Nuance Mac OS X Speech to Text
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Nuance Mac OS X Speech to Text

Posted by Greg Mills

It has been rumored for a while, that there was some sort of collaboration going on between Apple and Nuance, the Speech to Text company. Speech to Text is something that has been the fodder of science fiction and actual cutting edge computer software for a long time. Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica both have demonstrated graphically the science fiction come true concept where someone just speaks and the text flows onto a computer screen. Easy to simulate, hard to accomplish.

The opposite of text to speech which is basically just reading text out loud, is much harder thing to do. It must be close to 20 years ago I bought IBM's ViaVoice software for my Mac Classic and was really disappointed with the results. I spent a long time trying to "teach" that old computer to recognize my speech and the results were not useful or even practical without a lot of corrections that really defeated the entire purpose.

Well, that was then, this is now, a lot of research by IBM and Nuance have been combined to create a useful diction program that was almost error free in my testing. I have tested both the iOS Dragon Dictation app for iPad and iPhone and the latest version of Dragon Dictate 2.5 for Mac OS X Lion. Nuance merged IBM's efforts and patents with their own a while back (2009), and the results are amazing.

Beta versions of iOS 5 appear to have a dictation button built into the touch screen keyboard, cryptic and intentionally obscure references seem to be masking a speech to text function to be launched in the upcoming iPhone and iPad system update. See; http://9to5mac.com/2011/08/06/ios-5s-nuance-powered-speech-to-text-featu...

My contacts at Nuance could not comment on the apparent Nuance powered speech to text features in iOS 5. Who wants to put a twist in Steve Jobs undies? If you want to do business with Apple, you have to know how to keep secrets.

The improvements in Nuance dictation's program's accuracy are substantial. After only 10 minutes of dictating into a special microphone on a head set included with the software, Nuance Dragon Dictate almost flawlessly converted my speech into text. Getting used to speaking the punctuation marks into the text took some effort, but the results are dramatic. When you say, "coma" or "period" the software punctuates the text and goes to the next line starting with a capital letter. New paragraph does that automatically.

The current version of the Dragon Dictate App for iPad and iPhone works ok, but not quite as well as the full blown Mac OS X app using the special microphone that comes with Dragon Dictate. The built-in mic on the iPad and iPhone are pretty good and Nuance has created a software profile that allows them to be used for quality dictation.

The iOS versions of the dictation software are based upon using an internet connection to access the software residing on Apples servers, that does the magic. The Mac OS version of Dragon Dictate resided on your computer. Thus, you can dictate to your MacBook without a connection to the internet.

Keep in mind, computers hear everything and have trouble ignoring background noise. Speaking clearly and distinctly at an even tone and cadence in a quiet place, seems to be optimal for Nuance Dragon Dictate 2.5. I dictated the following draft of this article and didn't correct the punctuation or replace wrong words and look how close to what I planned to write the dictation came out. I typed to this point on a keyboard and below is a dictated draft version I dictated the day I loaded the Nuance software into my MacBook Pro.

"Dragon Dictate is sort of an embodiment of a vision of something computers could do that we've seen in science fiction for years. A person speaks into a computer and the text mysteriously appears on the screen. I can remember many years ago I purchased an IBM speech to text application and was extremely frustrated, as it never really worked that well. The learning curve with a speech to text program, includes the human learning to mention punctuation.

If you just speak as you naturally would, and fail to put the punctuation marks in, the text that is provided is certainly useful. But it is not as helpful as the bulk of the typing being done through natural speech including punctuation. It can take quite a while proof reading and adding punctuation.

You have to train the software to recognize your speech. In the Dragon Dictate software you have to dictate some text shown on the screen, so that the computer is able to understand you. Computers of course, don't listen the way we do. Noise in the background confuse computers more than people since we can interperate the sounds better than a computer.

I experimented with Dragon Dictate by using the provided microphone to convert some MP3s of some teaching I had done to see how good a document it would make. The results weren't nearly as good as they are when you dictate them intentionally for the dictation process.

I found that the rate of errors with the IBM program, many years ago, was so high it was barely worth using the software. Dragon Dictate, on the other hand, has a far more accurate rendering of speech to text.

There appears to be some sort of collaboration between Nuance and Apple. We don't know exactly where that's going. We do know that there is a demonstration program in the IOS camp him that allows you to take short notes by speaking into an app and having note created.

These standalone software for the Mac is for and away more advanced and substantial. My testing of DragonDictate has been surprisingly successful.

With the training period of about 10 min. when I 1st loaded the program there is magnitude of 9899% accuracy in determining which words I have spoken. Most of the failures are mine. Failing to put punctuation in as I'm dictating is the most notable issue."

Back to the keyboard... Not too shabby, Apple tends to hold off on launching things that aren't really ready for the general public and in my opinion, Nuance has really created a software dictation feature that is both practical and needed by a lot of people.

Another potential for voice recognition is voice commands also part of the magic. The Star Trek command, "Computer" awakens voice controls and "reduce light levels" for example, are a foretaste of what our computers will do in the future.

Voice recognition has a lot of cutting edge applications that will be coming out soon. Nuance has a new program called Scribe that is coming out soon for Lion, that allows the user to drop a high quality sound file of speech into a program that automatically converts the speech file into a text file. MP3s don/t cut it, it takes an uncompressed sound file to work properly.

The Dragon Dictate App for iPad and iPhone are currently free at the Apple app store. The current iPad version is 2.0.1 and can demonstrate the potential that is more fully refined in the Mac OS X version of Nuance Dictation 2.5. The Mac OS X version of Dragon Dictate is available for $179.99 and includes a mike/headphone head set that hooks up to a USB port on your Mac. The special headset is not totally required, but improves the experience greatly. Other approved headsets are available as well See: http://nuance.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/6078

An interesting new wrinkle is that you can download a new Dragon Remote Mic App and use your iPhone or iPad as a hand help mic for diction to your Mac. See: http://www.nuance.com/dragon/remote-microphone/index.htm The remote Mic app connects to your computer over WiFi since BlueTooth isn't high enough quality for clear dictation processing by the computer. Some business WiFi and public WiFI networks may not work due to security features in the network.

Nuance is a publicly held company listed on the NASDAQ as NUAN and hooking up with Apple can't hurt their stock value, if you get what I mean. See: www.Nuance.Com for more information about the company. Developers interested in APIs for speech applications should contact Nuance directly.

Nuance has recently made their Dictation software work on any word processing application, such as Pages and Word. They also made it easier to add punctuation and corrections during the diction process with a keyboard. The speech recognition command features work with Safari, Text Edit, Mail, iChat, Keynote and other popular Mac Programs. I give Dragon Dictate five out of five stars for actually making the vision of speech to text a reality. The software is well worth the cost and effort to set it up.

 
AAPL
$105.22
Apple Inc.
+0.39
MSFT
$46.13
Microsoft Corpora
+1.11
GOOG
$539.78
Google Inc.
-4.20

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Ember 1.8.2 - Versatile digital scrapboo...
Ember (formerly LittleSnapper) is your digital scrapbook of things that inspire you: websites, photos, apps or other things. Just drag in images that you want to keep, organize them into relevant... Read more
Tonality Pro 1.1.2 - Professional-grade...
Tonality Pro gives you the power to create stunning and dramatic black & white images. This is a complete monochrome image editor with more than 150 one-click style presets, totally unique... Read more
VueScan 9.4.49 - Scanner software with a...
VueScan is a scanning program that works with most high-quality flatbed and film scanners to produce scans that have excellent color fidelity and color balance. VueScan is easy to use, and has... Read more
OS X Server 4.0 - For OS X 10.10 Yosemit...
Designed for OS X and iOS devices, OS X Server makes it easy to share files, schedule meetings, synchronize contacts, develop software, host your own website, publish wikis, configure Mac, iPhone,... Read more
TotalFinder 1.6.12 - Adds tabs, hotkeys,...
TotalFinder is a universally acclaimed navigational companion for your Mac. Enhance your Mac's Finder with features so smart and convenient, you won't believe you ever lived without them. Tab-based... Read more
BusyCal 2.6.3 - Powerful calendar app wi...
BusyCal is an award-winning desktop calendar that combines personal productivity features for individuals with powerful calendar sharing capabilities for families and workgroups. BusyCal's unique... Read more
calibre 2.7 - Complete e-library managem...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital... Read more
Skitch 2.7.3 - Take screenshots, annotat...
With Skitch, taking, annotating, and sharing screenshots or images is as fun as it is simple.Communicate and collaborate with images using Skitch and its intuitive, engaging drawing and annotating... Read more
Delicious Library 3.3.2 - Import, browse...
Delicious Library allows you to import, browse, and share all your books, movies, music, and video games with Delicious Library. Run your very own library from your home or office using our... Read more
Art Text 2.4.8 - Create high quality hea...
Art Text is an OS X application for creating high quality textual graphics, headings, logos, icons, Web site elements, and buttons. Thanks to multi-layer support, creating complex graphics is no... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Rami Ismail Opens Up distribute​() for D...
Rami Ismail Opens Up distribute​() for Developers Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 24th, 2014 [ permalink ] Rami Ismail, Chief Executive of Business and Development at indie game studio | Read more »
Great Hitman GO Goes on Sale and Gets Ne...
Great Hitman GO Goes on Sale and Gets New Update – Say That Three Times Fast Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 24th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Rival Stars Basketball Review
Rival Stars Basketball Review By Jennifer Allen on October 24th, 2014 Our Rating: :: RESTRICTIVE BUT FUNUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Rival Stars Basketball is a fun mixture of basketball and card collecting but its... | Read more »
Rubicon Development Makes Over a Dozen o...
Rubicon Development Makes Over a Dozen of Their Games Free For This Weekend Only Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 24th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
I Am Dolphin Review
I Am Dolphin Review By Jennifer Allen on October 24th, 2014 Our Rating: :: NEARLY FIN-TASTICUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Swim around and eat nearly everything that moves in I Am Dolphin, a fun Ecco-ish kind of game... | Read more »
nPlayer looks to be the ultimate choice...
Developed by Newin Inc, nPlayer may seem like your standard video player – but is aiming to be the best in its field by providing high quality video play performance and support for a huge number of video formats and codecs. User reviews include... | Read more »
Fighting Fantasy: Caverns of the Snow Wi...
Fighting Fantasy: Caverns of the Snow Witch Review By Jennifer Allen on October 24th, 2014 Our Rating: :: CLASSY STORYTELLINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Fighting Fantasy: Caverns of the Snow Witch is a sterling... | Read more »
A Few Days Left (Games)
A Few Days Left 1.01 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.01 (iTunes) Description: Screenshots are in compliance to App Store's 4+ age rating! Please see App Preview for real game play! **Important: Make... | Read more »
Toca Boo (Education)
Toca Boo 1.0.2 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.2 (iTunes) Description: BOO! Did I scare you!? My name is Bonnie and my family loves to spook! Do you want to scare them back? Follow me and I'll... | Read more »
Intuon (Games)
Intuon 1.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: Join the battle with your intuition in a new hardcore game Intuon! How well do you trust your intuition? Can you find a needle in a... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Weekend sale: 13-inch 128GB MacBook Air for $...
Best Buy has the 2014 13-inch 1.4GHz 128GB MacBook Air on sale for $849.99, or $150 off MSRP, on their online store. Choose free home shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Price valid... Read more
Nimbus Note Cross=Platform Notes Utility
Nimbus Note will make sure you never forget or lose your valuable data again. Create and edit notes, save web pages, screenshots and any other type of data – and share it all with your friends and... Read more
NewerTech’s Snuglet Makes MagSafe 2 Power Con...
NewerTech has introduced the Snuglet, a precision-manufactured ring designed to sit inside your MagSafe 2 connector port, providing a more snug fit to prevent your power cable from unintentional... Read more
Apple Planning To Sacrifice Gross Margins To...
Digitimes Research’s Jim Hsiao says its analysts believe Apple is planning to sacrifice its gross margins to save its tablet business, which has recently fallen into decline. They project that Apple’... Read more
Who’s On Now? – First Instant-Connect Search...
It’s nighttime and your car has broken down on the side of the highway. You need a tow truck right away, so you open an app on your iPhone, search for the closest tow truck and send an instant... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $949,...
Best Buy has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro available for $949.99 on their online store. Choose free shipping or free instant local store pickup (if available). Their price is $150 off MSRP. Price is... Read more
Save up to $125 on Retina MacBook Pros
B&H Photo has the new 2014 13″ and 15″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $125 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. They’ll also include free copies of Parallels... Read more
Apple refurbished Time Capsules available sta...
The Apple Store has certified refurbished Time Capsules available for up to $60 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each Time Capsule, and shipping is free: - 2TB Time Capsule: $255... Read more
Textilus New Word, Notes and PDF Processor fo...
Textilus is new word-crunching, notes, and PDF processor designed exclusively for the iPad. I haven’t had time to thoroughly check it out yet, but it looks great and early reviews are positive.... Read more
WD My Passport Pro Bus-Powered Thunderbolt RA...
WD’s My Passport Pro RAID solution is powered by an integrated Thunderbolt cable for true portability and speeds as high as 233 MB/s. HighlightsOverviewSpecifications Transfer, Back Up And Edit In... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Apple Inc. (U...
…important role that the ASC serves is that of providing an excellent Apple Customer Experience. Responsibilities include: * Promoting Apple products and solutions Read more
Senior Event Manager, *Apple* Retail Market...
…This senior level position is responsible for leading and imagining the Apple Retail Team's global event strategy. Delivering an overarching brand story; in-store, Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
Project Manager / Business Analyst, WW *Appl...
…a senior project manager / business analyst to work within our Worldwide Apple Fulfillment Operations and the Business Process Re-engineering team. This role will work Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.