Overall, it is entirely possible to control Dragon without touching the keyboard and mouse on a standard non-multi-monitor PC, though it does require due diligence to learn-and practice-the various commands. Ultimately, the learning curve means that it will take a while to actually do things more quickly with voice commands. Nuance provides the comprehensive reference materials to make things easier as easy as possible.
Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12 Professional's Transcription Capability
One powerful feature found only in Dragon Professional is its offline transcription capability. In a nutshell, Dragon can transcribe the contents of prerecorded audio files into text. This is useful for folks who spend a significant amount of time commuting by car. They can now record their thoughts on a digital recorder and have them transcribed upon reaching the office.
Besides the capability to transcribe single audio files, Dragon can also perform batch conversion of multiple files. This can be selected under "Tools > AutoTranscribe Folder Agent&" From here, it's possible to assign multiple input folders for the software to monitor for new audio files to transcribe.
Input folders can reside on shared drives on the network, with each input folder tagged with a specific Dragon user profile. This makes Dragon Professional an excellent tool for large projects with multiple employees that may involve transcribing large amount of audio recordings to text. In the latter case, transcribed text will appear as a continuous flow of text unless the audio recording includes vocalized punctuation such as "full stop" or "comma." Aside from that, I found the quality of transcribed text to be stellar.
Of course, Dragon does take a significant amount of processing capability when transcribing. I was able to continue using an Intel i5 laptop while transcription was in process, though it did become noticeably warmer during the process, and battery life also took a hit.
Conclusion: Weigh Options Before Upgrading to Dragon 12
Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12 continues to push the envelope as the best full-fledged speech recognition software on the market. Users looking to implement voice recognition as part of their work won't be disappointed in its breadth of capabilities, while its deep integration with Windows and popular business-critical applications has been further broadened.
For all its appeal, though, Dragon 11 users may find it a stretch to justify upgrading to Dragon 12 unless they use Dragon heavily as part of their daily workflow and need the new features found only in Dragon 12. For these users, Nuance offers an upgrade package of $299.99 for users on Dragon NaturallySpeaking Pro v10 and up.
Ultimately, individual users may want to evaluate if they need advanced features, such as the capability to create custom commands or access to offline transcription tools, before settling on Dragon 12 Professional. If not, then Dragon Premium 12, which offers almost the same feature set and voice recognition engine, may be a better bet.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.