EzineArticles Asks: Should You Use Voice Transcription Software?

If it Saves Time, Then Why Wouldn’t You?!

Getting into the daily writing groove isn’t always easy, especially if you have writer’s block or just lack the time to write. And when ideas aren’t flowing, you’re not going to get any closer to reaching your audience. You’re just going to get frustrated and waste time or lose the opportunity to get articles on the screens of readers and publishers.

Toss the pen and paper and forget your keyboard. Have you tried talking it out – that is verbally writing?

Some people speak more eloquently (and even more plainly) than they are able to with the written word. And it’s no wonder! Often, there’s more freedom in the spoken word because you’re able to seamlessly ride on a thought (or just let those thoughts take you to wherever you need to go). But speaking into a recorder and then having to listen to the recording once again to write down every one of your thoughts doubles (if not triples) the time it takes to write the article.

If we’re trying to save time and not waste MORE time, what’s the solution to this creative vs. time debacle?

Enter voice or audio transcription software.

Many Expert Authors swear by voice transcription software because they can write when the idea strikes (whenever, wherever) or they can write during their daily writing sessions. It’s also great for recording new article ideas and then creating MORE timely, original articles that will reach new and loyal readers. And get this – it’s often done in less time than it takes to sit, brainstorm, and then draft the articles out longhand. Some have even claimed they were able to write 8x’s faster than typing an article.

So, should you use voice transcription software?

We’re inclined to say yes – anything that helps you get more out of less time – you should absolutely try it. However, there’s a kink or two that I’ve seen in reviews and in experience: grammar and organization. If you proofread your articles thoroughly and perhaps come up with an outline prior to using the voice transcription software, then these kinks should be smoothed out and the method will work incredibly.

Turning to you and your feedback:

Are you thinking about trying voice transcription software? Share your comments!
Have you tried voice transcription software? If so, what do you use and do you have any tips for fellow Expert Authors?

We’d love to hear from you! Please share your feedback in the comments section below.

34 Comments »


1
Steve Wickham writes:

Hi All

I use Dragon NaturallySpeaking v.11.5 by Nuance and it works well. I don’t find it much quicker than efficient touch-typing, but needed it because of ergonomic concerns. If you’re a two-finger typer, you’ll definitely benefit.

Blessings to all,
Steve

Comment provided January 15, 2013 at 9:11 AM

[Reply]

What about its price and specs.
Is it well and enough?

[Reply]

2
davidinnotts writes:

I use Dragon 10 (the updates are better, but they cost more than the extra’s worth paying for – and I resent Nuance emailing and phoning me monthly to harass me to upgrade).

It works well, with about 97% accuracy (that’s 3 words in every hundred needing correction, not counting words that the dictionary doesn’t know), sometimes it’s better than that; and I can dictate at about three times the speed I can type accurately. But then comes the rest – I have to do the corrections.

To be fair, Word spell check & grammar check pick up most of the errors; I just need to right click and pick the correct replacement. But I do need to manually type the non-standard words that aren’t already in my personal dictionary, and that’s a drag. It is possible to spell them out as I dictate, but that’s more of an interruption than it’s worth, so I type them in.

Sometimes I find Dragon wonderful, sometimes I prefer to type (especially when I keep going back and changing things). But the only time I found Dragon a disaster was when I had a bad cold and it couldn’t understand me!

Comment provided January 15, 2013 at 9:49 AM

[Reply]

3
Nolan Wilson writes:

Right now I am considering voice transcription software, but have yet to make the change. I have heard of Dragon, which was mentioned by Steve, and I am also looking into the transcriptions program that is available through Windows 7.

Comment provided January 15, 2013 at 9:50 AM

[Reply]

4
davidinnotts writes:

Nolan, all other voice transcription software pales beside Dragon – even a 10-year-old Dragon.

But I heard that the Windows 7/8 offering uses the Dragon engine, in which case it might be worth looking at. Can anyone confirm this, one way or the other?

Dragon does need a fairly powerful machine, and it’s requirements have grown as computers have, just to get that accuracy edge down from 98% (claimed) to 98.7%, which is nearly half the errors of 98%.

Currently, Amazon are doing a good deal for the basic version, which suits most purposes. Trawl around and see what you can find.

One more thing: Dragon is claimed to give 97% accuracy now, out of the box. But you’d be well-advised to train it properly to understand your own accent. You do this by reading prepared scripts, which can take some hours. But the more time you spend on this, the less errors there are forever, so it’s worth the time spent.

Comment provided January 15, 2013 at 10:26 AM

[Reply]

Nolan Wilson writes:

Thanks David!

The more I read, the more I am starting to see that Dragon is the way to go –

I will definitely see what I can Find on Amazon

Thanks for your advice. Appreciated!

[Reply]

5
Stephen Monday writes:

It has been years since I have tried any sort of voice transcription devices, I am sure the software technology is much better now than then.

Here is my caveat I simply write so much better than I speak – it would do me no good to try to use the software.

I speak well, but I write 10X more eloquently. It has something to do with phrasing. What I say; can be dressed up…maybe in the future I will make the transformation, but for now – give me a keyboard.

Best Regards,

Stephen Monday

Comment provided January 15, 2013 at 10:36 AM

[Reply]

Bob Bessette writes:

Stephen,
I can so relate to you because I also can write much more eloquently than I speak. I wish it was the other way around and then I could effectively utilize Dragon. I guess in hindsight it saves me money… :-)

Bob

[Reply]

Lance Winslow writes:

Bob, makes a very good point here to which I can attest myself. Still, sometimes using voice software you can get your entire message down very quickly and then spend more time editing and making it eloquent in the process. I find myself doing this quite often, re-vamping sentences, adding additional phrases and better or more elaborate words, as I type and correct or further explain the main points.

[Reply]

6

Great topic!
Transcription software can be quite useful. Do you recommend specific ones as mentioned in the comments?

Comment provided January 15, 2013 at 10:44 AM

[Reply]

Harry Bhanot writes:

Please try Dragon App. I use it on iPhone not on my desktop. On desktop I find it better to write.

[Reply]

7
Harry Bhanot writes:

Dragon app for iPhone, iPad is good enough. Its doing great for me.

Comment provided January 15, 2013 at 11:15 AM

[Reply]

8
John Highman writes:

The idea of voice recognition software (VRS) is good and perhaps one day we will all will be using it in some way with our computers. I have used it occasionally on a weekly and sometimes daily basis for 10 years when circumstances require. I have found (as others have said here) that the process does work; it is convenient. That being said I have found out a few very special things that are worth sharing.

Here are my findings:

1. VRS use does not come easily as you must teach yourself to speak clearly and consistently. Over a few weeks you will improve and then you will see results.

2. Creativity can be a challenge. If you are using VRS you should have a note pad with you containing the points relevant to your dictation. If you do not do this you will get lost and it will take you too long to dictate the article.

3. Always proof read the document. There will be errors. The error rate depends on how clear and precise your voice is.

4. Most modern Windows XP and Windows 7 computers already have a very good VRS program installed on the control panel for Voice Recognition. In other words you probably do not have to buy any software. You have got it anyway.

5. Many computers will not take dictation straight into Microsoft Word. Essentially MS Word is a complex program that takes up a lot (far too much) of your processing power if you are going to use VRS for creating articles. It is far better to use Wordpad as the place to dictate your articles. It is a simpler program that will not absorb all your processing power. You then can transfer the finished file to MS Word later when you do your proof reading.

6. Why do you need ‘processing power’ anyway with VRS? The fact of the matter is that it takes time and power for the computer to compare your voice before it prints the word or phrase. If you have an old computer it is (in my opinion) better to upgrade the computer first before you embark on VRS.

7. Speak like a ‘Newsreader’ so the program hears you clearly. You should practice a bit on this.

8. You will get far better results with VRS if you have a fast computer with plenty of RAM (4 to 8 GB). It helps the processing power and accuracy. Basic computers like that with a Celeron processor and smaller RAM will really struggle with VRS and you will be disappointed.

9. Don’t have a lot of programs open when you use VRS.

So in summary, would I contine to use VRS? The answer is yes, but I follow the rules above. I use the program in ‘control panel’ in my computer as it works very well for me.

Do I use the program to do my articles? No. I find that as a creative writer I will always build better quality articles by typing them. So don’t overlook the VRS alternative , but go and get a good typing program that lifts your typing speed over 70 words per minute. Typing skills and speed are just as relevant as Voice Recognition Software.

Comment provided January 15, 2013 at 12:41 PM

[Reply]

9
Frank Thomas writes:

Dragon naturally speaking is a God sent. I don’t use it all the time, but when I’m cutting articles, it’s fantastic. Not 100% perfect, but every version seems to get a bit closer.

Comment provided January 15, 2013 at 12:56 PM

[Reply]

10
Randall Magwood writes:

I don’t use voice transcription software but I have a cousin who does. It’s easy for her to complete her homework assignments for school. I imagine that it would be beneficial for article marketers, but me personally… i don’t need it. I can write for hours.

Comment provided January 15, 2013 at 1:50 PM

[Reply]

11
Jean Reynolds writes:

“Verbally” means “with words.” When you’re writing, you’re still communicating “verbally.” “Orally” is the word needed in this article.

Comment provided January 15, 2013 at 2:00 PM

[Reply]

Hi Jean,

We did a little research and found these two items (amongst others) regarding the correct word usage:

– Expressed in spoken rather than written words; oral
adverb orally, vocally, in words, in speech, by word of mouth

It would appear that we did indeed have it correct. :-) But thanks for keeping us on our toes!

Marc

[Reply]

12

In fact, I’m a classic person who fond of pen and papers. I’m the person who may ignore any external stimulation except the classic view of books on shelves.

So, when you spoke about the experience of transcription, I found it interesting experience especially after someone who used to recording his thoughts on a small recorder. What about a device which can write your thought immediately?

I have an experience with the smart lady of iPhone 4GS: Seri.

She was smart and clever.

If you advised me to use a device can make this mission professionally, I will not waste time to invest in it.

I’m now reading comments of readers who have experience than me to learn more. Not only, but I subscribed in comments to know more if there is anything new on the horizon.

Thank you for this idea. It is the first time for me.

Comment provided January 15, 2013 at 3:22 PM

[Reply]

13
Lance Winslow writes:

I like the new Dragon voice dictation tool; Philips Digital Voice Tracer Model#: DVT3100. You can take a walk, or be out and about and then talk into it when you have an idea, or dictate a few paragraphs, then simply come back plug it into your computer USB connection and download it into a Word File. Then complete the article by voice, and then edit. I’ve noted that it has speeded up my production about 3-times, or rather it takes 1/3 the time to produce the same article, plus you are not going to get fat sitting down all day typing away.

Comment provided January 15, 2013 at 5:37 PM

[Reply]

14
Lance Winslow writes:

I’d like to add this link for further consideration considering John Highman’s excellent summary above:

http://www.worldthinktank.net/art128.shtml

You see, I think if those who are serious about writing will do a little research, they will find value in the use of these types of technologies. Perhaps not always or for everything, but they sure can come in handy.

Comment provided January 15, 2013 at 6:04 PM

[Reply]

John Highman writes:

I agree with Lance’s valuable comments. One other thing that should be added to all of this good conversation is the need to have a good quality microphone and preferably one that will be a headset version. In this way the recognition is better from the software as it hears your voice.

In the early days I dumped a few bad headsets.

There is a place for Voice Recognition and some of us already use it in some respects.

The fact of matter is if you really know your topic, you can usually talk accurately and freely about it. Hence the value of the software.

[Reply]

Lance Winslow writes:

John, another good point. I eventually bought a “Medical Sector” headphone from a Dragon Speak supplier, I am quite happy with it. The acoustics of the room you are in also make a juge difference. Smaller rooms actually work better, and how you set the settings and when you do the typical voice software training also matters.

Just because you have a USB headphone, doesn’t mean it will work better than a regular audio jack speak and headphone set. Also, beware of fake knock-offs, there is a big difference between real brands like Bose and those that pretend to be. If you don’t have a good headphone, you’ll be sorry, you will spend so much time doing tideous editing, you’ll probably want to quit in utter frustration, but stick with it, and work with it, you’ll find your product much better, and the more you use it the better you get at delivering quality writing via voice.

Many folks note they do write better while typing and thinking, this is because the dexterity use of your fingers is lighting up various parts of your brain, we know this from fMRI brain scans, but if you move your fingers and animate your arms and fingers when talking a little bit, you’ll see that your mind finds that perfect word, even when dictating at 150-175 words per minute, and it does wonders for your speaking ability – once you get good at it, you won’t need a silly teleprompter like some people.

[Reply]

15
Gracious Store writes:

Transcription software may be good for some but not sure if it is the best way I may want to go I tend to phrase and rephrase my sentences as I write. Say it in another way, I write as I think, I tend to be more articulate the more I write

Comment provided January 15, 2013 at 9:32 PM

[Reply]

16

I use Dragon Naturally Speaking and I am using it to dictate directly into this comments box. It is an excellent piece of software that both speeds things up and removes the frustration due to my less than stellar typing skills. The training was quick and easy and it picks up my Kiwi accent no trouble.

My best tip to share is prepare a simple mind map for your article first, so that you have a coherent plan before you begin. This pays dividends in clarifying your thinking, saving time and resulting in a tighter article with less redraughting.

PS I needed to make only two corrections to this comment.

Comment provided January 16, 2013 at 12:53 AM

[Reply]

17
Karthikeyan writes:

Its very quite simple and useful. It would be more useful if it comes in local languages too

Comment provided January 16, 2013 at 6:46 AM

[Reply]

18

I don’t use Dragon Naturally Speaking myself but I do see how it could be a time saver, well worth the investment in my opinion.

Comment provided January 18, 2013 at 7:10 PM

[Reply]

19
Cheryl Veon writes:

Hi,

Thanks for the article.

I haven’t used my Dragon yet. I received it for a Christmas present.

Now I’m looking forward to using it!

Cheryl

Comment provided January 21, 2013 at 4:37 PM

[Reply]

20
John Magee writes:

You have to really like talking to use voice transcription software. I have tried it but it takes so much more energy then typing. Typing is much quieter too :)

Comment provided January 22, 2013 at 6:57 AM

[Reply]

21
Lori Emmons writes:

We’ll, I am talking to add my .02! I am battling M.S. And am a 2 fingered typist. Personally, I’d paid for and used Dragon for years. It takes a lot of hours to train the program to recognize your voice and speech patterns. And you definitely have to proofread very carefully.
Working on a first great lesson plan once and said oral re-reading and it recorded “oral rear eating”… Not a good translation, fortunately I caught it before I turn my paper in!
The good news is now Windows seven has the speech program already included.
It requires very little time to program. And you soon learn to correct mistakes as you go.
If you have not trained it well it will definitely take you longer and require much more time proofreading.

Comment provided January 22, 2013 at 1:01 PM

[Reply]

davidinnotts writes:

Ah, there y’go, Lori! You must come from North America, where most ‘t’s are pronounced identically to ‘d’s, giving endless confusion. Now here in the UK…
.
.
.
.
.
.
… there are other pronunciation problems, such that Dragon has a UK-specific pronunciation starter. Not to mention stuff like ‘tomaito’ vs. ‘tomarto’!

[Reply]

Lori Emmons writes:

Your observation is correct! There is no doubt that the programs are getting better at recognizing speech patterns, but why should I buy another program when they already comes with the new operating systems?

[Reply]

22
Keith Lock writes:

I set mine up just yesterday. Rather than buying software I just use the speech recognition built in to Windows 7.

I found there was a few things that I couldn’t do that I hoped to but I can rattle off 500 words into Notepad (which I opened with a voice command), then edit it in short order.

As I get better I will edit with voice commands but that was slowing me down at first. I will try more and more voice commands as I go. The thing with it is that the editing becomes less when you do it with voice because the software adapts, but when trying to hit a deadline it’s not so easy (initially only I imagine).

Comment provided February 1, 2013 at 5:36 PM

[Reply]

23
TIm writes:

It all depends on whether you’re a natural-born typist. Some people brag about how quickly and effortlessly their thoughts flow from their fingers onto the screen.

Others, like me, find the fingers cause a writing bottleneck. With dictation software, the bottleneck is really the speed at which I can think.

(By the way, I wonder if anyone can REALLY type as fast as they can talk, knowing that the keyboard is boobie-trapped to slow us down. If you don’t believe me, check how many vowels are on the home row.)

Comment provided February 6, 2013 at 10:34 AM

[Reply]

Lance Winslow writes:

You are absolutely right about the keyboard purposely slowing us down, but it is that way on purpose because the old typewriters didn’t want to get the keys hung up on each other when people really started typing fast, but the keyboard with computers never changed, so it “really is” boobie-trapped purposely so, to slow down your fingers.

I don’t believe anyone can type as fast as they talk, today after writing 15-million words, which I am sure is some sort of record, I can type extremely fast, even surprise myself, but still, with voice recognition I can go 2/3 faster no matter how I measure it. That is a bonus for time sake.

[Reply]

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

Please read our comment policy before commenting.