Voice Recognition Software

He has: 286 posts

Joined: Mar 2003

I've been working with computers for about 40 years now. After fifteen minutes at the keyboard, my right hand stiffens, and after another 15 minutes my entire right side is sore.

For the past week, I've been looking into purchasing voice recognition software, such as ViaVoice or Naturally Speaking. To my surprise, all the customer reviews give very low ratings for these products. For me, the software doesn't have to be 100% accurate. I don't mind sitting down for a few minutes and correcting a few errors, but if these apps are as inaccurate as the reviews at Amazon and Cnet say they are, I'm not really interested.

Does anyone here work with voice recognition apps? Any feedback will be helpful.

Thanks, as always,


They have: 5 posts

Joined: Jul 2008

40 years is a lot of typing. Is your right hand your mouse hand as well? You might want to invest in a mouse solution as well. I use a product called Gentle mouse which eliminates the need for right/left clicking.

It might be worth investing in a better keyboard as well. I'm using this at the moment and I'm pretty happy with it:
In addition to a split keyboard, it has a very light touch. I find that if I use a normal keyboard, it immediately causes me pain.

I can't comment on ViaVoice because I haven't used it. I use Dragon NaturallySpeaking (I'm using it to type this post). I've been using it for the last two years. I've found dragon to be reasonably good voice dictation software. It is far from perfect. The version running on my system has a few bugs and quirks. It also takes some time to set up and train the software. But generally speaking I find that it's quite usable. I use it almost exclusively any time I have to input large amounts of text.

On average, I would say I get about 90% accuracy, and end up having to make at least one edit for every one or two sentences I dictate with it. Even so, that still saves me a huge amount of typing. Accuracy obviously depends a lot on peoples accents and how clearly speak.

He has: 286 posts

Joined: Mar 2003

Many thanks for the feedback!

I will look into the products you mentioned. At this point, I'm using a Wacom pen instead of a mouse. I also have the Evoluent vertical mouse. The vertical position of the right & left buttons keeps you from having to twist your wrist each time you click.

I might just buy the standard NaturallySpeaking, if it's 90% accurate. I'm not looking for anything fancy, just devices to make me more comfortable while working.

They have: 74 posts

Joined: Jun 2009

i also stay in front of my notebook for most of the day. hence i use dragon and its working out for me very well, it has reduced a lot of strain to my hands

Greg K's picture

He has: 2,145 posts

Joined: Nov 2003

A few years ago I gave that software a try, as it was only $10 more to buy Word Perfect packaged with the software and you got a headset out of it. (Note: this was education pricing at the campus bookstore).

If it is anything now like it was then, be prepared to talk to your computer (near continuous) for anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. The more you read to it, the better it was to get. Now, I took the time and read the choice of preselected passages to read to it for it to learn. However, after that was complete and it asked me to provide my own text and saw it would take over double the time I already spent, I chose not to go farther.

I did a few tests, and for basic wording, not too bad. My problem is, I can usually type faster than I can think and speak. Sounds weird, but trust me.

Now I'm not trying to discourage you from trying it, but just wanted to let you know what you might be getting into. If you are impatient like me, you'll not like it. LOL

But in your case the hour or so may well be worth days without pain!

Good luck on it, and keep us posted.


greg's picture

He has: 1,581 posts

Joined: Nov 2005

Greg K wrote:
My problem is, I can usually type faster than I can think and speak. Sounds weird, but trust me.

Me too. I think the years of using computers somehow develops a link from the brain to the fingers, and the thoughts of what you want to type just come from the subconscious, bypassing your immediate thoughts.

They have: 5 posts

Joined: Aug 2008

+1 for dragon naturally speaking.

I have been using it, and if you take time at the beginning to let the soft getting used to your voice by reading many sample texts and once you have mastered the few commands that allow you to "skip a line" to write bold text etc etc It is quite accurate.

But it depends on your activity, for example if you are to use very specific words on a regular basis (if you are working in the pharamaceutical area for example) it may take a bit more time.

Michael James Swan's picture

He has: 400 posts

Joined: May 2008

I agree with Tdgu. I have Dragon Naturally Speaking and it works qutie well.

It also recognises commands such as enter and stuff like that.

Enter is spacedown.

It is very good when typing letters and long doucments.

He has: 286 posts

Joined: Mar 2003

I've been using Naturally Speaking for about a year. I would say it's about 85% accurate. (I have re-trained it several times.) My reason for buying it was to reduce key strokes and, on that level, it's worked very well, although I do have to re-type words when the software makes a mistake.

They have: 8 posts

Joined: Jan 2010

Yup, You can have Dragon Naturally Speaking!

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