UK users of speech recognition products

Question: I’m leaving my current job very soon, and was asked to circulate a document before I left describing my experiences with RSI and the different assistive technologies I have tried. I did so, and now have been told by our occupational health group that the document is so useful I should write it in a more formal format and submit it to a journal!

I’m quite willing to do this, but I feel that I am somewhat biased as the only voice recognition products I have tried are the Dragon Systems products. If there is anyone out there who has been able to work successfully with other companies’ products (or who has not been able to work successfully with these products) and would like to share their experiences with me so I can produce a less biased article I would be glad to hear from you.

NOTE THAT THIS IS NOT A REQUEST TO DEALERS TO SEND ME YOUR ADVERTISING INFORMATION! I’m just interested in people with RSI who have used these programmes for real.

I will of course be mentioning this wonderful news group and the RSI association which gave me the information I needed to keep working, once I was hit by RSI.

Answer 1: First, I hope that you are moving on to better things. Secondly, I’d be very interested in reading your article when it is ready (or told of publication, pub. date and edition). I’m a long-time Dragon (& now Nat Speaking) user so I can’t be very useful re other programs.

Answer 2: I have Kurzweil Voice working fairly well on my home PC at the moment (since the machine is not powerful enough to run Nat etc.) but I am not yet an experienced user of it.

Answer 3: I have been experimenting who with some IBM voice recognition software. I recently upgraded my home machine to OS/2 Warp version 4 in order to use Voice Type. This only allows discreet recognition, not continuous recognition, but works fairly well. The recognition is generally good, it learns new words well, and the navigation is also fairly good. I have experimented at work with IBM’s Via Voice Gold which allows continuous recognition.

Unfortunately the work environment is rather noisy and my don’t feel I’ve given the software a fair test yet. It seems to be harder to train new words and the navigation is not as good as with Voice Type. My main complaint against Voice Type is the way it sometimes imagines words when I’m not talking to it but overall I’m impressed by it and find it quite useful.

Answer 4: I’ve been using, or attempting to use IBM’s Via Voice. I spent the required time training it and still find myself spending ages making corrections. I have a good, clear speaking voice, yet still am having problems. It also seems very slow, much slower than the advertised 70+ wpm.

The system requirements are 166mmx and 32 or 48 ram. I run a 200 mmx with 48 ram and it chunters away for AGES!. When it doesn’t understand a word it makes it up and then adjusts the rest of the sentence to fit in with the word it thinks I have used. This has led to much hilarity from my friends who look forward to my unedited surreal emails! I have been interested to hear others view points on different products, perhaps I should try something different.

Answer 5: I use Dragon’s Naturally Speaking Preferred & Dragon Dictate Classic 2.02 UK(after 4 years with Dragon Dictate Classic). On most days I only need Naturally Speaking. I’ve found it excellent & that it has “learned” my style, etc., quite quickly, especially after using the “Vocabulary Builder” tool.

We have our own filters, of course, so please read critically and send email if you like. This site is brought to you by Susan Fulton, longtime user of speech recognition and assorted gadgets for easier, less painful computing.  What’s new? Experiences with microphones. Screen shots of Via Voice Gold and Naturally Speaking. Computer mistakes: Goofs to grin at. Check out Do you need speech recognition? for links to a variety of web sites.” etc.

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