Practice Tip - Keep talking to your computer

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I would be very reluctant to dedicate this column to IT issues. I am aware that it is only a few weeks since I recommended Skype, but having got used to wearing a head set I have to admit I now have another recommendation to make.

I tried voice dictation software several years ago and was intensely disappointed by it. Despite hours of training it was slow, error ridden and in the end a complete hindrance rather than a help. Like several others I have spoken to, I simply wrote off the cost to experience and threw the equipment and software away.

Then several people told me recently that they had tried the system again. They were all using Dragon Naturally Speaking version 8. Several were doctors, amongst whom it is so popular that a special edition is available for their use. Few said that it...

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11th Jan 2006 13:14

Give it Time
I have been an avid user of Dragon software for over 10 years and their latest version Dragon Naturally Speaking version 8 is the best so far, especially on a fast PC.

However, most people try voice dictation software out and because it is not 100% accurate straight away, they give up. There is also quite a stiff learning curve to actually using the software too.

If you get over this learning curve then accuracy will improve graetly the more it is used. I would say that mine is at least 95% accuracy and with the latest version of Dragon, it will type out at least as fast as I can speak.

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11th Jan 2006 14:31

I agree
I had problems with my wrist some years ago and a sympathetic boss bought me Dragon version 6.
I found it helped enormously and was useful and accurate across the whole spectrum of packages we use, including Word, Excel and Sage Line 50.
It did have its moments though (like when my office-mate sneezed and a "what did you say?" message popped up).
Being able to use Dragon meant my wrist had time to heal and I now type quite happily, but if it hadn't been for Dragon, that might not have happened. I'd definitely recommend it.

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11th Jan 2006 17:56

Information on NaturallySpeaking
For further information on Dragon NaturallySpeaking go to:

This software used to be provided by ScanSoft but they have been taken over by Nuance Communications. You may find (as I did) that the initial purchase is cheaper from Amazon but Amazon do not (yet?) sell upgrades.

My own purchase of version 7 was made after I read flattering comments about it in David Pogue's "Circuits" column in the New York Times. He was even more flattering about version 8 and the ScanSoft website used to include a link to his video demonstrating its merits. This is now available at:

or, if you want to go directly to the video:

His only problem in the demonstration was finding a way to produce a transcription error so that he could demonstrate the ease with which it could be corrected. Even "iridescent chlorofluorocarbons" caused it no problems. Is there an accounting expression of equally challenging complexity?

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By imain
11th Jan 2006 17:02

How much?
This seems like an interesting product. Where can I find out more about it, and how much does it cost?

Can it be trialed or do you have to take the plunge straight of?



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