Dragon Professional Individual Version 6 – First Impressions

Getting started with Dragon Professional Individual for Mac version 6

DragonDictate Professional IndividualThe installation of Dragon Professional Individual was pretty straightforward. The .DMG file opened itself up and all I had to do was to double-click on the icon in the window. After Dragon opened up the first time I had to upgrade the profile to this latest version. I expect this is a one-way process and just in case you have any problems I recommend you have backups. It’s only sensible to have a good backup plan in process anyway. The next thing I had to do was to set up the microphone. I was given a text to read and that went okay. It would have been nice if there was some sort of feedback to show the audio of my voice was going in okay. In previous versions it put a colour on the text as you read it. With this one there wasn’t even a reading on a meter to let me know that the gain setting on the microphone was okay. Following that it took some time before the application was usable. It may have been a minute or even 90 seconds before the spinning beach ball went away and I could start dictating. I was getting a little worried I might have to kill the application and start again.

A guidance window has popped up telling me what I can do with DragonDictate. It’s telling me things like

  • “Cancel Correction” to cancel
  • “Edit number” to dictate a correction
  • “Spell That” to spell a correction
  • “Play The Selection” to hear what you said

Dragon Professional Individual V6There is a new little box  in Dragon Professional Individual which gives you the icon for the microphone. This lets you see when the microphone is working, asleep or turned off. The icon in the centre is where you can choose from Dictation, Command, Spelling or Numbers. The icon changes to show you which mode you’re working in.

The third of these icons lets you show or hide the extra windows. There is a correction window, there is the guidance window and there is a commands window which is not showing up for me at the moment. In the guidance window it’s telling me “Ulysses does not support mixing dictation and typing in this area.” (Writing in Ulysses) Also within this guidance dialogue window there are two buttons, one for Commands and the other is for Help. The help button takes you to a webpage in your default browser. The command button still doing nothing at all for me.

Accuracy and speed

I’m using a profile which was updated from the previous version and so far I have no complaints about the accuracy of the speech to text. There have been only a couple of words so far that the DragonDictate application hasn’t recognised. I was able to spell out a correction and continue with my dictation no problem at all. The application was giving me the word metre as in the European spelling of the measurement of length when I wanted the word meter which is a type of gauge. The new version of DragonDictate is supposed to have deep learning, machine learning and should offer me both of these words to choose from. It isn’t doing so yet, but maybe this just has to be something I look out for later. Could be too soon to say.

It’s hard to assess the speed of the application when it’s converting the speech into text. It does feel a little bit quicker, but it’s not something you can put a timer onto and say for definite whether it is faster or not.

Making corrections

I’m having the same sort of problem I had before with DragonDictate version 5. I tell it to go to a specific point in the text and I say delete word, sometimes it will delete just part of a word. This shows that the application has lost track of the words put into the document so far. I have been careful not to mix any typing in with the dictation. So I’m not quite sure why it should be doing this. It’s easy to remedy by issuing a “Cache Document” and continue with the dictation, writing.

In the Correction window of DragonDictate Professional Individual you get a number of choices and in most cases the first choice is what you’ve just said all in lowercase. The second choice is the same, but with title case and the third choice will be the same again but all in Upper Case letters. There will be other options available when the software is not absolutely sure what it was you said or where there are homonyms.

Overview of my first impressions

In this dictation session using Dragon Professional Individual I’ve been dictating into Ulysses and I’m happy enough with the way it is working. I’ve just given it a test in the application TextEdit and the message about not using the keyboard at the same time as dictation was not showing. I gave it a test by typing in a sentence and then followed it with some dictation. That didn’t give any problems and then I further tested it by telling DragonDictate to select the text I typed. I was shocked and impressed DragonDictate was able to do that without even batting an eyelid. I didn’t expect DragonDictate to know that the text existed within the document.

Writing – dictating in Scrivener

This is another test of Dragon Professional Individual V6 by typing or dictating into Scrivener. Same as when using DragonDictate in TextEdit, I’m not getting that extra message to say that I mustn’t use the keyboard at the same time as using dictation. The words are popping into the document extremely quickly and once again I am impressed. This could have me using Scrivener more than I’m using Ulysses. I’ll definitely be giving this some more testing in the Scrivener application. I would say this is an improvement on how DragonDictate used to work with Scrivener previously. This makes the upgrade to version 6 of Dragon – Dragon Professional Individual version 6 well worth the money.

scrivener

I am tempted to start up a new DragonDictate profile to go with this new version of the application. A new profile only in the interests of testing it. So far while using the profile which was converted from the version 5 of Dragon, everything seems to be going great. Another thing I quite like about using Scrivener rather than using Ulysses is that I’m getting a word and character count in the menu bar at the bottom of the screen. To see the word count in Ulysses I have to use Command and 7. It’s much more immediate to be able to see it directly on the screen without having to press any buttons.

A Big Thumbs Up for version 6

There are still more things to test, such as the transcription facilities. I have only been working with this for about an hour or so. This really is a down and dirty first look/first impression of the application and I will need to give it some more time. There will be another test coming up when Mac OS Sierra is launched. I prefer to have the latest version of the operating system software on my computer. The word from Nuance is that they haven’t been testing Dragon Professional Individual V6 with macOS Sierra and so we just have to have our fingers crossed. If it doesn’t work with the new operating system from Apple I would be inclined to wait to do the upgrade to Mac OS Sierra. The benefits I get from using this excellent speech to text software for my writing is much more important to me than what we have coming new from Apple.