Life with the Dragon: Day Two – Talking Back To Your Computer

Working with Dragon NaturallySpeaking reminds me very much of one of those old movies in which you see an executive dictating to a secretary. I am now gaining a good deal respect for both executive and secretary.

The dictating executive had to be clear and concise and the secretary had to be able to understand him (face it, it usually was a him), even when he was not.  Without a doubt, the program that Dragon NaturallySpeaking seems to work with most easily is Microsoft Word.  This makes perfect sense as it is a dictation program.  You do, however, come to realize, that you must slow down your speech and speak to the program as clearly as you would to a recalcitrant 4 year old.  Like the 4-year-old, Dragon learns a little more every time you speak to it as long as you speak to it in an measured and even tone.

Sometimes, Dragon NaturallySpeaking will mistake words for commands.  For instance, when I used the word “tone”, Dragon read this as “Home” and proceeded to fly up to the “Home” key, ready to click.  There are a few ways that I have noted that will allow you to avoid this issue.  When you dictate a word that is read incorrectly more than once, you can use the “spell that” function to “train” your computer to understand the way you intone a particular word.  If you mean to use a command, you can hold down the control (CTRL) key and Dragon NaturallySpeaking will understand that you do not intend to dictate that as a word.  I have noticed that speaking in phrases of 3 words together with a pause after each tends to minimize the errors.  The best way, although probably not the easiest or fastest way, is to create user commands that will give you different ways of asking for common commands such as end of line or inserting a commonly used address.

Note from Seth: Do not have too many windows open at a time when you are using Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Otherwise, you will find extraneous codes and remarks in places you never intended them to appear.  You should silence the “Dragon” when you finish your dictation.