Dragon Dictation - can it run in the background ?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by The Mercurian, Aug 29, 2013.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2012

    I have a big pile of work coming up. I'm thinking about getting dication software to speed things up.

    Does anyone know - can you run dictation in the background ?

    In other words I want to be actively with the mouse and keyboard in one window - doing whatever I need to do. Can I dictate as I go (say describing the steps) and have the voice feed into a word document in the background (or whereever) without losing focus on my active window where I'm using the mouse and keyboard ?
  2. macrumors 68020


    Nov 23, 2011
    Nope, doesn't work as flawlessly as that unfortunately. Dragon Dictate is pretty good but it's really resource heavy on OS X, and its commands are slightly different to the Windows version (for instance, 'scratch that' is a different command).

    Normally you need it selected in the window you're typing in. You can flick between applications with voice commands, however. But it's not too good for multitasking, just for writing things in your open window.

    Also, be prepared for the following:

    - sinking a lot of money into the program
    - sinking a lot of time into training your voice
    - sinking your fist into your phone when you call Nuance's technical support

    I'd honestly just stick with OS X's built-in dictation. :)
  3. macrumors 6502a

    Jun 28, 2012
    Is there a dictation product that works with multiple speakers and accents? I'm looking for something that can transcribe my phone calls instead of me having to do that manually or hiring a transcription service. All of the products I've seen, even enterprise-grade ones, are designed for use by one person.
  4. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2012
    Thanks keys. Thing is I actually think it would help my productivity wuite a bit - I often find myself thinking about how I'm going to write stuff up as I am doing the numbers in another app - can't do them both at once with keyboard. What I might do is use an older laptop as a dedicated transcription machine :v

    I want to be scifi on this :) But if I can find a way to use my time more efficiently like this - totally worth it.
  5. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2012
    Just tested it - it kinda sucks
  6. macrumors regular

    Jun 6, 2011
    Dragon will only insert text in the frontmost application. But, you can record everything to an audio file (.wav, .m4a) using your Mac or iPhone or any digital recorder, and then use Dragon to transcribe it (takes an audio file as input, outputs a text file). Be prepared to fix quite a few errors!

    You can get started with Dragon with 5-10 minutes of training and the accuracy is surprisingly good... but once that novelty wears off, you will want Dragon to get even better at recognizing your voice for which there are a few inbuilt tools but it does require effort.

    And, because Dragon is quite resource intensive, run it on the fastest machine you have. On a slower machine, you'll dictate something and it's take a couple more seconds to type it out. Sometimes that means a couple more seconds to get it completely wrong. Gets annoying real fast.

    OS X's built in dictation doesn't work for me... takes too long on Mac OS X 10.8 because has to connect to Apple's servers for transcribing every phrase. On 10.9, it can work in offline mode. Can't train it to improve accuracy, so I wouldn't rely on it for real work. It may good enough for a quick email or web search I guess.

    Hope that helps...
  7. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2012
    Thanks Jose

    Yes decided to wait for 10.9 - partly to see what the Mavericks version is like - but also because I'm worried Dragon won't work with Mavericks and the 'upgrade' would cost as much as Dragon again (from googling it seems they have form for this kind of thing in the past)

    Yup I read about recording audio files - sounds useful!

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