voice dictation

Is there an alternative to Dragon Naturally Speaking?

Dictation

Episode 1551

Chuck from Rochester, NY

Chuck is using Dragon Naturally Speaking on the Mac, but he just found out that Dragon is discontinuing support for Mac. What are his alternatives? Leo says that Windows and Mac both have voice recognition and dictation now, so it may be that they discontinued it because the market is drying up. Google is also doing this. Sadly, it won't have nearly as many voice features as Dragon did. One thing he could do is use the Windows version and dual boot his Mac as a Windows machine using BootCamp.

How can I do voice dictation on my desktop?

Dragon Naturally Speaking

Episode 1533

Gayle from Covina, CA

Gayle wants to know if she can do dictation with her desktop. Leo says that she can plug in a headset or microphone to the audio jack in the back of the computer. Windows 10 has Cortana that can handle the dictation. She can also get software like Dragon Naturally Speaking, but these days, voice dictation is available as part of Windows OS. It's not perfect, but it works pretty well.

How can I do voice dictation on my Mac?

Microphone

Episode 1510

Tracy from Los Angeles, CA

Tracy wants to know how her husband can do voice dictation on his Mac. Leo says to go to the System Preferences pane for keyboard settings and enable voice dictation on the Dictation tab. Then he can tap the function key twice on his iMac, and that will trigger voice dictation. It's pretty accurate. It won't be perfect, but it'll be 80% there. He can even do voice editing.

Why is Google's voice command feature sending audio to my Gmail account?

Google Assistant logo

Episode 1451

Mark from Loris, SC

Mark has a low end Android phone running Marshmallow. Ever since the last update, any time he uses the voice command feature, he's noticed a message that says it's sending audio to his Gmail account. Leo says it's a normal function of Google voice command. It's just letting him know what account that service is associated with. It's not emailing him, it's just letting him know what account it's using. The phone isn't really doing the dictation, it's sending the voice data to Google servers. It looks like Google is being transparent about it.

Can I train Siri to work more accurately?

Siri

Episode 1354

Ellie from Honolulu, HI

Ellie is frustrated by Siri's use of punctuation, as it's very inconsistent. How can she teach it to do better? Leo says that Siri is mystifying when it makes that judgement, and there's really no way to fix it. It's not perfect, but it should get better the more it's used. Even if it's 95% accurate, that 5% can still be annoying. Siri is trainable, but whether it actually improves speech recognition is debatable.

How do computers translate text to voice and vice versa?

Episode 1264

Charlie from La Canada Flintridge, CA

Charlie has a Samsung mobile phone and he's amazed with its accessibility features that read text aloud. How does that work? Leo says that Samsung uses their own voice dictation called S Voice and Google has their own voice dictation service that is quite good. Samsung uses Nuance, which has been in this game for decades with Dragon Dictate. It used to be a real challenge, but Leo says that thanks to Nuance and Google, voice dictation is light years better now. Leo also says that with Amazon Echo, it's even more advanced.

How can I do remote access via voice dictation?

Apple iPhone 6s and 6s Plus

Episode 1233

Richard from Youngstown, OH

Richard is visually impaired and bought the iPhone 6s Plus. Richard's friend is hearing impaired and he wants to know if she could use her iPad as a kind of stop gap hearing aid or screen reader? Leo says that using dictation mode with Siri would do it. Google has a good voice dictation mode as well. But if he's talking about remote access via voice, that would be a challenge. But maybe Richard should learn to write apps and create it!

What's the best voice dictation app?

Dragon Naturally Speaking

Episode 1145

Dan from Indianapolis, IN

Dan would like a good voice dictation app. Leo says that Google, Microsoft, and Apple all have speech detection in its phones, and Google has it on Chrome OS too. So if he has a cell phone, he can do it, and it's about 90% accurate.

Nuance makes an app called Dragon Naturally Speaking, and it's really the best app out there for it. Yahoo Tech writer David Pogue uses it to write his indexes.

Is there a voice dictation app for entering contacts into a Windows phone?

Windows Phone Cortana

Episode 1124

Ed from Palmdale, CA

Ed has lost his eyesight and he needs to get a phone. Is there a utility that will record numbers into his phone by voice? Leo says that if Ed brings his old phone to the phone store, he can ask them to move his contacts into the new phone for him. Most phones have accessibility features, but Leo says that Apple does it best. But that's usually for calling.

For editing the contacts, that could be a challenge. Windows Phone's Cortana voice app is a brand new utility, so it may be able to edit entries with voice. It'll be a long process though.

Why won't voice dictation work with chat windows?

Episode 1069

John from Irvine, CA

John was using Microsoft's built in voice recognition to dictate in Word. He uses the Logitech G35 USB headset and it learned his voice fast. But it won't work at all with chat windows like Skype, or others. It just won't function at all. Leo says that some applications don't support it dictation. Leo suggests doing a test call on Skype to be sure he's getting a good connection. If he has a good connection and dictation still doesn't work in Skype chat, it may not be supported.