Re-visiting Voice to Text with Dragon NaturallySpeaking

As part of the process of getting back into blogging more frequently, more regularly, I’m giving some consideration to dictating my blog posts, or at least the first drafts, rather than typing them up from scratch.

To that end I’ve just re-installed a copy of Dragon NaturallySpeaking (DNS) (version 7), which I purchased a few years ago, tried for a while and gave up on because I found I could get my thoughts down faster by typing.

So if it didn’t work before, why am I going down that path again?

It’s a combination of reasons. I’ve identified five for starters.

  • I’ve found lately that sometimes I seem to be able to get moving on a train of thought when I speak into a recorder than when I sit down to type on the computer.
  • Last year I read a very positive review of Dragon NaturallySpeaking version 9 and in fact toyed with the idea of upgrading at that time.
  • I read some time ago a column in a local newspaper where the columnist, who has it seems a large readership, declared that he never wrote/typed his columns: all were dictated.
  • I recall that the computer I was using when I first tried DNS was perhaps not up to the task, in terms of system configuration. I now have a better-equipped machine, which seems to have specs up to the challenge. At least for the version of DNS I’m testing at the moment.

And the fifth reason is the conversations I’ve had with business owners who were interested in blogging, were diffident about writing but when I asked could they talk about their business and/or their industry for ten minutes or so, three to four times a week, all said they could.

So if this experiment works, it could be helpful not only for me but for others who like blogging but are inhibited, to a greater or lesser degree, by the writing/typing aspect.

I have to say the experiment almost did not get off the ground. The re-install of DNS 7.0 was not a straightforward matter. It got to a certain point and then there was a window with a blue background but no text. I tried to uninstall so I could re-install but the uninstall process stalled also! So I initiated the install process again and when the blue window came up just closed it, hoping for the best. In fact I was able to then start the program and do the hardware and reading tests and the tutorials without further incident. Not a perfect solution, perhaps, but nothing seems to have blown up or melted down yet.

So now I feel I’m ready to start.

Dragon Naturally Speaking 10 Preferred model Yes, I know DNS is now up to Version 10, but before I lash out on an upgrade I want to test the version I have to see if that works for me and on my computer.  Then if I decide to upgrade, I have worked out, based on my research on the subject last year (when DNS 9 was the latest version), that the Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 Preferred model (vs Standard or Professional) is the most appropriate for my requirements

In all of this I am mindful of the advice of a colleague who is very knowledgeable about speech recognition software and the need to have system requirements adequate to the task. I certainly don’t want to put something on the computer that is not only not going to work properly but create a risk of the whole system coming unstuck.

From what I can read on the Dragon site, the computer I use on my desk, a notebook which I use as a desktop machine most of the time, which has Windows XP installed, will work for Version 10, but experience tells me to go cautiously.

For now, I will see how I get along with Version 7 and provide some progress (I hope!) reports here as I go.

Advice and helpful hints will be received with gratitude!

Update: May 12, 2009 I tried to use DNS 7 but got a bit frustrated, then, encouraged by the comments here decided to go for the latest version.  Bid for one on ebay but clearly someone wanted to pay more. Then took the suggestion of
Derek from Nuance (see comment below) and ordered the upgrade, which is at an excellent price and is now, according to Nuance, winging its way to me. I will report further, probably in a separate post, once I have installed and started using it. Thanks to everyone for the helpful comments!

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About Des Walsh

I show business owners and other professionals how to navigate the social media maze and use LinkedIn effectively. I'm an author, speaker, business coach, social media strategist and LinkedIn specialist. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Google Plus and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get my weekly Social Business Bites.


  1. Tinu
    Yes, I have the upgrade installed now and it is excellent. One thing I like particularly is that I can speak at a normal pace – actually, I believe I read in some instructions that it is recommended that you speak at a normal pace. I intend to post about it when I’ve got a bit more proficient with the editing commands.

  2. I was just told that the new one works almost perfectly out of the box by 2 people, one who has a slight accent. I’m upgrading soon myself.

  3. Homa
    It’s not my product, so it’s not for me to advise you. I phoned the distributors, Nuance, with my questions and found them helpful.

  4. Greetings,

    I am a school teacher. I don’t know which one of your programs would be best for me. Basically, I need DNS for everyday typing.
    Also, do you have teacher’s discount?


  5. Derek
    Thanks for the comment. I don’t want to quibble, but I think you’re a bit ahead of me on the “like” issue. Still testing, although I am doing so in an optimistic mode.
    Thanks for the link to the upgrade. I find the newsletter unclear on the upgrade: it mentions 8,9 and 10 but not version 7. I will call in the morning and seek some clarification.

  6. Hi Des,
    Glad you like Dragon but you really should upgrade. Nuance’s Dragon News went out to APAC customer this week and includes an upgrade offer. Please see here for details:

  7. Leesa
    That’s a great testimonial and an encouragement for me to keep going.

    I know we talked about this back in September last year, so it has taken me much too long to get cracking. Thanks for your offer of help – much appreciated!

    I’m sure you’re right. I have to say though that for me, here in Australia, there is a disincentive to moving quickly right now. DNS Preferred 10 US price is $199 without the Bluetooth and $131.49 on Amazon today. In Australian money, that’s $264 and $174 respectively. But the price in Australia, according to your company’s site, is AU$349.95 and my recollection is that Amazon won’t ship that product to Australia. That’s a 32% markup. The markup for UK is by my calculation is about 14%. For Amazon to be able to knock about 33% off the standard US price and still make a profit makes me feel even less enthusiastic about the Aussie price. Putting that another way, if I buy in Australia tomorrow, I am paying around 65% more, by my calculation, for the same product, than if I’m in the US tomorrow and have the product delivered to me there from Amazon.

    Des Walshs last blog post..Re-visiting Voice to Text with Dragon NaturallySpeaking

  8. I’ll admit I’m biased up front as I work for Nuance, (the manufacturers of Dragon), in the UK. I would really recommend a move to v10.1 of the product, (which of course I would!), as the difference in recognition between the versions is fantastic. V7 is a 6 year old product and v10 was released in September of 08, with the 10.1 incremental release available from April 09. Move to v10 – you won’t regret it!

  9. Hi Des

    I have used DNS for several years, it is a great program. Give yourself time to work with the program. I recommend taking frequent breaks when dictating.

    If I can be of help let me know,good luck.

    Darrell Hyatts last blog post..Web conferencing-which one is right for you?

  10. I just bought DNS yesterday and so far, it’s awesome. I can’t believe I didn’t use this thing before.

    Like you Des, I have to speak my ideas in order to flush them out. Typing them up or writing them down just don’t work. When I prepare a speech, I say out loud the ideas I want to convey, then scurry back to my laptop to type up what I just said.

    With DNS, I can just speak my ideas and then they appear on my screen. What an amazingly clever tool, why didn’t anyone tell me about it before?

    I also love that I can take recordings I did in the past and get DNS to transcribe them for me. Granted, it has to be my voice only (not an interview with someone else) and the punctuation is missing, however, I can forward the document to my VA for her to clean up.

    If you hate to write and love to talk, get this software. Like, now.

  11. That’s a good incentive to keep me to my promise of updates, Bernie.

  12. I’m watching this with interest, especially if you gravitate to a dictaphone-t0-blogging practise.

    Bernie Goldbachs last blog post..Resurrecting the Digital