NaturallySpeaking vs. Vista Speech Recognition

| May 11, 2009

If you have already upgraded your system to Windows Vista, then you’re in possession of a valuable freelance writing tool.  As you know, I recently purchased a new laptop equipped with Windows Vista.  While I’m proving not to be a huge fan of Windows Vista, I must admit that I think I’m smitten with their speech recognition software.

My Existing Voice Recognition Software

Many moons ago I tried deluxe Dragon Deluxe NaturallySpeaking.  My friend allowed me to try his software (version 4) and I was not impressed.  Honestly, I thought the technology was a waste of time.  I have to reiterate, that was quite some time ago.

I was reintroduced to Dragon Deluxe NaturallySpeaking about a year ago with version 9 (as of this writing, they’re up to version 10).  I was very impressed with the evolution of the software and decided to give it a shot.  After all, playing with the typing speed test on their site was the clincher.  If you want to test your typing speed against speaking speed, give it a try by using the Nuance demo.

Since then, they have made a lot of changes and currently they’re selling software version number 10.

Creating a Relationship with Voice Recognition Software

trainI spent quite a bit of time training the software to understand my speech patterns. I’ve posted about this before, so I won’t reinvent the wheel here.

Just about the time I got the software just the way I wanted it, I changed operating systems.  Along with Windows Vista came a host of software compatibility problems.  As with so many of my software programs, NaturallySpeaking 9 didn’t like Vista, so I had to upgrade to NaturallySpeaking 9.5 in order to use it with Vista.

Windows Vista Speech Recognition

At the time I upgraded the NaturallySpeaking software I didn’t realize that my computer was equipped with Windows Vista speech recognition software.  I happened upon it as a result of roaming around the Internet.

Since it was already on my computer, I figured might as well try it out.    After configuring the microphone to work properly and eventually having to purchase a USB microphone headset, I found the speech recognition software to be easy to use and remarkably accurate.  I say remarkably accurate because with much less training than I had to do with the NaturallySpeaking software, I was able to dictate with about 90% accuracy.  The accuracy rate improves the more I train and use the product.

Anyone who has worked with voice recognition software knows that it takes a bit of training, correction and repeated use to get the software to respond as you want it.  It takes patience, but it’s worth it in the long run.  I’m still playing around with the software, but here’s my initial comparison between the two software programs:

Feature NaturallySpeaking Windows Vista
Cost I spent about $150 for the software Comes with Operating System
Training I found it required extensive training Quick up front training
Audio Files Transcribes audio files to text Does not transcribe audio files
Software Compatibility Requires upgrade to run with Windows Vista. Not Mac compatible. Mac users must purchase MacSpeech Dictate Windows Product
Computer Commands I tried operating the computer hands free with NaturallySpeaking and was unable to do it. Can conceivably operate the computer via voice only. Takes a little training, but the software is responsive to commands like “Open Microsoft Word, scroll up, Close Program” and more.
(*It does not work with Framemaker 6.0)

The goal with Windows-based speech recognition program is to eventually be able to operate a computer by voice only.  This is a wonderful feature.  I often take it for granted that I am able to move my hands turn on a computer and type when I need to.  Some people are not that fortunate.

Mixing It Up

Since I have both software programs, I feel that I have the best of both worlds.  I can use Windows Vista to control my computer and dictate and Deluxe NaturallySpeaking when I have audio files to transcribe.

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Category: Freelance, Self Employed, Tools, Working from Home, Writing

About the Author ()

Felicia A. Williams is a freelance writer and blogger. She spends the majority of her time with her family and writing. If she's not writing or commenting on NJFM, she's either outside smelling the roses or writing articles for one of her other sites.

Comments (5)

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  1. Crystal says:

    Thanks for the advice, Felicia. Sounds like you certainly have your system down! I have a voice recorder (I’m sure I got the idea from you last summer) but I’m not sure what I have is compatible with my Dragon and I’m not sure my Dragon is glitzy enough to handle it so I’ll be checking into all that. And I’m definitely going to find a wireless headset! In the meantime, I guess I’ll just let the Dragon continue to train me.
    .-= Crystal´s last blog ..Supplement Retirement Income with Freelance Writing =-.

  2. Crystal says:

    Hey Felicia –

    I just got Dragon NaturallySpeaking and am having somewhat of a love/hate relationship thus far. Do you use a wireless headset or microphone of some sort? If so, what kind? This being tied to the computer is enough to make me absolutely crazy. The funny thing is I’m in the middle of an article on stress symptoms. At least I’m getting a personal refresher on what they all are! TIA for any info you can share.
    .-= Crystal´s last blog ..Quilt for a Cure – My Small Contribution =-.

    • Felicia says:

      LOL! Crystal, I understand the frustration. 🙂

      I actually use a digital voice recorder so I get to free myself from the computer. I then download my dictation to the computer and Naturally Speaking transcribes it.

      It sounds like you either need to get a wireless headset or a voice recorder.

  3. Lisa says:

    Glad you posted this write-up. I had no idea that Vista already had speech recognition software, probably because I’m pretty addicted to the writing process via typing. I’ve never even fooled around with the concept of dictation or hands free computer operation. I think I’ll give it a test run soon.

  4. Thanks for the comparison, Felicia. I actually haven’t tried either one but am interested in dictating a book at some point, so I appreciate the info!