Tips for Talking to NaturallySpeaking - dummies

By Stephanie Diamond

Dictating text to NaturallySpeaking, especially if you’re used to typing on a keyboard, can seem a little clumsy at first. You need to do things a bit differently than when you type. Following are eight tips to make your dictating easier:

  • Try not to watch the screen as you talk. The two activities are somehow not very compatible. Instead, look out the window or gaze off into the distance to compose and speak. Nuance removed the Results Box because people found it distracting.

  • Dictate in phrases. You don’t have to dictate the entire sentence, with all its punctuation, all at once (although using longer phrases improves accuracy).

  • Punctuate and capitalize as you speak. Although you can certainly go back and punctuate and capitalize text after you dictate, punctuating as you speak is often easier, after you become used to it.

  • Proofread what you have dictated. Dragon NaturallySpeaking will make some mistakes, particularly when you first get started. Sometimes those mistakes are both potentially embarrassing and so plausible-sounding that they are hard to detect! NaturallySpeaking provides two tools that address this problem:

    • Playback: Directly accessible from the DragonBar Extras menu, this feature plays back a recording of your own voice (not available in the Home edition).

    • Read That: This feature actually synthesizes a voice from your text.

  • Avoid the temptation to use unusual or classic texts, such as the Gettysburg Address, when trying out NaturallySpeaking. Instead, use normal, day-to-day language. If you really intend to regularly dictate poetry or something other than contemporary English, use multiple users. As it comes out of the box, NaturallySpeaking is designed for conventional and contemporary English; using it otherwise can cause errors.

  • Expect dictating to be a bit awkward at first. If you are used to typing, you may find that composing your thoughts verbally is disconcerting at first.

  • Compromise between using your voice and the keyboard if you can. Keep your hands on the mouse and keyboard for cursor and menu control, and then use Dragon NaturallySpeaking as a fast way to type and format text. For example, you might highlight some text with your mouse and then say, “Cap That,” or move your cursor somewhere and dictate.

  • To get used to NaturallySpeaking gradually, try typing normally using the keyboard; then, every so often, dictate a bit of text that you find awkward to type.

If you’re stumped about what command to say, you can always call on your Dragon Sidebar with, “What can I say?” and you’ll see the appropriate commands.