Dragon NaturallySpeaking Home speech recognition software is the fast, fun, and convenient way to interact with your PC — just by talking! For everything you do on your computer at home or school, there’s no easier or more enjoyable way to get more done faster.
I have an older version of this program. I do know they improved it a lot since my version. With the version I have, I did not have the time and gumption to learn the commands to edit the work which is part of the learning process of the program.
I'm experimenting with this. I find it strange in practice but I like the idea. I've run into some issues:
I have the latest version of the Dragon software, Natural Speaking 11. It works with the right noise-canceling recorder, however it has its quirks. For example, if I wish to write:
"It works," he said.
I have to say, "Open quote it works comma close quote he said period."
Otherwise I have to go back and add punctuation later.
The Mac version of the software is not as good as the Windows version so I have to run a Windows virtual machine on my Mac to use it. The support overhead is a pain.
Kevin J. Anderson is an advocate of this method of writing. He recently noted an affordable transcription service that charges by the word (don't recall the name). I think this would solve the problems I'm having with the process but I haven't tried it yet. If I'd known about this inexpensive transcription method I wouldn't have purchased the Dragon software.
Some notes on recording:
I feel incredibly self conscious talking into the recorder even in private. I think this will go away in time.
I apparently don't think in full sentences so my recordings are chopped up into phrases. I hope with practice this goes away. The Dragon software, however handles this fine, and I've read that it actually prefers this.
I have an Olympus recorder with an external noise canceling lavalier microphone. This makes good usable recordings. I've not tried using an iPhone or other smartphone with voice recording capability.
Recording while driving with my cobbled together hands-free setup is a pain. The background noise in my car (Mini Cooper) is really high. A person could transcribe this but the recording software has problems. It doesn't recognize the difference between my story and words I blurt out at other drivers. ;-)
I love the idea of being able to use the recorder. I do believe I'll be able to use it successfully in time, but right now I'm in production mode and it's getting in the way. After I get past this deadline in May I intend to seriously work my way up (or is it down?) the learning curve.
I'm interested to learn how others are getting on with this approach.
Windows 7 comes with voice recognition software already. Was really interesting. I do find that having to say quotes and all that made it way to frustrating for me, end sentence. I have really only used once so far, I put my headset on and drove home, reciting a story I wanted to tell. I only broke for scenes, never ended sentences, just trying to get the flow of the scenes down. The verdict is still out, about half was non-readable, the last half I spent 10 minutes when I got home and fleshed it out.
I think is really good for those ideas that sometimes slip away, not sure on the actual writing part yet though.
I've found the Windows speech recognition software on my computer! It's in an oddly sensible location: Start --> Control Panel --> Speech (or Sounds, Speech, and Audio Devices --> Speech). Below is a link to tips for using this software.
My hope is that this or other software will help me convert handwritten drafts to electronic text. I realized this weekend that what I've already written would take about a year to type, and I draft slowly!
One thing about using Voice Rec software I haven't seen mentioned here. Of course I could have missed it if it was a quick comment in the middle of something.
but you write differently when you use voice instead of hands.
David Weber broke his arm a few years ago- I still had the link to his Newsgroup at the time-and had to use VR to write to couple of books since he couldn't type. That was his biggest compliant. It was like he had to learn to write over again, he said. I believe he used Dragon but that would have been at least two versions ago.
But I've heard that some writers have always written by voice. They recorded their books and had someone type them up. So you would join some oldies but goodies as well as a couple of newer writers, it sounds like.
I haven't tried it even though my old Mac had VR, I could tell it to tell a joke but not sure how it would have worked for writing. So far I haven't seen that they included any type of VR in OS 10 though But I'm not an expert on it either.
[This message has been edited by LDWriter2 (edited April 19, 2011).]
Speech recognition software may not be all that great for writing fiction (unless you are totally intimidated by a blank screen or empty sheet of paper), but it might be good for getting experiences from your life down in text, and stories you've heard from your extended family. I plan to use it that way, at least.
There's always something in that kind of stuff that you can use in your fiction, because it's all grist for the mill.
If I know I'm being recorded, I get very self conscious. I also prefer writing to talking. Sentences form differently this way, have more order.
Posts: 1271 | Registered: May 2007
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I've found I'm not verbally articulate. I'm only articulate at the keyboard when I write---when I bring myself to write, that is. I can post semi-intelligent things here without trouble.
But speechifying puts knots in my stomach; either I can't figure out what to say or I'm working ahead of myself and putting words out of order. (Like backing up and revising as I go, only it sounds like being tongue-tied when I do it.) I don't even like to talk on the phone.
I've never tried to dictate something...though I can't say for sure I never will, but with all that going for me, I don't think it'll happen..
It's not just Windows XP, it's all of the current ones. It's called the Narrator and it's designed to help blind, or poorly sighted, people use the computer. My boyfriend is legally blind, so I have some experience. It's generally found in the 'Accessibility Options' (with the little handicapped symbol) in the Control Panel.
The voice that comes installed on XP we have nicknamed Sad Sack Sam (Microsoft Sam), but Microsoft Anna on Vista and above isn't too bad. Words like 'wind' only get one pronunciation whether it's right or wrong. And it comes up with some pretty interesting pronunciations sometimes.
If you're looking for something to read your writing back to you, this won't do it. In both Works and Word, it will echo your keystrokes, but it won't read back whole words or passages.
We've found two free options that work. One is the Natural Free Reader. It will read back any highlightable text, whether it's in a word processing program or on the internet.
The second comes in the free Y Writer program. It's designed for novel writing as an outlining tool. You have to officially open a project and paste your text into the basic word processor included in the program, but the nice thing is that it highlights each word as it reads it. Then, if you catch something you want to change, it's easy to find.
There are other screen reader programs that can cost a lot of money. So far, we haven't found one that does the other things my boyfriend needs it to do, and for $1000, it has to be a significant improvement over these others.
If you have any other questions about screen readers just ask, and I'll ask him.
There are also some programs that will convert an .rtf file to MP3 and you can listen to it that way. I've forgotten what that is though as we haven't used it in a couple of years.
Yes, Y Writer from Spacejock has text-to-speech. I just double checked on my version. It's a little arrow to the right of the Bold-Italic-Underline boxes. Posts: 1993 | Registered: Jul 2009
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