Dragon Dictate for Mac £150

10th Dec 2010 | 09:30

Dragon Dictate for Mac

Can this veteran of speech to text software perform on the Mac?

TechRadar rating:

3.5 stars

Like:

Handles vocal commands well; Easy to get up and running

Dislike:

Unreliable transcription accuracy; Key input issues when dictating

Dragon Dictate 2.0 – an update of the product previously named MacSpeech – makes nattering at your Mac a boon to productivity.

Headphones and mic are provided in the full-price package, and on installation you go through a few minutes of training the software by reading short passages. You're then ready to use Dragon Dictate, either as a substitute for typing text or to navigate your Mac.

Navigation performs well. You can open apps, activate menu items and dialog buttons, create emails, go to websites, and more. For many, this is a novelty, but if you find the keyboard-and-pointer combo tough to negotiate, the commands are useful.

However, Dragon Dictate must recognise any word you choose to throw at it. And this is where its limitations appear. Because of the need to speak slowly and to indicate capitalisation and so on, we found it no faster than typing; and it made more mistakes than we did, not just forgivably confusing homonyms but sometimes introducing clumps of random letters. This means you have to check its output very carefully.

The issue, though, isn't the accuracy of the speech recognition – it's the quality of your typing. If you're slow with the keyboard, a hopeless speller, or if you find speaking more natural than typing, you might find Dragon Dictate handy; but if typing is second nature to you, you might not.

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