If you are interested in the privacy aspect of this, read our article on the best cloud privacy laws. Using the cloud enables a lot of computing horsepower to be thrown at interpreting what you say. Using iPad speech recognition is simple. You just click the mic whenever the keyboard is visible, which is how most apps that use a keyboard do it.
Apple did a decent job, but it still had trouble with Dickens. It fared better with simple phrases and most of what we said was heard correctly as long as we kept to a basic vocabulary. It dropped the occasional word, though.
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- Why Use Dictation Software?!
For web searches, asking Siri is often quicker than typing, especially on smaller devices with fiddly keyboards. We next tested it with a few foreign words and place names. As its users will be aware, though, it makes plenty of mistakes and is quite limited. Google Docs Voice Typing is free and available wherever Chrome is.
Google Docs Voice Typing turns itself off automatically and, at one point, stopped responding despite being on, so we needed to repeat a section. After getting poor results in our dictation tests, we tried giving commands and fared better. We switched between italics and bold type, added punctuation and dictated words, all of which were recognized. Still, Google Docs Voice Typing is simple to use, even if its accuracy leaves something to be desired. It does seem to do better if you speak loudly and clearly, though. If you needed to dictate hands-free for a while, you could do so and correct the errors afterward, but there will be a lot of them.
Disappointed with its desktop performance, we decided to give Google another chance. This time, we used Gmail on Android and, surprisingly, fared much better. Accuracy was near percent for dictation and text, but the Dickens tests saw it drop considerably. Overall, though, we found that the Android version worked much better than the desktop one.
Speechnotes is a browser-based speech-to-text service that allows you to dictate into your browser. For our first test, we tried hitting it with rap and it made as good a go of it as could be expected given the quality of our rhymes.
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It got sketchier when we tested punctuation. We tried setting it to U. Fearing that it might be our diction, we turned to James Earl Jones. A recording of an iconic scene from a certain movie failed to register correctly.
Best Speech-to-Text Software: Dictating Results
We tried shouting into our mic. We did better when we used simple phrases. It did a decent job of getting things right, though there were still errors. You could use Speechnotes to make a rough draft, provided things are kept simple and you speak slowly. Speechnotes works in any browser, as long as the browser is Chrome.
You can export to. It claims that its dictation feature allows you to work two to three times faster than typing. For that to be true, it needs to translate your speech to text accurately. As its own website points out, though, doing so with complete accuracy is still a pipe dream. The subscription also means you can always take advantage of the latest version of its software.
As a paid service, though, the onus is on Transcribe to deliver. With its competitors mostly failing to provide anything in the way of stiff competition, though, the bar has not been set high. After signing up, we got a brief tour with a pop-up explaining a few tools and controls. We then headed for the dictate button, eager to see what Transcribe would make of our rambling.
We began with Oliver. It started by getting eight consecutive sentences percent correct. The first mistake came when we got overconfident and started belting out words at speed, but it got things right when we went back and repeated ourselves more slowly. Compared to Windows, Speechnotes and Google, Transcribe is way ahead ahead and it edges past Siri in reliability.
It may also be useful for recording meetings or conversations in situations where you only need rough notes or are happy to go back and correct errors later. Transcribe is browser-based, but dictation only works in Chrome.
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We looked at Dragon NaturallySpeaking last, which is the most expensive of this list. We tested the cheapest version, Home, on our PC. Setup is an ordeal, with awkward download links and a serial number that needs to be entered in five different fields without allowing users to paste the whole thing in at once. Taking a look at the install options, we found several English modules available. You can pick from Australian, Canadian, U. It got confusing when choosing our region and accent, though. If we selected the U. Travelers that set their region to their location without checking carefully might not realize they can tune Dragon to their accent, which seems like a blunder from a usability perspective.
Assuming that our U.
There were advanced options to select our vocabulary type, but only large was available. You can choose the speech acoustic model, too, but it only offers a previous version of the default BestMatch V. On start-up, we were given the option of launching in trial mode, despite not finding a free trial link on the website, or activating the product, which we chose. It asked us to read some text to confirm our microphone worked.
Dragon was so confident, it cut us off halfway through, letting us move on to the tutorial. The tutorials looked clumsy, but were better when it came to content. Doing so took two attempts. From that point forward, it got everything right, including some complex punctuation and numeric input. Since we were only saying what it told us to, though, we reserved our judgment. At one point, a pop-up appeared to tell us what we said was not recognizable. We wondered if it was really our fault. Another pop-up offered to install a browser extension for us.
Some may find these pop-ups helpful, others may consider them an irritant. After jumping through all these hoops, Dragon is a breeze to use. Its menu bar sits at the top of the screen and has a big red microphone to click when you want to switch it on. The menu bar is well-designed and gives you access to many useful features. Dragon allows you to select user profiles, which is helpful if you have people with different accents using the same machine. It can analyze your vocabulary by looking at user-selected documents, meaning you can train it with data that reflects your personal use of language.
You can also view a recognition history to see if there is anything Dragon gets wrong frequently. It has a raft of help features, too. There is a performance assistant and several help and support options. The website includes a wealth of documentation, but it seems scattershot. There is also a knowledgebase, so if you need support, there a lot of options.
Best Speech-to-Text Software: Dictating Results
When browsing through this we learned that only one user per machine is permitted , so taking advantage of the multiple profile feature is going to be costly. They are listed so you can pick them by number if you see the one you want. Five minutes later, we had our answer. Other keyboard related injuries on the rise include Tendonitis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Quadriplegia. If your career or work depends on your ability to type, this is a compelling reason enough to start enjoying the benefits of dictation.
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Unfortunately even in , the market for desktop dictation software for Mac is extremely small. For years the leading solution has been Dragon Dictate Professional for Mac but the developer Nuance dropped a bombshell in October that it was discontinuing the product. Dragon Dictate Professional still delivers by far the best voice recognition in the industry.
The main reason is the Windows version has always been better than the Mac version anyway with more features,. There are also a few web-based voice recognition software that Mac users can use but they require a permanent internet connection in order to work. We have therefore also covered the best online voice-to-text recognition apps that Mac users can use in this article too.
The reason Dragon Professional Individual is our number one pick is the amazing accuracy and sophistication it offers compared to any other solution. The difference between Dragon Professional and most voice recognition software is that it can actually learn to recognize your voice.
As it becomes more familiar with your accent and speaking style, it interprets your voice remarkably accurately. It also has Smart Format Rules which understand how you want phone numbers, dates, abbreviations and other data to appear. Another nice touch is that you can import audio clips from a device such as your iPhone and Dragon Professional will transcribe it into text.
This is especially useful for journalists who have to record and transcribe long interviews. The downside is that, as mentioned earlier, Dragon decided in late to discontinue the Mac version. There are various ways to do this but the easiest and most reliable by far is by using Parallels. Parallels allows you to run macOS and Windows at the same time so that you can switch between the two with ease. You then simply install the Windows version of Dragon Professional within your Windows environment and you can use it anytime on your Mac.
This is actually a better solution than using the Mac version anyway because the Windows version gives you slightly more control when tweaking and refining texts compared to on Mac. Note that you can choose between installing the Home Edition and Professional Edition but we strongly recommend going with Dragon Professional Edition , not least because it allows you to dictate in Microsoft Office and other apps. What we like about Dictation on macOS is that when you activate Enhanced Dictation , you can dictate offline without being connected to the internet.
Be aware though that this requires MB of disk space to download some additional tools before it can work on your Mac. You then simply configure a language and hotkey to start dictation or you can even activate it with a keyword. You can use this to start dictation in any application. Dictation works with any app including Office applications although not Google Docs which has its own voice recognition feature — see below.
What we like is that the voice controlled formatting commands are quite extensive and you can even create your own customized commands. Not many people are aware that Google Docs has a surprisingly powerful voice recognition engine which not only transcribes speech to text but also allows you to change the formatting of documents with voice commands.
Google Docs Voice Typing is pretty accurate for a free online text-to-speech tool. Arguably the most impressive thing though is the an extensive list of commands for formatting text. Note however that formatting commands are only available in English but the voice engine recognizes 43 languages. Speechnotes is a cheap and cheerful online speech-to-text service which works in Google Chrome and on Android devices.
One other option which may be of interest to Mac users is Rev. Rev is an iPhone dictation app which uses real humans to transcribe recordings. Rev is only available as an iPhone or Android app though. Another option is Braina. Braina is both a Siri style personal assistant and dictation app although it only works on Windows, iOS and Android. However, if you install Windows on your Mac, you could run the Windows version on it.
However, you can ask Siri to turn on Apple Dictation for you. Siri is designed as a personal assistant to launch apps, answer questions and generally speed-up your workflow on a Mac rather than dictation. The best option for you obviously depends on whether you want to wear something on your head, walk around, or just speak into a mic next to your Mac.
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If you like to walk around, buy a Wireless Headset but just be careful with the range as it can vary wildly depending on the model. If you prefer not to wear something, Microphones deliver just as good results although you may find yourself craning over the desktop ones more than sitting up straight like you can with a headset. It can feel strange at first talking to a computer and hearing the sound of your own voice constantly. These are the best voice recognition tools available for Mac users.