Nuance Has a Dragon for Every Need

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Nuance Communications has released version 11 of Dragon NaturallySpeaking, which the company says takes less time to train and is faster and easier to use. 

Since Dragon 11 can recognize more speech at a rate that is 15 percent higher than the previous version, the company says users won’t need to expend as much energy correcting mistakes. The system also uses shortcuts and voice commands for opening applications or searching the Internet, which Nuance says will consolidate user actions. The way the new version learns is also more flexible since corrections can be made by typing—not just voice. 

“Beyond the core engine improvements, the most significant effort in Dragon 11 was the focus on usability,” says Peter Mahoney, senior vice president and general manager of the Dragon product line at Nuance. “Dragon 11 significantly improved the correction process with the newly designed correction menu. We also went further and included new technology that analyzes keyboard input and includes the benefit of any keyboard corrections into the user profile. The Dragon Sidebar is a completely new user interface element that is designed to intelligently display the most appropriate commands that the user can say.”

Since the version 11 release, Nuance has also released Dragon NaturallySpeaking Legal and Medical Enterprise Network editions that contain expanded industry-specific vocabularies and greater support for a variety of  devices and electronic record-keeping systems. The medical version is for larger practices with 25 or more users.

Nuance also released a Dragon version for the Mac that improves on an earlier product from MacSpeech, which Nuance acquired in February. The new Dragon software for Mac will allow users to search the Web, create documents, and navigate the Mac’s specific applications. Jay Gonzales, Nuance’s product marketing manager for Mac products, says the theme of Dragon Dictate for Mac is “simply smarter speech recognition.” He also says simpler commands and shortcuts make the user interface more intuitive. 

While Nuance says Dragon Dictate for Mac can learn better, the software can’t correct directly in the text box as the PC version does. However, Gonzales points out that a user has to only change the text in the speech recognition window that appears beside the main text box. “It’s going to learn from that automatically,” he says. “I guess you can say it’s one step behind on the Mac, but the other commands that you would use...would work as well, and those are shortened-up commands to make it easier to get to the recognition training step on the Mac.”

Like Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 for the PC, the Mac software includes a choice of dialects for people with regional accents. 

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