PROS / Dragon Professional’s dictation tools are well suited for workers with disabilities.
CONS / While the software is user-friendly, learning its many features is somewhat complicated.
VERDICT / The high accuracy score and easy command capabilities make this software one of the best voice recognition software choices.
Dragon Professional is sophisticated voice recognition software that provides a high level of accuracy. Like other voice recognition software, it gets increasingly accurate as it becomes familiar with your voice, your accent and your way of speaking. But this software doesn’t need extensive training to familiarize itself with your voice and speech patterns, as is sometimes the case with other software packages. Once you have all of your preferences and settings in place, this software achieves impressive accuracy out of the box. You can record your voice or someone else’s and have it transcribed by your computer. You can customize the software to open, close and operate programs like Word and Excel on command. It is also legally certified as a tool for professionals with disabilities. With an impressive feature package and functionality, Dragon Professional earns our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award.
This software has more dictation tools than any program we reviewed. You can search Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Firefox using voice commands to move your cursor and insert phrases into search engines. You can also open and create Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents. There are a wealth of training videos at the company’s website and especially on YouTube that will not only help you get started, but help you continually refine the process of using the software, so you can quickly become an expert. There is also a helpful user manual that will get you started.
When you open the software, you will be asked to complete a voice profile, which familiarizes the program with your voice. You can learn the basics within the first hour, but over time you can learn how to develop your knowledge of the software and it will become an increasingly valuable tool. Dragon Professional is unique in how simple its customizable commands are. You can program it to open a document to a specific page number or email template, saving you time by eliminating the need to search through folders to find the document you’re looking for. Sending emails is quick and easy. This software also effectively lets you turn certain functions off and on, like the microphone and dictation settings.
Dragon Professional is legally certified as an accessibility tool for workers with disabilities. Part of this is due to its accent support. This comes in handy both as the program learns your voice and way of speaking and if you need a presentation transcribed from a recording of a voice other than your own. This software will effectively transcribe content from any single speaker, whether it’s you or someone else. As with any voice recognition program, however, the software will be less effective at deciphering recordings of meetings with multiple speakers or even interviews with two or more people. It is best suited for transcribing single-speaker recordings.
The commands on Dragon Professional are efficient and all-encompassing because of how many programs they let you take charge of once you customize your settings. There are also built-in commands for opening and closing the internet, and you can easily access your favorite websites. You can drag a shortcut of your favorite website to your desktop and open it easily from there even before you open a browser. You can make the icons of those website shortcuts invisible so they don't clutter your desktop. Dragon Professional only supports Windows, but Nuance has created another program specific for Macs that has many of the same features. You can also navigate to programs and folders simply by saying their names.
You can customize advanced voice commands with this software. Some other voice recognition programs only let you add general commands, like “Open File X,” but Dragon Professional lets you set up commands that let you send emails to a specific person. With a simple command of “Send an email to Jane Doe,” it opens an email with that person’s address inserted and you can begin dictating the body of the email. You can also command the system to open programs that are specific to your professional environment, like uploading sites or databases only you and your colleagues have access to. You can switch or minimize your windows as you need. The software also helps you change specific settings, such as your favorite internet browser or which systems open automatically when you turn on your computer.
Dictating speech to text is the main function of this software. This voice-to-text software scored high on accuracy, reaching 95 percent. This is partly due to the software's advanced vocabulary.
Some dictation programs have a basic understanding of language but require that you add specific words to make the software functional. This can be time consuming, but Dragon Professional already has a plethora of words in its system so you can save time and energy upfront. However, if you feel like it needs more knowledge about your field, it allows you to choose files and emails for it to browse and add in new words.
The software corrects simple misspelled text, and you can move your cursor at any time by voice command. You can add punctuation and format the text. You can also integrate dictation into other systems outside the dictation box. A transfer option in the dictation box can dictate your speech for an email or a website.
The accuracy score for Dragon Professional came in higher than any other voice recognition software in our lineup. A notable improvement is the word interpretation compared to other versions of Dragon software. The vocabulary was hardly altered from our speech-to-text transition.
Help & Support
Setup for this software can be a little complicated. It is very user-friendly, but because of its numerous features you may need help learning everything there is to know and customizing its features to your specific needs. Fortunately, the support services in Dragon Professional are exceptional. Not only are there tutorials online, but the software has an interactive tutorial built into the software, designed to help you master it quickly. In addition to the tutorials, there are a wealth of helpful training videos on YouTube that can quickly make you an expert if you make the best use of them.
A user manual is available online, and it explains many of the software’s abilities more in depth. There is an online chat service that connects you to Dragon customer service representatives, and a phone number that has a small wait time. You can also email technical support and expect a reply within 24 hours. One quality to keep in mind about the software is how expansive it is. There are so many tools to learn that you would not be able to master them without a wide-ranging support system.
The dictation tools are more advanced than those on any other product we reviewed, not only in the accuracy of the dictation but in the breadth of the vocabulary and word implementation capabilities of the software. It is perfectly suited for people with disabilities. It allows you to dictate directly into a text file, search the web and create documents on your computer. Plus, it can transcribe content from a digital recorder. If you feel somewhat intimidated by learning its many functions, Dragon Professional's help services and video training makes the process much easier.