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
$95.60
Apple Inc.
+0.00
MSFT
$43.16
Microsoft Corpora
+0.00
GOOG
$571.60
Google Inc.
+0.00

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

OneNote 15.2 - Free digital notebook fro...
OneNote is your very own digital notebook. With OneNote, you can capture that flash of genius, that moment of inspiration, or that list of errands that’s too important to forget. Whether you’re at... Read more
iStat Menus 4.22 - Monitor your system r...
iStat Menus lets you monitor your system right from the menubar. Included are 8 menu extras that let you monitor every aspect of your system. Some features: CPU -- Monitor cpu usage. 7 display... Read more
Ember 1.8 - Versatile digital scrapbook....
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
OmniPlan 2.3.6 - Robust project manageme...
With OmniPlan, you can create logical, manageable project plans with Gantt charts, schedules, summaries, milestones, and critical paths. Break down the tasks needed to make your project a success,... Read more
Command-C 1.1.1 - Clipboard sharing tool...
Command-C is a revolutionary app which makes easy to share your clipboard between iOS and OS X using your local WiFi network, even if the app is not currently opened. Copy anything (text, pictures,... Read more
Knock 1.1.7 - Unlock your Mac by knockin...
Knock is a faster, safer way to sign in. You keep your iPhone with you all the time. Now you can use it as a password. You never have to open the app -- just knock on your phone twice, even when it's... Read more
Mellel 3.3.6 - Powerful word processor w...
Mellel is the leading word processor for OS X and has been widely considered the industry standard since its inception. Mellel focuses on writers and scholars for technical writing and multilingual... Read more
LibreOffice 4.3.0.4 - Free Open Source o...
LibreOffice is an office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentations, drawing tool) compatible with other major office suites. The Document Foundation is coordinating development and... Read more
Freeway Pro 7.0 - Drag-and-drop Web desi...
Freeway Pro lets you build websites with speed and precision... without writing a line of code! With it's user-oriented drag-and-drop interface, Freeway Pro helps you piece together the website of... Read more
Drive Genius 3.2.4 - Powerful system uti...
Drive Genius is an OS X utility designed to provide unsurpassed storage management. Featuring an easy-to-use interface, Drive Genius is packed with powerful tools such as a drive optimizer, a... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Dawn of the Immortals Review
Dawn of the Immortals Review By Jennifer Allen on July 31st, 2014 Our Rating: :: RESPECTABLE EXPLORATIONUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Dawn of the Immortals might not re-invent the wheel, but it does tweak it a little... | Read more »
80 Days Review
80 Days Review By Jennifer Allen on July 31st, 2014 Our Rating: :: EPIC ADVENTUREUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad A fantastic and fascinating re-envisioning of the classic novel by Jules Verne, 80 Days is a delightful... | Read more »
Battleheart Legacy Guide
The world of Battleheart Legacy is fun and deep; full of wizards, warriors, and witches. Here are some tips and tactics to help you get the most enjoyment out of this great game. | Read more »
Puzzle Roo Review
Puzzle Roo Review By Jennifer Allen on July 31st, 2014 Our Rating: :: PUZZLE-BASED TWISTUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad A different take on the usual block dropping puzzle game, Puzzle Roo is quite pleasant.   | Read more »
Super Crossfire Re-Release Super Crossfi...
Super Crossfire Re-Release Super Crossfighter Coming Soon, Other Radiangames Titles Go 50% Off Posted by Ellis Spice on July 31st, 2014 [ | Read more »
Hexiled Review
Hexiled Review By Rob Thomas on July 31st, 2014 Our Rating: :: HEX SELLSUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad In space, no one can hear you… spell? Hexiled is a neat concept for a word scramble puzzle, but it doesn’t go too... | Read more »
Summoners War: Sky Arena Passes 10 Milli...
Summoners War: Sky Arena Passes 10 Million Installs! Posted by Jessica Fisher on July 31st, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Deep Loot Review
Deep Loot Review By Jennifer Allen on July 31st, 2014 Our Rating: :: DIVE DEEPUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Dive deep in this fun explore-em-up that’s a little grind heavy but ultimately quite entertaining.   | Read more »
Despicable Me: Minion Rush is One Year O...
Despicable Me: Minion Rush is One Year Old, Gets its Biggest Update Yet Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 31st, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Fish & Shark Review
Fish & Shark Review By Jordan Minor on July 31st, 2014 Our Rating: :: FLAPPY FISHUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Fish & Shark’s beauty is only scale deep.   | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

13-inch MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSR...
B&H Photo has the new 2014 13″ MacBook Airs on sale $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. They also include free copies of Parallels Desktop and LoJack for... Read more
16GB iPad Air on sale for $399, save $100
Best Buy is offering the 16GB WiFi iPad Air for $399.99 on their online store for a limited time. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Choose free shipping or free store pickup (if available). Price is for... Read more
All Over For Tablets Or Just A Maturing, Evol...
CNN’s David Goldman weighs in on tablet sector doom and gloom, asking rhetorically: “Is this the beginning of the end for the tablet?” Answering that, he contends that hysteria and panic are... Read more
Letterspace 1.0.1 – New Free iOS Text Editor...
Bangkok, Thailand based independent developer Sittipon Simasanti has released Letterspace, a new text editor for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices. Letterspace is a note taking app with an... Read more
Save up to $130 on an iPad mini with Apple re...
The Apple Store has Certified Refurbished 2nd generation iPad minis with Retina Displays available for up to $130 off the cost of new models, starting at $339. Apple’s one-year warranty is included... Read more
iPad Cannibalization Threat “Overblown”
Seeking Alpha’s Kevin Greenhalgh observes that while many commentators think Apple’s forthcoming 5.5-inch panel iPhone 6 will cannibalize iPad sales, in his estimation, these concerns are being... Read more
Primate Labs Releases July 2014 MacBook Pro P...
Primate Labs’ John Poole has posted Geekbench 3 results for most of the new MacBook Pro models that Apple released on Tuesday. Poole observes that overall performance improvements for the new MacBook... Read more
Apple Re-Releases Bugfixed MacBook Air EFI Fi...
Apple has posted a bugfixed version EFI Firmware Update 2.9 a for MacBook Air (Mid 2011) models. The update addresses an issue where systems may take longer to wake from sleep than expected, and... Read more
Save $50 on the 2.5GHz Mac mini, plus free sh...
B&H Photo has the 2.5GHz Mac mini on sale for $549.99 including free shipping. That’s $50 off MSRP, and B&H will also include a free copy of Parallels Desktop software. NY sales tax only. Read more
Save up to $140 on an iPad Air with Apple ref...
Apple is offering Certified Refurbished iPad Airs for up to $140 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free. Stock tends to come and go with some of these... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
Sr. Product Leader, *Apple* Store Apps - Ap...
**Job Summary** Imagine what you could do here. At Apple , great ideas have a way of becoming great products, services, and customer experiences very quickly. Bring Read more
Sr Software Lead Engineer, *Apple* Online S...
Sr Software Lead Engineer, Apple Online Store Publishing Systems Keywords: Company: Apple Job Code: E3PCAK8MgYYkw Location (City or ZIP): Santa Clara Status: Full Read more
Sr Software Lead Engineer, *Apple* Online S...
Sr Software Lead Engineer, Apple Online Store Publishing Systems Keywords: Company: Apple Job Code: E3PCAK8MgYYkw Location (City or ZIP): Santa Clara Status: Full 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
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.