Pic of the day: "We should progressively increase our number of goals each year!" says Haruhi Suzumiya. The same attitude seems to prevail over at Nuance, formerly Scansoft. Or perhaps they have the same number of goals, they just keep setting them higher.
Dragon NaturallySpeaking reborn
Today I got another e-mail from Amazon.com. Actually I get too many of those, to the point where gmail.com filters out some of them and puts in the spam file! And some of them are very nearly spam, too. I still have no idea why they try to sell me toys and baby accessories, for instance. But this time they really hit the nail, as happens once in a blue moon. The e-mail was the first hint I got that Dragon NaturallySpeaking 9 is out. (It probably helps that I bought version 5, 7 and 8 of the same program from them...)
Dragon NaturallySpeaking 8, which I use now, claims an accuracy of approximately 95%, which is not too shabby. But the new version is said to be able to recognize 99% of your speech, which is more accurate than ordinary typing. (Of course, the arrows are likely to be very different from those you type. See? That should be errors, not arrows. And they can be even more embarrassing when you don't notice them until years later.) Version 9 is also the first that can be used right out of the box, without training the program to recognize your voice.
Incidentally, it seems most of the reviewers have made a simple mistake here: They seem to read the two claims as one, and expect 99% accuracy right out of the box. That is unrealistic, to say the least. You should give speech recognition a couple weeks to get used to your style.
For me it would probably take longer, and I am not likely to ever reach the vaunted 99% accuracy. This has the very natural reason that I am not a native English speaker, and I don't live in an English-speaking country. For me it would probably take longer, and I am not likely to ever reach the vaunted 99% accuracy. This has the very natural reason that I am not a native English speaker, and I don't live in an English-speaking country.
I did learn English in school as a second language (although it was actually my third), and of course I listen to a lot of English songs. But much of my English is learned from books and the Internet. Combine this with the fact that I have a pretty large active vocabulary (depending on what I write about, of course) and I am likely to dictate words I have never heard! This wouldn't have been so bad if English was a very regular language, like Finnish or Japanese. Unfortunately, as you all know, English is as irregular as they come. I'm pretty good at guessing how words are pronounced, but I doubt I have 99% of them right. Also, as someone who did not hear English during my early childhood, there are some sounds I just can't get right. Luckily those can almost always be guessed from context, for instance the difference between the sounds s and z. Oh, and I learned British English in school, while in my adult life I have been exposed almost exclusively to American English.
Despite all this, I expect Dragon NaturallySpeaking 9 to understand my English better than anyone else around here. In a manner of speaking... It doesn't actually understand, of course, just transcribe.
I ordered the program almost immediately after reading the reviews. I hope to give you a complete review once it has arrived.
Incidentally, my wrist and arm are much better than they were a couple years ago. So I don't use speech recognition as much as I did. You can probably guess from the typos in each entry which kind of input method I have used... (I, on the other hand, tend to not discover those until a year or more later when I read the entry again.)
Visit the archive page for the older diaries I've put out to pasture.