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  1. #1
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    Advice on Speech Recognition software?

    Greetings ladies & gents, <img src=/S/cheers.gif border=0 alt=cheers width=30 height=16>

    My boss has asked me to research and purchase a speech recognition program for her. She wants to use it for transcribing notes and articles she's writing, and only in MS Word. She's got Window XP and Office2k, I think (not sure yet). I used to use Naturally Speaking (now owned by ScanSoft) a couple years ago until I moved to WinXP, and I liked it a lot, but I hear a lot of groaning about the new version (7.0). Same goes for IBM Via Voice 10.0 -- some high praise and a lot of complaining.

    Do any of you have suggestions or comments about the newest version of these applications? I just don't know what to recommend, and obviously I don't want to foul up my boss's computer. (She's a pretty basic computer user -- not phobic but not expert.)

    Thanks for any help & advice you can offer.

    <img src=/S/thankyou.gif border=0 alt=thankyou width=40 height=15> Erik

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    Re: Advice on Speech Recognition software?

    Erik

    I worked with an earlier version of ViaVoice a couple of years back - until I gave up.

    The problem I found was that if the recognition is not accurate to greater than 99% (and that requires the assignment of the correct homonyms, depending on context, such as "their", "there" and "they're"), then more time is spent on editing the (quite often extremely bizarre) results that would have been spent typing the text in the first place!

    There is also a problem with learning and employing the meta-language used to control the formatting of the text ("new paragraph", "font Times New Roman, bold, 12 point", "delete last word", and so on). How many times did I find in the text "No, you stupid thing, I didn't want you to do that!!"...

    I don't want to put you off, but you may find that your boss gets <big>very</big> annoyed, so lay in stocks of aspirin and various calming drugs and potions...!

    John
    <font face="Script MT Bold"><font color=blue><big><big>John</big></big></font color=blue></font face=script>

    Ita, esto, quidcumque...

  3. #3
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    Re: Advice on Speech Recognition software?

    David Pouge who writes a weekly article in the NY Times addressed this subject a couple of years ago. He has some problems with his hands preventing him from keying so he uses a speech-recognition package of some sort or another. In his article, as I recall, he had an extensive list of problems and challenges that he had identified.

    I can't get into the NY Times site, because I don't have my password here in the office. But if you (or any other lounger) have access it makes good reading.

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    Re: Advice on Speech Recognition software?

    Erik,
    The article was in the New York Times - CIRCUITS | April 19, 2001, Thursday STATE OF THE ART; If Typing Won't Do, Speak Up - but they want $3.00 for it. It's here . Although it may be dated, as far as available software, I do recall that it had a lot of 'practical' advice as well. Your mileage may vary!

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    Re: Advice on Speech Recognition software?

    Hmm. That's very helpful. I remember doing a lot of the same when I had Naturally Speaking -- it would transcribe when I wanted it to do something, or it would "recognize" my throat-clearing as some weird Klingon phrase. But I think my boss won't care if it can't format and jump around the page, at least in the beginning. She is looking for the basic "I read my notes and it types it out" sort of thing. But with your bad experience with Via Voice, I'm inclined to get her Naturally Speaking. At least I'm remotely familiar with it.

    Thanks again for your help.
    Erik <img src=/S/cheers.gif border=0 alt=cheers width=30 height=16>

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    Re: Advice on Speech Recognition software?

    Thanks a lot for the link, Bowlie. I like Pogue a lot and subscribe to his weekly email. It is definitely worth $3 to me to get some good advice, but I wish there were something more recent. It's like the speech recognition industry just collapsed after Dragon was sold to L&H, then ScanSoft. I guess it's proof that competition really does drive market innovation. Anyway, I appreciate your help!!

    Erik <img src=/S/cheers.gif border=0 alt=cheers width=30 height=16>

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    Re: Advice on Speech Recognition software?

    Eric,

    I too, had just about the same experiences that John had, only with Dragon Systems Point & Speak. ( tried two versions ) Just too may errors despite quite a bit of "training". The two CD's now sit in the corner rack gathering dust and almost candidates for the Skeet target range.

    Perhaps the newer versions are better, but I don't feel like getting burned again. <img src=/S/aflame.gif border=0 alt=aflame width=16 height=16>

    Bob
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    Today it is called golf!

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    Re: Advice on Speech Recognition software?

    My copy of Dragon Naturally Speaking is also available, complete with box and all associated documentation. But I really wouldn't bother unless you live in a totally silent house and have a disablility that limits use of your hands.

    StuartR

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    Re: Advice on Speech Recognition software?

    Thanks, Bob, for the insight. I certainly hope the new versions are better, but so far I haven't found out. My boss hasn't yet done anything with my recommendation, so maybe she took my subtle warning seriously. More likely she just forgot about it, but either way I get to dodge the frustrating response when it goes wrong for her.

    'preciate your help! <img src=/S/cheers.gif border=0 alt=cheers width=30 height=16>
    Erik

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    Re: Advice on Speech Recognition software?

    Seems that you're following my old maxim:

    <big>The best way of optimising something is not to do it at all!</big>
    <font face="Script MT Bold"><font color=blue><big><big>John</big></big></font color=blue></font face=script>

    Ita, esto, quidcumque...

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    Re: Advice on Speech Recognition software?

    Speech recognition comes as part of office X. P. professional. I don

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    Re: Advice on Speech Recognition software?

    <P ID="edit" class=small>(Edited by Bowlie on 05-Mar-04 09:02. ... to say, don't tell John about Pogue's comment about the Mac. He'll never let me live it down!)</P>Erik
    You might want to check out this weeks e-zine from Pouge here . He gives a good review on Naturally speaking plus his normal insights. In particular <blockquote><hr>Not many people actually use dictation software; the huge majority of people buy it, try it, and never use it again. <hr></blockquote>The site is the New York Times that requires <img src=/S/free.gif border=0 alt=free width=30 height=15> registration (and I don't think I've been spammed from their source). If you prefer not to subscribe, send me a PM, and I'll e-mail you the text.

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    Re: Advice on Speech Recognition software?

    I don't think I've ever been spammed via the NYT either. As for Pogue's comment, John'll just take this as an excuse to try and offload some of his old clobber on you! There's some tag line about "The Great Dictator" that comes up around about here, but I just can't quite remember it. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>
    Gre

  14. #14
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    Re: Advice on Speech Recognition software?

    Hey, thanks for the heads up... I get Pogue's weekly email from the NYT, so I saw that article. Of course I forwarded it to my boss, who is still sitting on the decision. But that means no set-up worries for me, and she hasn't yet proved Pogue right -- but only since she hasn't bought it yet <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

    And Pogue's comment about the Mac guys buying a PC was great, esp. coming from a Mac guy.

    Erik <img src=/S/cheers.gif border=0 alt=cheers width=30 height=16>

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