My favourite voice
By Andy Hayes
The article below was composed approximately 12 years ago and about DragonDictate Classic Version 3. This voice recognition software was available in the mid-90s designed for windows 3.1 and Windows 95. I have this software running on Windows XP however I have been unable to run this software on Windows 7 and above. This voice recognition software did have some degree of Windows navigation facilities although I didn't make reference to this in the article. This paragraph is an update created on 18 April 2014.
This is my favourite and most used voice recognition software. It's very simple to use and requires far less computer resources than more modern types use. Although will be difficult obtaining copy as this software is not a current version.
Most if not all voice recognition software today uses a continues speech concept. I will tell you more about this in a article for "DragonDictate naturally speaking version 5". Classic version 3 is how voice recognition software use to be like. It recognises one word at a time by matching your voice pattern to individual words (or something like that).
This software is very quick to install and probably much easier than more modern types. However it may not be so accurate or as fast as the newer continues speech types. After saying this it was designed when much slower computers were about and on newer computers it's quite fast. Advantages I believe it has over the more modern types are as follows:
You can load your DragonDictate classic version 3 in as soon as you have windows running. Once loaded a voice bar appears with a menu and a microphone logo with a little window next to it. The microphone logo is a switch to turn microphone on and off with using your mouse. The window changes colour accordingly to how loud or quiet you are. When microphone on window is yellow if it stays below when your dictating their is insufficient sound if read there's too much! So ideally when dictating this should turn Green. While not dictating best to turn microphone off.
To start dictating you need to open the application you wish to work on place the cursor using your mouse where you wish your text to appear. Turn the microphone on and start dictating. You need to dictate clearly and one word at a time with a little break in between words. As you dictate a word a menu of words appears by the voice are showing a list of words that could be the word you have just said. I have this set that 10 words. The most likely word will be the default word that is in number 1 position and this word is automatically inserted into your application. If it isn't the word you want check the menu list if you see the word there then either say "choose 7" or what ever number the word is on menu. Then DragonDictate will automatically replace word on your application with the word you have chosen. You can also use your mouse to click on one of these different words on the menu or scroll down menu and press enter key, on your keyboard.
Maybe the word you said isn't there at all in this case you start typing the word in the menu list next to number 1. As you start to type DragonDictate will start trying to predict what you said with the help of your first letter! Sometimes just typing the first letter will be enough to find the word you need! If not try the next letter and so on. If you have severe dyslexia then you might need to try several combinations until you feel happy that you got the word you wanted. However this may be very difficult with some words. When that happens with me I may try and ask someone for help or re word sentence using different words. It may sound complicated but it isn't once you got the hang of it, things soon speed up. You can save your new voice patterns when you exit DragonDictate. So each time you save voice settings DragonDictate starts to recognise how you say words and the accuracy is much improved. I can sometimes dictate a whole paragraph without any mistakes, it's got each word right first time. So all I am doing is dictating with out needing to choose different or correct word.
Although the correction facility sounds complicated it is very simple to use and it does provide help if your spelling isn't very good. I certainly find this very much easier than the more modern continuous speech types of software.
Text to speech facility.
Dragon Dictate classic version 3, also provides a text to speech facility that is extremely good. Like most software for text to speech it' slightly robotic sounding and some words don't sound like how you would say that word. However DragonDictate version 3, has one of the best text to speech voices I have ever heard from any software. It is much more natural sounding than other software I have tried.
This text to speech facility works very well and simple. If you have just dictated a document in your application you simply say to Dragon Dictate "read document" and Dragon Dictate will read this to you. If you are just wanting DragonDictate to read text from other bits within windows it can do that to. Maybe you would like DragonDictate to read something from a help file. Simply mark an area of text and say to DragonDictate "read that" and this text well be read to you. You do need genuine text and not graphic pictures of text though!
You can scan documents into your computer use OCR software to convert into text and then ask DragonDictate to read them 2 you which is also very good. Although the text to speech is very basic here compared to software written just for text to speech facilities it is valuable to have this option on voice recognition software.
There's much more to DragonDictate classic version 3 than what I have just mentioned in this article that is just a little bit to give you an idea. OCR software isn't supplied with voice recognition software as far as I'm aware at the time of dictating this article. I will be placing information about OCR software on site soon.
The biggest advantage with Dragon Dictate classic version 3, is that I have the ability to run many other applications on my computer at the same time. There are some difficulties with this software I have found. When using text to speech sometimes not just good plane text it's can show error notice and stop working. Even if you quit out of the programme it won't load in again until switching computer of and starting again. That can be really annoying if you are in the middle of work. Well that's what I've found on several different computers with different versions of windows.
However if I had to take a choice and only one this would be the one I would choose. Although if my spelling was more better I would probably choose DragonDictate naturally speaking version 4 or 5.
This article was dictated using DragonDictate classic version 3. Last edited 18th January 2002, copyright Andy Hayes. .
The original article was edited on 18th of January 2002.
This page has been updated to the newer page format and a paragraph providing additional information on the 18th of April 2014.
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