Dragon Dictation app turns voice to (mostly) accurate, shareable text

Jun 13, 2011
Tech

If you’re reading this review, you’re probably looking for an app to help you create text notes, emails and tweets or just remember details, hands-free. The universal app for iDevice Dragon Dictation might be the service you’re looking for. Instead of writing a traditional review, I decided to take Dragon through its paces and dictate […]

If you’re reading this review, you’re probably looking for an app to help you create text notes, emails and tweets or just remember details, hands-free. The universal app for iDevice Dragon Dictation might be the service you’re looking for. Instead of writing a traditional review, I decided to take Dragon through its paces and dictate my thoughts through the app to email myself (and yes, I added iDevice later).

One of the immediate drawbacks of Dragon Dictation is that it doesn’t have a great sensor for punctuation. If you use words such as comma or period, the app will include them, but otherwise the only punctuation I saw was an apostrophe. (This sentence actually came out as: “If you use words such as, or.” The Apple included them, but otherwise the only punctuation I Szalas’ — guess I slurred that apostrophe a bit!). Once I finish dictating this review I plan on going back and adding in the correct punctuation as well as cracking correcting some of its misspellings but don’t worry I’ll even leave in Dragon’s mistakes so you can see how the app deals with the typical Midwestern accent.

As long as you speak very slowly and clearly, Dragon Dictation does a pretty good job of understanding what you’re saying and coverts it to text quickly. In my experience Dragon’s weakest results are typically at the beginning of the sentence — the first things that I said what were typically input incorrectly but you can see these errors on the screen immediately after you finish recording. I found that if I held my device to close to my mouth at the app muddled more of my words and that if I was holding it further away. You’ll have to play with it and see what’s right for you. Recording will start as soon as you hit the button. You can hit done button when you’re finished speaking or you can have the app automatically detect when your speech is done. I found that option to be ideal for true hands-free environment. However, if your speech pattern tends to have long pauses you may become frustrated with the app constantly shutting off. After you’ve recorded your text, you can use the built-in keyboard to modify any drop dropped words or make any additions such punctuation. You might be wondering where the delete button is — what you do is tap on the text and it creates bubbles around each individual word. You can and then swipe over what you want to delete.

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Since the app is free it is ad supported, the piece these only pop-up on occasion and don’t really impede the app in any way. When it comes time to share your notes, Dragon Dictation offers built in Sharon sharing for Facebook, Twitter, SMS, email or you can copy it to your clipboard. You can also opt to give the apt access to your address book to import the names of your contacts making a more likely that the Apple app will spell them correctly when you see say them.

On the hole and whole I’m pretty impressiveed with Dragon Dictation. Although it’s not 100% accurate (it did create the percent sign on its own) the app was able to get most of my sentences correct. I can see it being a useful hands-free tool and the best part is that it’s free.

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