updated 07:49 pm EDT, Wed September 5, 2012
Improved performance, better editing, 99 percent accuracy
Nuance, the company that licensed its speech dictation technology to Apple to augment Siri and provide built-in dictation for some iOS devices and Mountain Lion, has announced the next major version of its Dragon Dictate software for Mac. The new version 3 for Mac offers a claimed 99 percent accuracy rate, 15 percent better performance, improved editing control and most importantly support for digital recorder transcription -- including recordings from iOS devices.
The addition of digital recorder and iOS device support for audio transcription should prove a significant factor in the new version, supporting files created in various applications that save to standard audio formats such as M4A, WAV, AIFF and MP4. The company already supported Mac control through voice in Mountain Lion, but v3 now adds commands for dictating into Mountain Lion's Notes and Reminders applications. Users of digital voice recorders and iOS devices like iPhones to capture memos or notes will find the transcription ability a major improvement.
Nuance is also offering a free iOS app called Dragon Recorder that will work with the iPhone, iPad and fourth-generation iPod Touch for recording notes, and v3 also now supports a variety of Bluetooth headsets for input as well. The Dragon Recorder app is intended to transcribe a single speaker and not intended to support interviews or multi-voice meetings. The recordings made by the app can be transferred to a Mac or PC and transcribed by the latest Dragon software for each platform.
Unlike the Dictation app for iOS or the built-in Siri Dictation now available on Mountain Lion and the latest iOS devices, the standalone Dragon Dictate 3 does not require an Internet or network connection in order to work. The online connection used in those programs uploaded names from users' contacts lists so that commonly-used proper names would be spelled correctly (no other contact information was uploaded, just the name spellings). The standalone app is able to process this internally, and also features improved correction methodology so that unusual spellings or homonyms can be quickly detected and corrected.
The new version 3 also sports other improvements, like single-DVD installation and a centralized speech engine for all users to save space. While out-of-the-box voice recognition is significantly improved, accuracy can be refined by reading the program a "training story" so that it customizes itself to a user's particular speech patterns. In version 3, a greater range of stories is now offered to accommodate those at different reading levels and abilities.
The program will become available for purchase starting on September 13 (downloadable versions only) and September 24 for boxed orders. New copies will cost $200, with upgrades for previous MacSpeech or Dragon Dicate users costing $150.