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Dragon Dictate for Mac

Dragon Dictate

Dragon NaturallySpeaking and Dragon Dictate for Mac are as different as their names, which we did not expect. Dragon for Mac is a more rigid than the highly flexible and intuitive NaturallySpeaking Premium, even though their price tags are the same.

In core functionality, however, the two programs are similar. With both Dragon Dictate and NaturallySpeaking, you can control many applications and functions on your computer using just your voice, as well as dictating speech-to-text in word processing and note-taking applications. You can also dictate to Dragon's own note pad app, which comes with the software. Speak it, and it shall be—but only after you've mastered Dragon's vocabulary on the Mac. Part of what makes NaturallySpeaking for Windows such a wonderful tool is that the software understands multiple variations on commands. For example, "scratch that" accomplishes the same things as "delete" and "undo." The Mac software, on the other hand, doesn't accommodate variations, so you have to train yourself to speak Dragon's language while you're also training Dragon to understand your voice.

Set Up and Training:

Install Dragon Dictate on Mac or on iMac running Mac OS X Lion, the installation took a minute or two, and the additional set-up, which involves acclimating Dragon to your voice and accent, took less than ten minutes.

One small difference that made setting up Dragon Dictate for Mac better than setting up NaturallySpeaking for PC is in the script you have to read to help Dragon learn to understand you. In the PC version, you can choose to read a political speech, a few paragraphs about computers by humorist Dave Barry, or a few other options. In the Mac app, you don't have a choice, but the dialogue provided is an overview of how speech-recognition software works, so you're effectively learning about the program while giving the software information, too. It's a minor difference, but you'll definitely have a better experience with any voice-control software if you learn how it works at the most basic level.

To further help Dragon understand your vocabulary choices and things you say frequently, you can have the program read files from your computer or email program. It will learn proper names and other specialized vocabulary that it might not have stored in its database. You can do this step at any time; it's not restricted to the set-up process. You can also select your accent from a range of choices, such as American, Southern American, British, Indian, Latino, and so on.

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