microphone Support
Time-Saving Shortcuts
-Support for More Applications


I would probably never use the first three, but I don't know what the "support for more applications" thing is.

Does anyone know if the Preferred version is really that much better, and if so, why? It would have to offer me something I really need for 50 bucks more!

Amy


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:07
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Serious considerations Jun 1, 2007

Good evening Amy,

Well, I have Dragon 9.5 Preferred. No, it does not replace the words on the screen - you have to delete the existing text yourself. As you speak, it puts words on the screen.

The most serious consideration of all is whether you have a sufficiently powerful computer, how much hard disk space you have and how much RAM you have. In particular, you cannot really use it at all for as long as you have less than 1 GB of RAM. Ideally, you need 2 GB of RAM.

With anything less than the latest generation of computer, you will get frequent computer crashes and regular messages on your screen saying that the computer has 100% of its resources used up at the moment and can't do anything any more. Actually, this is when you have several programs open, but I take it that we all need to have.

It has fights with Multiterm, because Multiterm also needs a massive amount of computer resources, and the two programs interfere with one other.

You often have to close down your computer twice in the evening when you are ready for bed, because Dragon will never shut off automatically, so the computer closes down the wrong way and then you have to start it up again and close it down properly.

On the subject of making the correct words appear on the screen, well, it can be done, but not without extensive and regular effort. You need to carry out training, regularly train it to recognise particular words that you use, and - contrary to what the manufacturers of the software (Nuance) claim - it never does learn to recognise certain words, no matter how much you train it. It is very bad at recognising two-letter and three-letter words, hardly ever makes a mistake in recognising a fourteen-letter word.

Accuracy improves slowly over time, with regular use and a great deal of effort. Eventually it can become fairly useful, but you will also have to keep stopping and typing in the little words. It most of all types something strange whenever you have had to really concentrate hard to formulate a sentence just right, and then it throws you out when you see the nonsense word or words in the sentence, interrupts your train of thought, and you forget what you said...

But anyway, you need to start with the subject of the technicalities, namely, buying a new generation computer with 2 GB of RAM.

By the way, if you use it on a computer that does not meet the technical requirements, the words will appear on the screen far too slowly, e.g. at the rate of about one word per minute.

Astrid

[Edited at 2007-06-01 21:36]


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:07
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Another point of view! Jun 1, 2007

Wow, Astrid, sounds like you're not too happy with the program. It's good to hear different points of view. In any case, from what you've said, I don't think I can use it because my computer doesn't have enough RAM. I suppose I could beef it up (this is a very new computer), but I'd really have to be motivated to buy the program to do that.

In any case, I suppose the prices will keep dropping (at least I hope they will!) so if I decide to get it at some pont, it might be even cheaper. I just discovered that Amazon has the standard edition for around $68.

Thanks for your input.

Amy


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Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 18:07
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
I just don't believe it Jun 1, 2007

OK, I have only MS Office inbuilt speech recognition (as I normally don't translate INTO English, Dragon is useless to me), it sometimes takes few (2-5) seconds to consider what I have told, but no more- and I have only 1 Gb of RAM with 3 GHz Pentium. Yes, of course, computer power is important, but 1 Gb RAM should be sufficient, I satisfactorily used the speech recognition even on 1.5 GHz computer with 500 Mb of RAM.

Maybe the problem lays elsewhere in the configuration/settings...

Uldis

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:
By the way, if you use it on a computer that does not meet the technical requirements, the words will appear on the screen far too slowly, e.g. at the rate of about one word per minute.


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:07
Spanish to English
+ ...
strongly recommend it Jun 1, 2007

Amy Duncan wrote:

I have never used speech recognition software, but am thinking of trying it. I don't have time to look through all the forum entries to see if there's an answer to my question, so here goes:

Let's say I have a document in my source language on my computer screen. If I start talking, do my words replace the ones on the screen? If not, how does it work?

Also, is Dragon Naturally Speaking9 a good one? They're selling it for $99.99 at the moment and I'm thinking of getting it.

Any help will be appreciated.

Amy


Even at 200 euros, or more, which is what I paid. Yes, it takes time and patience to train it...but it's a jewel.

It's also got a fab range of vocab (it knew Bayesian and efflorescence ....) and it can handle a fair few medical words ... I'm using it more and more ...it's like a puppy - for a while you feel you're getting nowhere, but stick it out and you'll see results:-)

This afternoon I leaned back in my armchair and talked for a few hours ... nice!


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:07
Spanish to English
+ ...
very user-friendly ... Jun 1, 2007

Amy Duncan wrote:

Thanks, Pavel. I'm researching this now, and I hope whatever answers come up here will be useful to others as well.

I'd be speaking English (my pair is PT>EN), so that won't be a problem, and I have a new computer that is plenty adequate.

I'm not sure how I can train with the program if I don't have it, since they don't offer a demo, but I'll look into it on their site.

Thanks again.

Amy


The learning to use it is not the issue ...it's having the patience to train it.

In other words, it's frustrating at first but gradually less so, and eventually begins to work really well...just stick with it, it will slow you down at first but it's well worth the effort.

[Edited at 2007-06-01 23:12]

Curiously - or not so curiously - there are more and more forum postings about Dragon - I'm not surprised:-) Once you get into using it, it's hard to imagine working without it.

[Edited at 2007-06-01 23:15]


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Pavel Blann  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 17:07
Member (2005)
English to Czech
standard vs. preferred Jun 2, 2007

in order to decide which version, please see www.nuance.com/naturallyspeaking/matrix/

$149 is a good price for the preferred ver., and you can get 10% discount on digitalriver web site if you change shipping methods or attempt to leave the payment link. It is done randomly so you may have to try a few times to earn this bonus.

but be prepared for a $39 shipping charge outside of the us.

pavel

p.s. I run dns 9.5 on pentium 4, 3ghz, 448mb ram (video takes 64mb out of 512mb), windows xp sp2 together with word 97--no problems so far. I plan to add another 512mb memory module in order to run more apps though.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 11:07
English to French
+ ...
1GB RAM - never had a problem Jun 2, 2007

Same here. I've never had a problem running DNS Preferred 8 + Trados 7.5 + browser + e-mail client + dictionary software + audio/video software (with music playing at the same time) + sometimes a bunch of other things.

The only trouble I ever had with Dragon was that after leaving it on for a few days (!) it slowed down and got to a point where it was almost faster to type than dictating - but I guess that was due to my not restarting as often as I should.

What Dragon really does is type in your stead - that's why it doesn't replace but rather add to the text on screen. It is extremely useful, and in some cases, I was able to produce 2.5 times more with it than without. You can train it to really get a feel for your voice and accent. Also, there are bilingual versions available, at more or less the same price as the English one, so what Uldis says above about not dictating into English really isn't an issue.

I'd say go for it. However, I recommend two things: get the Preferred version but the Pro version is useless for our purpose here, and shop around (I got my Preferred at CAD 90 when everyone else was selling it for almost $200). Also, don't be fooled into getting the most recent one - I hear say that there isn't much of a difference between versions. For example, for version 8, they say it is over 95% accurate, but then, when version 9 came out, they said it was 50% more accurate than the last version. Add that up! If you can find version 8 at a much lower price, it may be best to get that one. I haven't yet heard anybody say that 9 is better than 8 in any regard...

[Edited at 2007-06-02 04:29]


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Jonathan Morris  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:07
Italian to English
+ ...
DRAGON Jun 2, 2007

Have been using DNS for a couple of months and am already a fan, albeit with reservations.

I was already a fast translator to start with (i.e. 1500-2000 words of unrevised text/hour) but this required major physical effort. I haven't found much increase in speed with Dragon, but the big advantage is that I get similar speeds for much less effort, although it is definitely slower than typing for formatting/proper names/text in foreign languages.

As such, I am finding that the optimal strategy (and it may have some tricks which I haven't learnt yet) is a kind of dual hands on the keyboard but dictating long stretches of name-free text.

On this point, you have to be quick on the draw with your mouse to make sure that the cursor is positioned at the end of any typed text, since DNS still 'thinks' that the cursor is where you stopped dictating.

As a side issue, it means that the relative pricing of proofreading vs translating is now way out of line for me. I am going to have to double or triple my proofreading rates to get anything like the same money as I do translating.

It also tends to jam a bit if I do too much typing, so I probably have to reboot several times.

My only real complaint is that it's not faster. I reckon that my max dictation speed for translation is around 3K words/hour (Dragon itself talks about 900 words in 9 minutes, but you won't get 6k/hour out of it. If they speed it up then this could become a killer app which will hugely benefit good translators who can dictate fluent text straight off the bat to the detriment of poorer ones. I find the economics of it fascinating.


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Ritu Bhanot  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:07
Member (2006)
French to Hindi
+ ...
Dragon Preferred @ 99.99 Jun 2, 2007

Well, this offer has been around for some time now.
I thought of availing this offer and bought it through their website. Only as the shipping charges are extra (because Dragon can not be downloaded from the website) so the total came to 154.94 Dollars.

Moreover, it has been more than 10 days and according to their website it is yet to be shipped!!! (pending shipment)
I wrote to them asking about the details of delivery... recieved an e-mail asking me to write on another e-mail id. I did that (several days ago)... and still no information about the delivery.

I have paid but I don't know if and when will I get it. And I asked the question in the forum http://www.proz.com/topic/74138 and another person confirmed that she too had had a similar experience.
Anyways, I think it must be good but as they don't offer any trial period I'm not even sure if it will be worth the effort... and this delay is really strange.

Why don't they reply to e-mails/ messages sent through their contact form?


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Basic question about Dragon Naturally Speaking

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