Last night I did a test of Voice Control dictation. I’m now comparing it by doing this dictation using DragonDictate. The difference is kinda small and yet also kind of big. Voice Control dictation is fairly good in terms of accuracy, but not very good in terms of control. If I need to make some corrections in the text as I’m writing it’s much easier to do that with DragonDictate. Mostly Voice Control is pretty good to the point of being impressive. It’s just not good enough for me to keep my fingers away from the keyboard. With DragonDictate I can dictate from the other side of the room if needed. My preferred sitting position is to have my feet on the desk and leaned back in my office chair. I can do this with DragonDictate, not so much with Voice Control. I still managed 600 words in a short amount of time.
One of the differences is being able to see the correction window in DragonDictate. Occasionally DragonDictate gets something wrong and I’m able to use the correct window to choose the right set of words. Most times the correct set of words will be there to choose from. This is not the case with Voice Control. When you see an incorrect word with Voice Control you might choose to say “edit [that word]” and you will get a numbered list of choices. You just say the number you want and the word is replaced. Quite often though, the replacement words are of no use whatsoever. These words don’t take into consideration either what it was you actually said or the context of the sentence. Sometimes it seems the replacement words are completely random. A better way to make the replacement is to say “select [that word]” and to say the word again. Sometimes it will put the correct word in there and sometimes it won’t. I give it one chance and then I will type the word in. If it doesn’t do it on the first time, it’s certainly not going to do it on the second or third time!
The small difference there is in terms of trust of the accuracy of the dictation engine makes a big difference in how fast you can work. I noticed when dictating into Voice Control it was taking me much longer to create 600 words that it would by using DragonDictate. Not only was it taking longer I also felt a certain amount of frustration. Voice Control dictation is not ready for the big time yet. I can see how it could be very useful to somebody who is unable to use keyboard and needs it as an accessibility feature. It’s not good enough for a writer who wants the ideas out of his or her head and onto the page. Where I might make more use of Voice Control dictation for now is going to be on iOS. The results I get from it are better than using Siri dictation. DragonDictate is not available for me to use on iOS. You have to either live in America or the UK to get access to Dragon Anywhere. Even if it was available here in Spain I might not use it because it seems quite expensive at $15 per month.
Next year there will be another update to the Mac operating system, probably. Every time this comes around there’s the possibility of the connection between the operating system and DragonDictate breaking. I will most certainly want to have the latest operating system, but what will I do for dictation? I might want to have the operating system that has just become available, but I might decide to stay with Mac OS Catalina. It depends upon the new things becoming available in the new operating system. Would it be worth having a new OS and abandoning the use of DragonDictate. Or if the update is worth having and worth me spending the amount of money necessary to keep on using DragonDictate.
The only option available will be to get software to run a virtual machine. That will most likely be Parallels. I will also need to buy a new version of DragonDictate, I’ll need the one that works with Windows and I probably won’t get an upgrade price. The only way to get it a little cheaper will be to buy an older version of DragonDictate. Older versions are sometimes available via Amazon.
The advantage of the Windows version of DragonDictate is how it works as a transcription dictation software. This means I could record my audio while doing something else. I can do this with the Mac version, but the Windows version does a much better job of it. I prefer to be in front of the iMac and see the words come up on the screen in front of me as I’m speaking. It just seems to work better for the thinking processes of getting the words out of my head and onto the page. So transcription features don’t make a lot of difference to me, but they could for you.
I expect an expensive month to be in my future when I have to buy Parallels and a Windows version of Dragon dictation. It could be in one years time or it could be further away, who knows? I’d like to be optimistic regards improvements to voice control dictation on the Mac and iOS. It’s not a good idea to get your hopes up though. Even though voice control has entered at a high level, the necessary improvements it needs could be slow coming. I’m not willing to give up using dictation for my writing process. Dictation is so much faster and much more comfortable than using a keyboard. Maybe I will make the job sooner rather than later to working with a Windows version of Dragon dictation if at some point I have the money available. Perhaps I should just think about putting some money aside in a small piggy bank to soften the blow.