Dragon Dicate 3 for Mac was recently launched in Australia (this month, October 2012) and with it has come the usual flurry of phone calls and emails with plenty of questions .. What’s new? How is it better that the previous version? Does it work? I used Dragon years ago and it was rubbish, has it got any better? Can I post to Facebook? .. the list goes on. Of course I am always happy to answer all these questions but often I refer customers to the fantastic short demo videos that Nuance have compiled.
I have decided to post all the videos here in one post so that if you are interested in voice recognition on the Mac you can find pretty much all you need in this one post.
See Dragon Dictate 3 for Mac in Action – Overview
Firstly, What Is New In Dragon Dictate version 3 for the Mac
Smart Format Rules:
These rules are designed to ensure that your particular spelling quirks are adhered to inside Dragon. The video shows an American dictating the word “favourite” and “colour” which are spelled in the American style “favorite” and “color”. Australians, don’t be put off by this, when you create your profile in Dragon you will tell it that you are Aussie and it will spell these words the English way that we are used to and not the American way. So you will not always be correcting words from American to English. The point of the video is to show that if you are writing for an American audience then you can easily change the spelling for that audience.
Transcription – Voice Recognition From Recorded Audio:
Definitely my favourite new feature in Dragon Dictate 3 – the ability to transcribe your recorded voice. This is perfect for people who are working away from their Mac, perhaps travelling, and a moment of inspiration arrives where you just need to get your thoughts out. Simply record them on a digital voice recorder or in the Dragon Recorder app for iOS (iPhone,iPad,iPod Touch). When you get back to your Mac load the audio into Dragon Dictate 3 and it will transcribe your audio for you. Just a tip: When recording on a digital voice recorder or in the Dragon Recorder app please make sure you do so in a quiet location, background noise is not the friend of voice recognition software. Dragon needs clear audio in order to process your voice accurately, so a train station, airport or driving in the car are not ideal locations. Your quiet hotel room or office board room is.
##UPDATE## The paragraph below no longer applies. Olympus have released an update to DSS Player Plus v7 for Mac, you need at least version 7.3.3, to be able to convert .ds2 audio to a format compatible with Dragon Dictate 3 Transcription. Click here for more information on how to the latest update for Mac and how to convert audio from DS-7000 and DS-3500 for use with Dragon Dictate 3 transcription.
People using the professional range of Olympus digital dictaphones, there is currently and issue with the .ds2 audio files converted to .aif using DSS Player Plus v7 for Mac, supplied with the recorders. To keep up-to-date with this issue please follow this blog post – Olympus Pro Dictaphone Audio Not Quite Compatible With Dragon Dictate 3 for Mac Transcription Module from Nuance
The Express Editor:
The Express Editor is a throw back to the cut price Dragon Express which was introduced by Nuance as a low cost entry into using or trying voice recognition software on the Mac. Dragon Express uses the Express Editor as the window in which to dictate. The text can then be copy/pasted or transferred to a window on your Mac. Please do not be put off by the many negative reviews of Dragon Express in the Mac app store. These are mainly caused by people using the in-built mic on their Mac for input to Dragon Express. The in-built mics, especially on older iMacs and MacBooks are not noise cancelling so poor audio in means poor transcription out. Which is why Dragon Dictate 3 comes with a USB noise cancelling mic, to ensure great quality audio is fed to Dragon Dictate. Personally I don’t see the need for the Express Editor. In the example show the user could have dictated directly to the web form field.
If you only watch one video, watch this one. The interactive tutorial gives an excellent overview of the basics that you will need to create highly accurate transcripts from your spoken voice. The Dragon interactive tutorial kicks in after you create a voice profile (and can be run at any time by finding the interactive tutorial in the menu bar under Help). The tutorial covers things like turning your mic on/off by voice and by keyboard/mouse. Best practice when dictating, microphone location and smart format rules. If you haven’t used Dragon for a while this short tutorial is the perfect refresher.
Working With New Apps Built Into Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8):
Dragon Dictate 3 is ready to go with some of the many new features built into Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. Create Notes, add Reminders and chat with Messages all using your voice. “How cool is that exclamation mark smiley face” … you can also say “winky face” for a winking smiley, British readers of this blog post please stop tittering !
Look At Dictation And Editing In Dragon Dictate 3
The Command Editor:
The Command Editor in Dragon Dictate 3 is an extremely powerful tool. It can be used to create advanced spoken commands to interact with web pages, files and applications. However its most common use is for create text commands. A text command takes a short spoken command and converts that to a blob of text. For example, if you write a emails alot during the day with virtually the same content each time you could create a voice command where you speak “common email text” and Dragon will write out:
“Thank you for your email. Details on my products can be found on our web page, www.dictate.com.au – I am here to advise on all the products we supply from digital voice recorder from Olympus Australia to voice recognition software from Nuance for the Mac with Dragon Dictate 3 and Windows with Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12.”
Text commands are commonly used by users of Dragon for repetitive outputs of text.
Spell That Voice Command:
The “spell that” voice command in Dragon Dictate 3 does exactly what it says, lets you spell a word that has been incorrectly identified by Dragon from its built-in vocabulary. By spelling an unusual or word not in Dragon vocabulary you need only tell Dragon this spelling once. After that it will always spell correctly and appear in the “Choose” list of alternate words and spellings. In this video example the spelling of the surname Popovich is identified by Dragon but is changed using the “spell that” command to Popovitch. Dragon will then always remember this spelling.
The Vocabulary Editor:
By using the voice command “show vocabulary editor” or selecting Tools -> Vocabulary Editor from the toolbar you can teach Dragon the way that you say words, acronyms and proper names. You need only enter these once and speak them three times to train Dragon how you pronounce these words and acronyms. This is useful for adding words to the Dragon vocabulary that are not already there (maybe specific medical or legal terms pertinent to you) that you use regularly. Train once, recognised forever.
This is the most common way to use Dragon, simply dump your voice to text. This video really just shows how Dragon looks as you speak to it and transcription appears. You will need to tell Dragon about punctuation and when to start a new line or new paragraph. For English/Australian readers of this blog we don’t need to say “period” we can say “full stop” which we tend to be more comfy with.
In this short video we see the commonly used editing voice commands like “insert before” and “insert after” as well as the “delete” voice command for removing words. “Goto end” is also commonly used to move the cursor to the end of our dictation after we have finished editing with our voice. Of course you can also edit the old fashioned way using your keyboard and mouse.
Simple correction of text in Dragon Dictate is easy using the “correct” followed by the “choose” commands. There are some good examples in this video as Dragon spells common names which have more than one spelling incorrectly. The examples shown are dictated as “Ann” and voice corrected to “Anne“. Also dictated as “Sarah” and voice corrected to “Sara“. When you “choose” a word for correction Dragon will always present a list of possible alternatives and will number each one. This makes it simple and fast to choose the correct spelling.
Dragon Dictate Commands And Other Useful Features
Adding a New Audio Source (Mic, App, Voice Recorder) to Your Dragon Dictate Profile:
You will add new audio sources to your trained profile if and when you upgrade your microphone, use recorded audio from a digital voice recorder or decide to use the Dragon Microphone iOS app. Please do not use the internal mic on your MacBook Pro or iMac, it is not good enough for voice recognition.
How To Post To Twitter Using Your Voice:
Yes you can sit back with your feet on your desk and tweet a full 140 characters of spoken tweet. Below is the official Nuance video on how to do it but if you would prefer to see me do it click here (my video is using Dragon Dictate 2.5 but the commands are the same).
How To Post To Facebook Using Your Voice:
Just like with twitter, while your feet are up and hands firmly behind your head (picture totally relaxed at your desk) you can update your Facebook status too. Essential Dragon if you ask me …
One extremely useful features of Mac OS X is the Speech -> Start Reading function which will read aloud in a wannabe human computerised voice highlighted text. I use this quite a bit if I am multi-tasking and want a blog post read to me while I continue my other task. But for the life of me I can’t see a use for this in text you have just dictated. You are better off reading it back yourself, maybe it’s just me – if you think this is useful or would use it please let me know by leaving a comment at the bottom of this post.
Now this one is handy, especially if you have been dictating a large amount of text and you are in the process of reading through what Dragon has transcribed, the proof reading phase if you like. Dragon may not have heard you properly and has inserted incorrect text, text which you do not recall what it was that you actually said. By using the “say that” command Dragon will replay your actual words so that you can hear and therefore remind yourself of what was spoken for you to correct accordingly.
Play That Back:
The “Play that back” Dragon command will play back your actual dictation so you can hear what you dictated and compare it to what Dragon transcribed.
Searching The Internet Using Your Voice:
Again one of those features in Dragon I personally don’t use and can’t picture many others using either. Using your voice you can open and navigate web pages, including scrolling up and down the page and book marking the page.
Dragon Dictate 3 for Mac is available from Dictate Australia and comes in three flavours. All three use exactly the same software the differences are around the devices in the box:
- Dragon Dictate 3 – Standard Boxed Edition – comes with standard USB headset and mic
- Dragon Dictate 3 – Voice Recorder Edition – comes with standard USB headset and mic and also a basic digital voice recorder
- Dragon Dictate 3 – Wireless Bluetooth – comes with wide band bluetooth headset and mic
All three are available in Australia from our online store. Outside of Australia please contact your local certified Nuance reseller for more information and pricing.