New features in Dragon Dictate v4 for Mac

What are the new features in Dragon Dictate v4?

Mac users who want to be more productive and use their voice to command their computer will really benefit from the new features in Dragon Dictate v4 for Mac. It is ideal for writers and bloggers, creative professionals, school and college students, journalists, business people, home users, teachers, and many others.

Dragon Dictate 4 now also provides a powerful, accurate transcription capability from any audio source. Examples of use include:

Writers/Authors/Bloggers/Content Creators

  • Compose while away from the computer using a recording device to capture content from your own voice, or from another single speaker, and transcribe this content later.
  • Also transcribe recorded speech audio from Internet sources, such as podcasts.

Teachers and Students

For transcription of lectures and presentations, either by the speaker, or by another individual. Examples may include:

  • Professors who want to make transcriptions of their lectures readily available to students without having to manually transcribe the results.
  • Teaching Assistants, some of who may need to transcribe recordings of multiple professors’ lectures.
  • Students who record their professors’ lectures and transcribe them.

Field workers such as Insurance, Law Enforcement and Social Services 

For note taking and report writing in the field – anyone who is away from the desk or computer but needs to capture information from one or more sources. Examples may include:

  • Claims Adjustors for insurance companies who will use a digital voice recorder or smartphone to record notes and/or compose text for use in reports.
  • Police officers or social services workers who need to quickly capture information for report writing, taking notes or writing “on scene” reports.
  • Letting agents who may want to quickly describe the contents and condition of each room as they move around a house.

Video Producers

For transcribing the audio portion of a video of a single speaker to produce, for example:

  • Text for subtitles.

 The new powerful transcription feature allows you to:

  • Accurately transcribe an audio file of any single speaker’s voice from podcasts or pre-recorded audio files.
  • Create transcription-only profiles to accurately transcribe based on recorded sources, instead of requiring a live source.
  • Only a 90 second audio clip is required to create a profile for the speaker.
  • Great for college lectures, interviews, business users with recorded notes…and more!
  • Transcribe from many different formats, including .mp3 audio files, aif, aiff, wav, mp4, m4a, m4v.
  • Use multiple transcription sources within a profile so one user can easily manage different recordings.
  • Expanded profile capability to allow multiple transcription sources per profile, making it even easier for one user to transition back and forth from personal dictation to one or more transcription files within the same project.
  • Not only can you easily transcribe your own voice memos from a smartphone or portable voice recorder into text, but you can seamlessly mix and match transcribing from other recording sources.
  • You can keep all the customisation and vocabulary from your profile without having to switch out to a different profile.

Have more control

With voice commands you can…

  • Compose and reply to emails in Gmail using full text controls, doing dictation and editing natively without having to transfer any text.
  • In Safari and Firefox, use voice commands to control your Gmail inbox, giving you even more voice capability within popular applications.
    • Use your voice to click on any visible link.
    • Use your voice to open emails.
    • Mix talking and typing with Full Text Control in Pages 4.3.

Be more accurate and faster

  • Higher performance with drastically reduced latency and faster editing
  • Improved accuracy over version 3, with optimisation for latest speech recognition technology.

Use flexible voice commands

With just your voice…

  • Create and edit documents in Pages® 4.3, compose and manage email in Gmail™, surf and search the Web and update your Facebook and Twitter status, to get things done quickly.
  • Smart Format Rules automatically adapt to how you want abbreviations, numbers and more
  • to appear, so you don’t have to correct it every time.
  • Easily create custom word lists and macros for frequently used text, giving you the flexibility to customise Dragon® Dictate for the way you work.
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Dragon case study 3 – How Dragon helps at a legal firm

This recent study shows how Dragon helps at a legal firm

Background

Established over 80 years ago in Gosforth, Newcastle Upon Tyne, McKeag & Co Solicitors has built up a reputation for making the quality of the client experience an integral and rewarding part of the extensive legal services it offers. Its team of 55 staff offer advice and representation on matters ranging from accident claims, criminal law, family law, property law and wills and probate. Apart from the natural desire to ensure its clients’ matters are resolved in a friendly and effective manner, the company actively encourages the introduction of technology in order to further optimise the efficiency of the service it provides.

With that in mind, the company recently managed a staggered deployment of Dragon, Nuance Communication’s best-selling desktop speech recognition software. Dragon turns talk into text easily and can make virtually any computing task easier and faster, from capturing ideas and creating documents, to emailing and searching the web, to using simple voice commands to control many of the popular programs people use every day at work or at home.

Its deployment was largely driven by a pending personnel change at McKeag & Co Solicitors; with two experienced secretaries due to take maternity leave, the company decided that rather than pay for costly staff cover in the interim, it would trial speech recognition to automate the creation of case notes, putting less transcription pressures on the remaining secretarial team, so as not to compromise the quality of the service it delivers.

Typically, the company’s case workers would dictate their reports using digital voice recorders. The saved files would then be downloaded by the secretaries for transcription, checked and signed off by the case worker and then despatched to the relevant recipient or client, or saved to the company’s case management system. However, the duplication in this process meant it could take up to two days for a document to be turned around and occasionally there were further delays that resulted in backlog build ups.

“Initially, we were confident that the productivity gains realised by Dragon would help us offset the resource loss of our two experienced secretaries. What then really wowed us all was Dragon’s ease of use, its accuracy and how much progress has been made compared to much earlier speech recognition solutions. This, combined with a keen Dragon user now singing its praises internally, led us to wonder how much more the business could benefit if we offered Dragon to more members of the team.”

Joanne Williams, McKeag & Co Solicitors I.T. Manager

Trained for success

After a discussion with an authorised Nuance reseller partner, the reseller initially invested one day training a case worker. Thanks to the comprehensive training provided, the user got to grips with Dragon quickly and enjoyed a very straightforward enrolment process, enabling them to be up and running and achieving high levels of accuracy within minutes. Describing the reseller as ‘excellent, responsive and very supportive’ and providing ‘detailed, easy to read ‘How to guides’, it’s no wonder that the user became an enthusiastic internal Dragon champion, as Joanne Williams, I.T. Manager at McKeag & Co Solicitors, explains: “Initially, we were confident that the productivity gains realised by Dragon would help us offset the resource loss of our two experienced secretaries. What then really wowed us all was Dragon’s ease of use, its accuracy and how much progress has been made compared to much earlier speech recognition solutions. This, combined with a keen Dragon user now singing its praises internally, led us to wonder how much more the business could benefit if we offered Dragon to more members of the team.”

Having done so, the overwhelmingly positive response of the team and ongoing advice and support provided by the reseller, has seen the company extend deployment to a further nine case workers. Joanne added, “Productivity has really improved and case notes are now completed within a day, and they tend to be a bit more detailed.” Once saved, the completed transcriptions – which include any documents that relate to court proceedings – are either posted out or stored easily in the company’s case management system.

The reassurance of reliable, dependable speech recognition technology

Joanne observed that the case workers who use Dragon find it reassuring that the words appear on the screen almost as they say them, leaving them feeling confident that everything has been both transcribed accurately and as they intended, and they can easily make any amendments or changes in real-time. Furthermore, as Dragon learns each user’s voice profile and style of dictating, it gets even more accurate each time it is used, further reducing the need to make corrections.

Joanne adds to this, reporting that, “I’ve not had any complaints about the accuracy, but a lot of great feedback about it being intuitive, easy to use and how it helps to get work done much faster. Once they get used to using Dragon, they simply love it. ”Talking their way to even better service”.

From a further personnel perspective, Dragon proved its worth when a secretary retired. “Given the time that front end speech recognition is saving the case file workers, we estimated that we could probably save on a headcount replacement in the event of this natural wastage. In addition to this considerable cost saving, Dragon has helped evolve the roles of the two returning secretaries, post their maternity leave. Now their transcription roles have been reduced, they are able to spend more time supporting the case workers and also, more time speaking with clients either on the phone or within the practice. “This really helps strengthen and build a great rapport with our clients, because there’s more time to care for each client and show a more personal, tailored service,” Joanne added.

An investment that pays off today

Perhaps most importantly, the deployment of Dragon presented another surprising benefit. Joanne stated that, “In the context of the fix-fee billing model, Dragon helps our legal practitioners to complete up to three files in the same time that it used to take them to do one. It is a modern tool that’s really relevant for a modern way of billing. Therefore, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Dragon to other legal professionals.”

This article is copyright © 2014 Nuance Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. Nuance, and the Nuance logo, are trademarks and/or registered trademarks, of Nuance Communications, Inc. or its affiliates in the United States and/or other countries. All other brand and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

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What can you do with Dragon?

I’m often asked “what can you do with Dragon?” and the answer is that you can do as much or as little as you want to!

The obvious example is that you can dictate text directly into Microsoft Word, Microsoft Outlook or any application that requires text, and if you do no more than this, using Dragon will still be faster than typing; my typing speed with Dragon is 120 words per minute!

However, taking advantage of other commands can help to speed you up even more, and you can format, delete and move text, control the Word Ribbon, and open, close, save or delete documents, all with voice commands!

In Outlook you can open, close, delete, reply to, forward, create and send emails and dictate all the text you need.

On the desktop you can open, close, minimise, maximise and switch between windows.

You can also search the web or your computer with simple voice commands.

Although this can seem a bit daunting to start with because there are so many commands available, the structure is logical and most commands equate to what you would naturally say to achieve the same thing, so for instance, to move your cursor to the end of the line, you would say “go to end of line“.

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Can Dragon help people with RSI?

I often get asked the question “Can Dragon help people with RSI”?

I believe that the answer is yes having carried out many joint assessments for Access to Work with ergonomic experts, for people with a range of problems such as RSI, carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis. These assessments have often been followed by training, so I have seen at first hand just how Dragon can help. It is no exaggeration to say that it can be life changing!

These conditions can be extremely painful and often develop over a long period of time when people use a mouse or keyboard at work, especially if the main task is repetitive, such as using the number pad on your keyboard to enter numbers.

You may not even notice that something such as RSI is developing initially, because you may dismiss a small pain as a strain or similar. This is potentially dangerous and RSI can significantly affect a persons lifestyle by making it painful to carry out every day activities such as lifting and carrying objects around the home.

People who use a computer keyboard for long periods of intense activity should be aware of this possibility and particularly if they start to experience pains in their hands, fingers or lower arms.

An ergonomic assessment can help by suggesting a different keyboard or mouse, an adjustable desk or chair that is more supportive, and being aware of head and neck movements as you work.

There are many different types of equipment available such as split keyboards where you can change the angle of working, or ergonomic mice, where you twist the arm to a more comfortable position, and these are important because the body is not naturally designed to use a keyboard or mouse, and it is often in the small muscles around the fingers that this type of problem can begin.

Ergonomic equipment is not always the only solution however, and voice recognition software can have a big part to play in helping to ease the symptoms of RSI and similar problems.

This software will allow you to eliminate the use of the keyboard almost entirely if you wish, and can significantly reduce the use of the mouse.

In many cases it is not a good idea to stop using your hands entirely, but equally, symptoms can change, and people I have helped often have days where they simply find it too painful to use either a keyboard or a mouse. Voice recognition software provides an alternative that will allow people to carry on working without exacerbating their painful symptoms.

Can Dragon help people with RSI? Yes, it really works because it is now so good!

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Video review of Dragon demo at Witney BIC!

Thank you to everyone at Witney BIC for their hospitality on June 12th!

I enjoyed the day and it seemed to generate a lot of interest, and I’d also like to thank James Holden of Wolf Productions for this video review of Dragon and short clip of the software in use!

This short clip shows how Dragon can be useful to speed up your typing, and I would be very pleased to arrange a convenient visit to show you how you can do this too!

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Does Dragon Dictate for Mac work?

Many people have asked me “Does Dragon Dictate for Mac work?” and the simple answer to this question is, yes it does, but you would expect me to say that!

I recently read an article by Gareth Huw Davies, a writer for the Daily Mail and freelancer for the Times on Sunday, who also writes for various companies. In this article, he summarises his experience of using Dragon on both a PC and a Mac, and thought it would be good to paraphrase the article here, and have also included the link to the full article below.

In this article, he states that he started using Dragon many years ago on the PC and that it was a revolution in his writing life, and that he used to write feature articles based on hour-long interviews, and it would often take a morning or more of heavy keyboard labour to transcribe them.

He progressed through several upgrades on the PC, and Dragon became gradually more accurate, but in 2010, switched to a MacBook, and for a time was adrift. He recalls that there was a rather unsatisfactory alternative which did work on the Mac (MacSpeech), but it was not very good!

Then in 2011, the first version of  Nuance’s Dragon Dictate for the Mac was introduced.

Now, he is using Dragon Dictate version 4 for Mac, which has been recently released.

Mac users will know that there is a dictation tool in the Mavericks operating system, but it is very basic. Dragon Dictate however, is a fully-fledged dictation programme, and has a lot more features to make life easier!

GH Davies suggests that he is not a fast typist but that one of the benefits of dictating text is that it lets you try forms of words very quickly, and then try another just as quickly to see if that works better. He says that writers have always done this with pen and paper or typewriters, but it is a lengthy process!

Dragon Dictate also works well with the microphone built into the Macbook!

It is also very useful for proof reading your work…

“Dragon Dictate can read text back to you, whether you want to hear a specific selection, or an entire document. Hearing your text can help you catch mistakes, especially ones that a spelling or grammar checker might miss, and it lets you listen to the flow of your writing, so you can decide where to make changes during editing.”

This is very helpful when working to tight deadlines!

It is also possible to transfer a pre-recorded file from another device such as an iPhone, although this technique is possibly not as accurate.

The overall verdict? Dragon Dictate  for the Mac has become a powerful assistant, willing to take over most, if not all, of the tedious work we used to do on the keyboard.

 The link to the full article is here…

http://www.garethhuwdavies.com/uncategorized/6212/

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Client list

I have worked in many different offices during the last twenty years and have extensive experience of using Dragon in many different environments, so I know the areas where it works really well and can therefore speed up your paperwork, and my client list is very varied! I consider myself lucky because I have been able to visit some very interesting places!!

People I have helped in the Oxfordshire area include:

  • Thames Valley Police
  • David Parry Employment Law
  • Carl Evans Wealth Management
  • Transrural Trust
  • Urban Element (web design)
  • Wolf Productions (website design)
  • FlytheKite (copywriting)
  • Oxlets (lettings agent)
  • Martin&Co
  • Whizzywords (copywriter)

I have regularly visited and provided training for staff working at these organisations…

  • Essex Police Authority
  • Financial Ombudsman Service
  • Foreign & Commonwealth Office
  • Hertfordshire County Council
  • Ipswich Borough Council
  • Ministry of Defence
  • Nationwide Building Society
  • Norfolk County Council
  • Suffolk County Council

I have also worked with these organisations and provided training on their behalf for many years…

  • AbilityNet
  • Access to Work
  • Access Made Easy
  • Action for Blind
  • Adapt-IT
  • the Blatchington Court Trust
  • Cragside AccessABILITY
  • the Disability Aid Fund
  • Hands Free Computing
  • Key 4 Learning
  • MKC Computers
  • The Sequal Trust
  • Visualeyes
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Testimonials

Some of the comments and testimonials received from people that I have trained… 

I am not prone to hyperbole but am happy to say with conviction that this combination of software and training is the single most significant aid to productivity in all the 25 years in my profession apart from the introduction of computers!

If you are of a similar vintage to me, think of the difference between a manual typewriter and a word processor and then multiply it tenfold.

GP, Martin&Co, Witney

Dragon is very impressive and I really appreciate that it will increase my ability to work more effectively and efficiently without discomfort. I am already receiving the newsletter which is a huge bonus. Neil Sleight was extremely knowledgable and helpful. He paced the lesson to my individual needs and had a good understanding of the physical difficulties I have. His training method gave me a confidence in using the dragon software for the first time. None of my collegues use Dragon so I feal very reasurred that I can contact Neil for advice in the future

HJ, Bracknell

——————–

Thank you for the training you provided me with, which was very well delivered. Your invaluable patience and detailed guidance through each of the programs helped me make it through without much struggle, and the knowledge that I gained can only continue to grow.

It was really great working with you and I would like to take this opportunity to thank MKC computers for arranging the training with one of the best trainers!

Thanks again.

SC, Hammersmith

——————–

Very good. Went through everything with me until I had full understanding.

AW, Slough

——————–

Thank you for the information provided, I will look at it over the next few days. I had been dreading the training but….it was really good!

SF, Huddersfield

——————–

My trainer was very patient with trying to sort out problems I was having. An excellent session.

MD, Oxford

——————–

Just a quick e-mail to thank Neil for the training delivered which was very informative and the new skills learnt has  been extremely useful and helpful in developing my new working capabilities.

The way in which Neil supported me was second to none and I would like to thank Neil for his professionalism and time spent with me.

Thank you ever so much,

MH, Barnsley

——————–

I would just like to send you a brief message to say thank you for your patience and understanding of my disability in relation to training. I was very nervous and unsure whether I would get on with using the system, and although it’s taking some time, I feel more confident in using it. It has been really helpful to be able to book extra sessions when I  need them and not feel pressurised  that I have to learn everything all at once. You have also helped me identify added problems and given good advice on how to deal with them.

I am able to use Dragon on the days that my hands are particularly bad, which means I don’t have to rely on anyone else to support me, therefore, maintains my independence.

AJ, Welwyn Garden City

——————–

I received two whole day Dragon training sessions from Neil in May and June 2008 after having some training from another trainer who I felt very uncomfortable with. I was apprehensive about the training because of my past experience but Neil’s style is reassuring and inspires confidence. He is calm and allowed me to work at my pace.

The training has been useful and has enabled me to carry out my daily work in more comfort. Neil was very knowledgeable and was able to answer all my questions. The training both verbal and with written handout was very thorough and gave me the skills I need to operate Dragon successfully. I use many different systems and he helped me to use Dragon on all the systems that I am using, even setting up short cuts for me.
Neil is a knowledgeable and competent trainer.

JR, Basildon

——————–

The training that Neil has given me on the Dragon Naturally speaking software is going really well. This program actually helps me access software that I had difficulty in within my work environment.

When Neil was showing me how to use the Dragon software he made it fun and enjoyable to learn and made me feel quite relaxed and confident on how I should be speaking into the microphone.

This software assists me on being more precise and efficient with my work

I would recommend this software to any one that has dyslexia.

LR, Billericay

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See the Talking Typist at Witney BIC on 12th June!

You are welcome to come along and see the Talking Typist at the Witney Business Innovation Centre on 12th June between 10am-2pm!

http://www.witney-bic.co.uk/centre_articles/929-talking-typist-free-software-demonstration-

Neil Sleight will be at the Business Innovation Centre to answer questions about Dragon Naturally Speaking, and to demonstrate the software working. We would love to meet you there and show you how this accurate software could help you with your paperwork!

 

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Can using Dragon really save you time?

How much faster than typing is Dragon, and can it really save you time? 

This very much depends on how much time you spend typing during an ordinary working week.

Let’s look at my typing…

I am a very slow typist but with my voice I regularly type at speeds of more than 120 words a minute. This means that if I have a 2000 word report to write, it will take me under 17 minutes!

The average typing speed is about 40 words a minute, and evidence of a piece of research that shows this can be found in a document called Typing Speed: How Fast is Average: 4,000 typing scores statistically analysed and interpreted, written by Teresia R. Ostrach, President of Five Star Staffing, Inc., Orlando.

The document can be found here…

http://dev.blueorb.me/wpcontent/uploads/2012/03/Average-OrbiTouch-Typing-Speed.pdf

I won’t quote too much from it, but fundamentally the authors argue that less than half the world’s population has the manual dexterity to type at more than 50 words a minute, and this means that the same 2000 word report will take 40 minutes, but this does not take into account typing errors!!

Most people will be able to type three times faster with their voice, so if you work a 40 hour week and spend 50% of that time at the keyboard typing, you will actually save over 6 hours a week – that must be worth thinking about because many people today are drowning in a sea of paperwork!

Increasing your ability to write by this amount will help save you time to focus on other areas of your business, and will also improve the service that you are able to offer to your customers.

 

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