When it comes to voice recognition software, the choice may be less about which speech recognition product to buy and more about whether voice recognition software is more efficient for your use than typing. Most reviewers agree that voice recognition software accuracy and ease of use have improved so much that it may finally be worth the investment of time and money. At 90 percent accuracy you'll have to correct one mistake in every 10-word sentence; however, test accuracy for NaturallySpeaking 11 and Windows Speech Recognition now ranges between 96 percent and 99 percent. Reviewers say that correction is easy in Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 and Windows Speech Recognition, but each reviewer expresses an individual level of patience for interrupting flow.
When considering which speech recognition package is right for you, experts say to consider the following:
Some experts say that automatic speech recognition is erroneously called voice recognition, but both terms are accepted for common usage. Voice recognition software (VRS) has two main functions. The first is spoken control of computer functions (e.g., "open Word" or "turn off microphone"). The second is to convert your spoken words to text in a computer program, especially Microsoft Word or Outlook. This means that you can create text without typing. When you speak through a microphone (most voice recognition software programs include one), the software translates the sounds into written words.
VRS has always been a blessing for people who are unable to type, as well as for those who have difficulty typing due to a physical condition. The killer application that would allow any of us to dictate a stream of consciousness and flawlessly translate it remains elusive. Early programs used discrete speech technology, which meant you had to pause between words in order for the computer to understand them. The latest generation uses continuous speech technology, which allows you to speak more naturally, although most reviewers find that the software must catch up with them somewhat. With caveats about accuracy, nearly all reviewers say that talking is faster than typing as a means of entering text.
All voice recognition programs but Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 require an enrollment process, during which you read sample text out loud to train the speech recognition software to understand your voice patterns. While most voice recognition software users want a large vocabulary in their software, larger vocabularies require a more time-consuming training process. Because many words sound similar, you need to train the computer to understand how you pronounce them. The software learns from its mistakes and progressively improves.