Voice recognition software isn't a new concept, but it has been steadily improving over the years. What once felt like something out of a "Star Trek" episode is now common in many offices around the world.
With the ability to streamline your workflow, speech recognition software is becoming more and more popular. Most people can talk faster than they move their fingers on a keyboard, so with this software you're able to work as fast as you can talk. You may type 100 words per minute, but using this voice-operated software will give you other advantages over typing.
Hands-free computing is one of the biggest advantages of talk-to-text programs. Working a job that requires a lot of back-and-forth between the computer and other tasks can make sitting still and typing difficult. With this software you can continue telling your computer what you want to say without being in front of the screen. It's also beneficial to those who aren't the best spellers, and busy parents with their hands full who just want to get that email sent. However, one of the largest benefits is to those with limited mobility or a disability that restricts keyboard and mouse use. The best dictation-to-text software will be simple for anyone to use, no matter their limitations.
Of course, talk-to-text programs are all about speed. Though you may have to spend some time learning the program, once you've mastered it, you will be able to navigate your computer and dictate documents faster than with a keyboard and mouse. To learn more, we offer articles on voice recognition software, as well as reviews on the best speech recognition software such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium, Dragon NaturallySpeaking Home and TalkingDesktop.
We based our review on a few simple criteria, all of which are important in a useful voice recognition program.
This specialized software has to have the right kind of features. For instance, there needs to be a voice training of some kind to help the computer become familiar with your voice. Other features like customizable commands and accent support also expand the usefulness of the program.
The primary function of this software is to let you navigate your computer by voice. That means you must be able to open and close other programs and use the features within them all by voice command.
The second most important function is dictation. This allows you to speak text into Word or other text editor. But the program must be good at recognizing speech in order to accurately transcribe it to text, so dictation is the true test of a good voice recognition program.
We tested the programs in dictation mode and assigned a score to each one based on how many errors they made in transcribing speech. A higher score means a program is better at handling all kinds of words.
Help & Support
Having help available when you need it is always important. We looked at whether software had help via telephone, email, FAQs and user forums, and whether it provided tutorials and user guides. These programs are intuitive, in general, and you'll be able to figure them out without assistance. However, we all know that occasionally you do need help from the people who make the product.
Taking into account all of these features will enable you to accurately choose software that suits you. Depending on your needs, you may find some features are more important than others. For instance, some people might be more interested in commands than dictation capabilities, so be sure to consult the scores for each review category.
|Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium||Dragon NaturallySpeaking Home||TalkingDesktop|
|Shows What You Said|
|Microphone Status Icon|
|Mute or Microphone Off|
|Headset and Microphone Included|
|Compatible with Bluetooth Headsets|
|Open and Close Programs|
|Navigate Programs and Folders|
|Switch or Minimize Windows|
|Help & Support|
|User Manual or Guide|