The Latest Generation of the NaturallySpeaking Programs - dummies

The Latest Generation of the NaturallySpeaking Programs

By Stephanie Diamond

The current generation of NaturallySpeaking, version 12, was released in the second half of 2012. In addition to the usual bug fixes and incremental improvements that you expect in a new version of an application, NaturallySpeaking 12 brings the following five major enhancements:

  • Improved accuracy: Every facet of NaturallySpeaking works faster by cutting down on the time required for the program to recognize dictation and produce output. Nuance reports that NaturallySpeaking 12 is 20 percent more accurate than version 11.

  • Faster response time: Response to commands is faster and makes dictating less about stopping and starting. You can pay attention to longer phrases with pauses in between.

  • Shortcuts for common commands: Nuance has anticipated many of the common commands that you want to use and has created shortcuts for them.

  • The choice of whether to say “click” before commands: You can set your commands to require that you say “Click” — always, sometimes, or never. That way, your Dragon assistant won’t confuse your commands with your dictation.

  • Smart Format Rules: You can choose whether you select auto-formatting options on the fly so that corrections are totally under your control.

Here is the current lineup of some of the NaturallySpeaking products, with a few comments about their features:

  • NaturallySpeaking Home: This entry-level edition is perfect for people who hate to type. It is as accurate as the more expensive editions, enables control of the Windows desktop, includes a Dictation Box for dictating into other applications, and enables you to browse the web by voice. The Home version includes Full Text Control for a number of applications and some Natural Language Commands for Word, WordPerfect, and OpenOffice Writer.

    It doesn’t support Excel or playback of your own voice for corrections. The Home edition is perfect if you’re planning to dictate only the first draft of documents, which you then polish using a mouse and keyboard. This version probably isn’t the best choice for people with physical disabilities.

  • NaturallySpeaking Premium: Premium includes all the Home edition’s features, plus a few extras. It enables you to select a piece of your document and play back your own dictation, a great feature when you’re trying to correct a mistake that either you or NaturallySpeaking made 20 minutes ago. It also opens the possibility of dictating into a recorder (including a smartphone) and letting NaturallySpeaking transcribe it later.

  • NaturallySpeaking Professional: This edition is the one to get if you’re personally committed to using voice recognition for everything or if you’re a manager planning to convert your entire office to NaturallySpeaking.

    The Professional edition has everything Nuance could think of to make your experience easier, including two great features: You can build your own specialized vocabularies and create your own voice command macros — or more precisely, the office geek can construct specialized vocabularies and commands tailored to match the way his office works, and then everyone else in the office can use them too.

  • NaturallySpeaking Legal and NaturallySpeaking Medical: At heart, these two editions begin with the Professional edition, but Nuance has done some of the extra work.

    • Medical edition: Comes out of the box knowing the names of obscure diseases, body parts, and pharmaceuticals.

    • Legal edition: Knows amicus curiae, habeas corpus, and a bunch of other Latin legal terminology that would make the Professional edition throw up its proverbial hands.

  • Dragon NaturallySpeaking for the Mac: Nuance also has a collection of products for the Mac, including Dragon Dictate, MacSpeech Scribe, MacSpeech Dictate Legal, and MacSpeech Dictate Medical. If you know some Mac users, tell them to check these out.

In addition to these off-the-shelf products, you can also have NaturallySpeaking installed on your office network. If you’re interested in this option, contact Nuance directly. Training programs for your staff are also available.