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Speech Recognition software is a type of software that must be trained to your voice, and will allow you to speak into a microphone to type your documents for you. The software is excellent for people who do not type quickly or for people who have a lot of word processing work to do.
Unfortunately, this type of software is not available as freeware. Your freeware programs are the ones that will read screen text to you, or programs that will turn screen text into an audio file for you. Because of this, I will be sharing information on Dragon NaturallySpeaking 9, Standard Edition because Nuance provides the industry standard for this type of product.
There are multiple editions of this product available at a wide variety of prices.
- Standard: $99.00 plus S & H; no download.
- Preferred: $199.00 plus S & H; no download.
- Professional: This product must be purchased through an authorized reseller, as they have multiple editions of this product for medical and legal professionals.
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Things You'll Need
- Dragon Naturally Speaking Software (this article will cover version 9 Standard, however, you can use any version and edition you can get your hands on)
- USB Headset or Microphone
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Purchase Dragon Naturally Speaking and follow the instructions in the packaging to install the software on your system. All you should have to do is insert the first disc in your drive, and let it autoplay. When the first disc has completed, insert the second disc and let it autoplay. If the discs do not autoplay, simple open My Computer, and double click on the disc drive that the disc is in.
Be sure to register your software so you can stay informed on any updates, and get customer support if you need it at a later date. You never know when you may need to reformat your system and reinstall the software. If you lose the product key, the only way to get it back is to contact customer support. Without a registration, customer support will pretty much think you are full of it, and are just trying to pirate the software.
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Now that you have installed the program, you'll need to connect your USB headset or microphone (headset will work better) to your computer, and open the program.
There will be an initial setup process as you need to read text to train the program to decipher your voice commands. The first step is to create your user by entering your name, the type of connection your microphone is using (either USB or Microphone-In jack are the most common), and then click next.
You will then need to position your microphone so that the program can pick up your voice correctly. You will test the microphone and speaker volume.
The final step in set-up is training the program for your voice. You will have a selection of text to read to the program in order to train it. Choose a selection, and read all the way through. Note: When the arrow turns yellow, Dragon Naturally Speaking is having trouble keeping up with you, so you will need to repeat yourself until the words in question turn green again.
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You are now ready to begin dictating. Make sure your microphone is on, and that you speak clearly into the microphone. If there is a word the program constantly gets incorrect you can train it, by going to Word > Train in the Naturally Speaking toolbar. You can type the word you want it to type, and then speak it into the microphone.
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Tips, Warnings, and Other Information
- The more you read to the program, the better trained it will be.
- Always check the documents for errors, because it cannot pick up context. For instance, when you mean "for", the program will likely type "four".
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