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Dragon Dictate 4 review

Dragon Dictate scripting

We get talking with the latest in voice recognition for Apple OS X

Nuance has today released its new Dragon Dictate 4 speech recognition software for OS X, packed with a host of tweaks, updates and brand new features. We got hands – and voice – on with the program to test out its capabilities.

The most significant of the new features is that Dragon Dictate can now transcribe audio from as many sources and voices as you might need. If you make a voice recording using your mobile phone, you can simply turn it into text when you get home. This is obviously handy if you like to make notes for yourself on the move, but also means that you can turn recordings of interviews, lectures and individual speakers at meetings into an easily readable and referenceable text form.

We were pleased to find that, although Dragon Dictate made a number of errors while we were training it to recognise our voice, once we’d got through that initial stage of speech analysis, the only thing we had to routinely edit was punctuation, which you have to insert manually using either voice or keyboard.

We’re fans of the Dragon range of speech recognition software, having given Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium 12.5 a Best Buy award last year. Dragon Dictate 4 shares many of the best features of its Windows sibling, making it easy to control your Mac using your voice and rest your hands and eyes by dictating instead of typing, as well as allowing you to go back and edit portions of text by voice if you change your mind about what you want to say.

In some ways, Dragon Dictate’s ability to control your computer is even more powerful that NaturallySpeaking’s, thanks to its command creation tool. At its simplest, you can use this to create specific instructions that, at a word, will open a favourite website or paste a pre-defined block of text into whatever you’re working on. However, it also lets you write and run your own programs using AppleScript or the terminal’s bash script, turning Dragon Dictate into a versatile tool for power users.

Dragon Dictate is out now, priced at £125 and available to buy from the Nuance online store.

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