What I think about Dragon Professional Individual 15 after many years of using dragon naturally speaking programs.
This post was dictated into Dragon Professional Individual v15 (Link to Amazon for price and availability). Without Dragon, 80% of the content I have online on my various websites simply won’t exist. I am a slow pathetic typist. Unfortunately, being a self-taught computer user, I never had a solid typing foundation. While I consider myself to be very good with computers today, bad habits mean I still can’t type fast or well.
From the first time I heard about Dragon by nuance (was known as dragon naturally speaking back then), I knew this was my ticket to building my blogs. The possibility to speak and see the words appear on screen was magical to me and I held on to this dream. Back then, Dragon was not as smart as it is today. It was hell to come back to edit those huge blog posts riddled with the most left-field mistakes and words that had no place in the sentence. Combine that with my non-standard English accent and the end result was a disaster.
No matter how bad it was, there was 1 redeeming factor.
It got me to create the content.
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See, I struggle with procrastination and getting work started is a huge problem for me. If you told me to start typing out a 3000-word article, I simply would keep pushing the start date forward. Dragon gave me the assurance that I could just start speaking into a microphone and 100s of words per hour will effortlessly flow into my text editor. While I’m working, however, I can easily do long hours. Dragon made starting much easier for me.
So what’s new in dragon 15 and should you upgrade from your rock-solid version 13?
Dragon v15 microphone autogain explained
Dragon Professional Individual 15 is able to detect the level of your voice and increase or reduce the gain of your microphone to compensate for this. This enables you to be able to speak from farther away from the microphone. Realistically, you wouldn’t want to be at the other end of the room speaking across it and expect Dragon to get your words 100% accurate. But for short commands, like search Google for something. You will be able to get this done from much farther away than before.
I noticed this right off the bat with my headset which I always have hung above my work desk. I’m now able to leave the headset handed almost a metre away and still have quite accurate dictation for short commands. This enables me to quickly get something opened on my computer or to draft a quick reply to an email. I use this feature to also reply to comments on YouTube or other blogs. All of this without having the headset on my head.
You can now sit back, relax deep into your chair or sofa, and have Dragon pick up your voice through your desktop microphone. Just as a reminder, this form of dictation is never going to beat the accuracy of having the microphone right beside your mouth. A position that is guaranteed when you wear a headset. Wearing a headset for some can get quite cumbersome especially if you don’t have a very light and comfortable one. Fortunately, I have a very light and well-padded comfortable headset in the Jabra UC750 voice. I can understand however that many people will prefer not to have a headset on for very long periods of time. So the auto gain feature of Dragon Professional Individual 15 will enable you to have comparatively high accuracy with your desktop microphone even while speaking at the capsule from 1 to 2 feet away.
Dragon Professional Individual 15 is resource-efficient.
Dragon Professional individual has been optimised to use very little computer resources. You can tell this in the fact that the transcription now is done behind the scenes so you can continue to work with the mouse cursor. I have made a video showing exactly how much RAM and CPU the software uses during its various stages of operation. As you can see from the video, the RAM usage never reached 1 GB. This means that you don’t need to load up your computer with RAM to be able to use the software. As long as you have 4 to 8GB, you should be fine for using Dragon as well as doing a little bit of browsing online.
Transcription of voices of other people.
With Dragon 15, you now have the possibility to transcribe the voices of other people, male or female. This opens up a whole world of possibilities for getting words into text. This is in its very initial stages so the accuracy is still very low. However, as long as the voice is clear and loud enough, Dragon is going to do quite a good job transcribing it.
Dragon 15 deep learning of the way that you speak.
Dragon professional individual 15 has this new deep learning software embedded into it that allows it to continuously learn how you speak and improve the overall accuracy of your end product. I have noticed this first hand and sometimes not for the better. This deep learning feature, for me, sometimes ruins my profiles and this forces me to start afresh again. This, however, is totally my fault, because I don’t have a standard English accent, the way I pronounce most words varies all the time. When Dragon decides to learn how I say a word, then I say that same word differently next time, we have a problem.
So, when I get tired of dragon miss-recognizing my speech, I end up making a new fresh profile. This happens more frequently than I would like.
It’s not all that bad. This deep learning feature has potential and if you have a standard accent, this feature will help you greatly reduce errors over time benefiting you greatly.
The biggest differences between Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13 vs Dragon Professional Individual 15.
In my personal experience, the biggest difference I noticed when I moved on to Dragon Professional Individual 15 where:
- Dragon Professional Individual 15 didn’t require me to read a text to train the profile from the beginning and was very accurate right out of the box.
- A very simple feature that was dearly missed in version 13 that is now present in version 15 is the immediate positioning of the mouse cursor at the end of the text after you’ve corrected something in the middle of it. In version 13 and earlier, I had to use the command “go to end of line” and this got annoying very quickly.
- Dragon 15 now allows for the use of various types of microphones all connected to one profile without the need to train each.
- With Dragon in professional individual 15, anyone could pick up your microphone and start dictating into your profile right away. As long as the dictation is clear and well pronounced, accuracy should be high. This was not possible in Dragon 13.
- Dragon 15 microphone auto again now allows for speaking to the microphone a little bit farther away than Dragon 13 allowed.
Here are some things I believe are cons with the use of Dragon professional individual 15.
Things I consider to be cons with dragon professional individual 15.
There are some little bugs afflicting the software. Like most new versions of a program, these little bugs will surely be ironed out. One bug I noticed is the duplication of the initial alphabets of words. This happens when you restart dictation after a long pause but also happens randomly, so I don’t really know what triggers it.
Dragon 15 takes away the possibility to drag an audio file into DragonPad and have it automatically start a transcription from voice to text right there on the screen. This was one of the most useful features from me in Dragon 13. I didn’t have to deal with opening up different settings and finding the file I want to transcribe like I have to do with version 15. I could simply command Dragon to open up its pad and then drag my audio file which I dictated into my digital voice recorder into any white space of the dragon pad and Dragon immediately started to transcribe that audio file into text.
I believe that this feature was taken away from Dragon 15 because whenever you did that, Dragon wanted the cursor to be left unused as it was typing the words where the cursor was. That meant that your computer could not be used for any other function. Taking away the mouse cursor immediately caused Dragon to try to fill in the words into that new cursor position and if it was not a text editor, then the transcription will fail.
Dragon 15 now does the play transcription process behind the scenes. You can still see the cursor occupied sometimes, but you’re allowed to do other things as well during transcription. So while you had to leave the computer alone for the time it took to transcribe into Dragon naturally speaking 13, you can now continue with other work while Dragon 15 is transcribing.