Dragon Dictation Mostly Delivers Hands-free Typing on iPhone

Posted on December 9, 2009 by

Ars Technica has a review of Dragon Dictation for the iPhone.  Dragon Dictation is a voice recognition app powered by Dragon NaturallySpeaking and allows you to speak and instantly see your text or email message.  It claims to be up to five times faster than typing on the keyboard.  The app is free and available in the App Store.

From the article:
It’s no Dragon NaturallySpeaking, but Nuance’s Dragon Dictation for iPhone can transcribe your speech into paste-able text right on your iPhone. We gave it a quick spin, and found that it has a lot of potential to help out when typing might otherwise be a problem.

A company called Nuance, known for its speech recognition software, has released an iPhone app that will transcribe your speech into editable text. Dragon Dictation for iPhone will then let you send the transcribed text as an SMS message or e-mail, or copy the text to paste in other apps. It promises a 500 percent speed increase over typing on the iPhone’s soft keyboard, but doesn’t yet deliver the speed and accuracy of comparable desktop apps.

The app is pretty simple, and some quick testing showed that the recognition engine is fairly accurate. We suspect that the compression needed to quickly send the recorded speech to Nuance’s servers caused some of the accuracy issues. However, even after manually correcting words, it doesn’t appear that the corrections are incorporated into the recognition engine. Whereas we were easily able to quickly train NaturallySpeaking to recognize “Ars Technica,” we had no such luck with Dragon Dictation—”ours technical” was the best it managed after several attempts.

If you have trouble typing with the iPhone’s on-screen keyboard, or need to input more than a line or two, Dragon Dictation can certainly speed up the process. (I wouldn’t consider writing an Ars article on my iPhone by typing, but I might give it a go with Dragon Dictation in a pinch.) Just be sure to speak clearly, don’t curse, and for all but the simplest of messages, be prepared for some cleaning up afterwards. And as far as we can tell, it only works in English—attempts in Spanish and French failed completely.

Read the entire article here.

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