11 Best dictation software to optimize speech-to-text tasks
Dictation software or speech-to-text software has come a long way and advanced in leaps and bounds. It is voice-to-text software that allows you to speak, rather than type a wide variety of documents such as articles, emails, notes and even commands. The spoken word is then turned into text. It can make an important contribution towards increased productivity simply because people speak much faster than they can type.
Students, editors, professional writers, business executives and, in fact, anyone using a computer regularly can use such speech recognition software to save time. In this article we review 11 of the best dictation software 2019 you can use to create content, articles, emails and much more through speaking rather than typing.
The 4 Best Dictation Software 2019
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Last review update: 12/2018
1. Nuance Dragon Home v15
Formerly known as Dragon Naturally Speaking, Dragon Home is an award winning speech recognition solution, consistently labeled the best dictation software in the voice-to-text field of the industry.
Nuance Deep Learning Technology – By employing the latest Deep Learning technology, Dragon Home effortlessly adapts to changes in your voice and in the background environment, even if those changes occur while you are actually dictating. So, if you have a bad cold, for example, you can still dictate efficiently.
High Accuracy – Much less time is wasted on editing thanks to an industry leading 99% accuracy rate. The intuitive user friendly interface makes editing a breeze, saving you even more time. Formatting your text professionally is just as easy and quick.
Playback feature – You can select blocks of text and listen to it while you proofread or edit a document. Listening to your own text is often an excellent way in which to pick up inconsistencies, errors and poorly flowing text. Fine tuning your text and correcting errors is thus achieved with the absolute minimum of fuss.
Versatile case uses – Wherever text input is required, Dragon Home will generate that text as you speak. Apart from lengthy documents, use Dragon Home to surf the web, to interact on social media, to compose emails, to manage your calendar and to full in electronic forms. It works well with touch screens too.
Nuance, the makers of Dragon Home, claims that you will not need any training before you can use their dictation software productively. It is a simple matter of “launch and dictate”! Extensive Help files are nevertheless available online.
Verdict – Dragon Home is certainly pricey, but definitely worth it for serious computer users. It is easy to use and you will be up and running in no time at all. If you spend a lot of time generating documents you will quickly wonder how you ever managed without Dragon Home.
2. Nuance Dragon Professional Individual
Also based on the formerly known Dragon Naturally Speaking, Dragon Professional Individual offers all the features and benefits of Dragon Home. However, it goes quite a few important steps further along the road of efficient dictation software.
Transcription feature – With this version you can use any digital device to dictate and record your documents. These audio files can then be transcribed automatically into text whenever it is convenient for you.
Synchronize devices – You can easily start on a document by using one device and then complete the document at another time using a completely different device. This allows a high level of efficiency. You need to register for Dragon Anywhere, however.
Powerful customizations – You can create customized commands to perform certain tasks such as filling in your personal details. You can also format your documents with spoken commands and you can import custom word lists and acronyms. You can even create and fill in forms.
This dictation is ideal for environments with multiple users that need the flexibility of being able to work anywhere and at any time, using different devices.
Systems: Windows and Windows Server
Price: from $300
3. Winscribe Speech Recognition Suite
The Winscribe Speech Recognition Suite is a part of their overall digital work-flow management system. It is highly rated by respected reviewers and it enjoys a solid share of the ever growing voice-to-speech market. Here is what you need to know:
Client and server side options – You can have your pick: using the client side server means that your voice is converted into text as you speak. The server side server, on the other hand, records your dictation, convert it into a sound file and send it to a server. The server will compare the voice file with a voice profile and convert the sound to text.
User cases – The speech-to-text software can be used in any application that requires the typing of text. Of particular interest is the fact that you can place the text cursor anywhere inside an existing document and then dictate additional text. In addition, it also supports bar-code and QR scanning. You can even attach photos and maps to your dictated document.
Extensive reporting – The reporting features allow you to measure your productivity and analyse the way in which you use the dictation software.
The versatility of Winscribe is appealing to those who want to choose whether they want their documents to be created as they dictate them or to have them transcribed at a later stage.
Systems: Android, Blackberry, Windows, iOS
4. Braina Dictation Software
The makers of Braina (Brain Artificial) describe their speech-to-text software as an intelligent personal assistant. The prestigious Operations and Technology has described it as the dictation software with the best digital assistant capabilities.
Multiple languages – Braina supports more than 100 different languages. It can even convert text from one language to another.
User cases – The voice-to-text software can be used in any application that supports the input of text. In addition, it can be used to issue voice commands in multiple languages. It can be used for text-to-voice playback, to perform complex mathematical calculations and to issue commands customized by yourself.
Artificial brain – Braina constantly learn and adapt to your accent and environmental noises. When you edit text, it learns from the changes that you made.
Braina appeals to many users because it is so very good at learning from the user. This goes a long way in improving the accuracy of the end result.
5. Tazti Voice Recognition
Branding itself as a fun application, Tazti would not be suitable for use by authors of lengthy documents. Instead, it focuses on voice commands to automate tasks and to control your applications.
Create custom commands – You can create up to 300 different custom commands that can be used to control various applications.
User cases – Tazti is popular with gamers, because it can be used to play many different popular games. Its other voice command capabilities are limited however, and is mostly used to open and close specific applications and files.
User friendly – Getting going with Tazti takes no time at all. The user interface is intuitive and it is even possible to mute the dictation software when you do not want it to hear you, such as when answering a telephone call.
Tazti is popular among users that use their computers for fun and games. It would not really appeal to authors of more complicated documents or those that require advanced formatting features.
6. iFlyTek – iFlyDictation
iFlyTek is a China based company and has been active in the field of intelligent speech and language technologies for about two decades. Their AI based speech recognition client iFlyDictation is amongst the best dictation software apps to date achieving one of the highest accuracy rates.
Good accuracy – With a recognition rate of up to 95%, the client has been popular amongst businesses and entrepreneurs who wish to create, manage or send messages, eMail or short blog posts via speech input.
Languages – The tool is available on iOS and Android and supports English, Mandarin and Cantonese but also handles handwriting and stroke inputs.
The iFlyDictation dictation software app could be interesting to those who wish to use a free client with high accuracy and also have their work priorities and activities set in the languages mentioned above.
Mobile: Android, iOS.
7. Express Dictate
Operations and Technology has awarded Express Dictate the title as “easiest to use dictation software”. It offers a wide array of advanced features. It is important to note, however, that this is dictation software that does not offer voice-to-text capabilities. This means that your recordings still need to be transcribed at a later stage.
Multiple file formats – You can record in many different formats, including .wav, mp3 and dct.
Advanced editing features – Express Dictate allows you to perform editing in many different ways. You can insert speech at any stage, overwrite all or parts of an existing recording and add notes at the end of the recording. Playback ignores long pauses. This makes it easier when transcribing the audio file into text.
Manage recorded files – Once a recording is done, you can save it to your hard drive, but you can also send it to recipients via email, ftp or your computer network. If you send more than one file at a time for transcription, you can prioritize the files.
For those of you that do not do your own typing, this is the ideal dictation solution. It is popular with busy people that are continually on the move and that wish to be able to work when they have time available.
Systems: Windows, Mac
Price: from $99 Single user.
8. Google Docs Voice Typing
Several rating agencies have described Google Docs Voice Typing as the very best for on-line dictation. Even better: it is free. All you need is a Google account (free to create) and Chrome.
Easy to use – You can start using their browser based dictation software effectively within a few minutes. In addition, Google offers extensive support and help files that are easy to understand.
User cases – Google Docs Voice Typing may not be the best solution for managing various desktop applications, interacting on social media or even web browsing. Instead, it is a professional solution for those of you that frequently create a variety of text documents. It only supports English, however.
Formatting features – A wide variety of voice commands allow you to format your documents. You can format as you dictate or when you are done.
If you are on a strict budget or if you do not want to issue voice commands to control your applications, then Google Docs Voice Typing will be ideal for you.
Systems: Online, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Windows, Mac
9. Windows Speech Recognition
If you do not find Google Docs Voice Typing suitable for your needs, you may just like Windows Speech Recognition. It does not operate in the cloud. Instead, it is a locally processed platform and you do not need to be online in order to work.
User cases – The voice-to-text software can be used to control the desktop interface, to dictate text when completing electronic forms, to add text to email messages and to navigate websites. It is also useful to execute keyboard short-cuts, to control the mouse cursor and to create macros.
Intelligent adaptation – The more you use Windows Speech Recognition, the more effective it becomes. It learns and adapts from your input, your grammar, your speech samples and special optional training sessions.
Custom language models – A unique feature of this dictation software is its ability to support custom dialects, terminology and phonetics used by users in specialized fields such as medicine and engineering.
Windows Speech Recognition works well and it is a very good option if you do not wish to pay for speech-to-text software that you will only use occasionally.
10. Apple Dictation
Every Mac comes with a built-in dictation software. It is easy to use and you can be up and running within a few minutes.
User cases – Apple Dictation can be used wherever text input is required. You can use it to create emails, to type documents, to search the web and to fill in electronic forms. It is not suitable for controlling various desktop applications, such as opening files or playing music, for example.
Multiple languages – Many popular languages are supported and in most cases, even specific dialects of that language can be specified.
Enhanced mode – When you turn on the enhanced mode of the dictation software, you can use voice commands to insert special characters and to format your text as you dictate it.
Dictation.io uses Google Speech Recognition to convert you voice into text, but it only works in the Google Chrome environment. Your text is stored locally, not in the cloud. It works in Google Chrome in an Android environment too, but a desktop browser is recommended.
Features – Just because Dictation only works in Google Chrome does not mean that its uses are severely hampered. Create documents and emails, browse the internet, fill in forms and generate text wherever it is required. There is one important restriction, however. Unfortunately, you cannot have multiple tabs open in your browser and use the dictation software app at the same time.
Multiple languages – An impressive 100+ languages are fully supported. A standard set of voice commands allows you to format and edit your text as you go. The voice commands cannot be customized, but the existing set is extensive and easy to use.
Dictation.io does not work well in noisy environments and it does not adapt to changes in your own voice. However, it is ready to be used within a few minutes and you can use voice commands to format your text as you go along.
Systems: Windows, Mac, Linux
Criteria to Choose the Right Dictation Software
- The best dictation software achieve accuracy rates of more than 95%.
- Be clear about your individual needs before looking at the various features.
- Do you like the interface? The usability and navigation? Ease of use is important.
- Availability of specific voice commands will ease the process of editing.
- Some products do not work well in noisy environments. Crucial to you?
- Some software are limited to certain devices and systems. Check compatibility.
- An expensive product will be overkill if you are an infrequent user.
- Consider trying out a free product before you invest in a professional product.
- Some products offer a free trial period. This may help you make a final decision.
- A premium voice-to-text software should offer good technical support.
Benefits and Cons of Speech-to-Text Software
1. Save time creating written content. Humans can talk faster than they can type.
2. Reduce risk of RSI (repetitive strain injury) or posture issues.
3. Takes notes and compose articles while your hands can focus on other tasks.
4. It is an alternative to input method to typing and many people like it.
5. Have ideas conveniently converted into text the moment you articulate them.
Good to know – Of course, there are some obstacles to overcome too. Apart from tricky user interfaces, accuracy issues, noisy backgrounds or listening fellow human beings you may need to learn certain commands to further format the text converted. This may take time as those can be different to each dictation software.
Need to edit – Furthermore, having dictated all your thoughts does not mean you have a document ready to be published. You will still need to edit the text, shorten it or improve grammar and vocabulary. This may neutralize some of the time benefits, particularly if you struggle with the software’s voice commands.
Best Dictation Software 2019 – Review Verdict
Busy people, slow typists, students, editors and even ordinary computer users can all benefit from dictation software. It is most certainly worth it to try a few options to see if it will not make a positive difference to your productivity. This speech-to-text software has also found a growing market with people that have physical disabilities, arthritis and other conditions that makes it difficult for them to use the keyboard.
Recommendation – For beginners, we recommend to try either Apple or Google dictation software as those ones come already built-in for free in your OS, iOS, Windows or Android device. If your work as a writer, publisher or depend on high accuracy levels you may consider a premium speech-to-text software such as Dragon.
What is speech-to-text software?
Dictation software is able to recognize speech and voice with the focus to convert the spoken word into written text. It offers an alternative input method to typing to produce written content in form of notes, articles, documents etc.
There are different types of voice recognition software available that respond to verbal commands. Personal assistants for example differ from dictation software int he way that they perform a task based on the given verbal command.
What is the best dictation software 2019?
1. Dragon Home
2. Dragon Professional Individual
3. Winscribe Speech Recognition Suite
7. Express Dictate
8. Google Docs Voice Typing
9. Windows Speech Recognition
10. Apple Dictation
How to best use voice-to-text software?
You can improve the performance of your voice recognition software by following a few common tips and best practices. The most important one is to have your microphone working properly and also close to your mouth with as little background noise as possible. Speak as clearly as you can. Adjust your voice and volume accordingly.
Learn basic voice commands such as ‘Period’ or ‘Exclamation Mark’ to handle punctuation while you speak and dictate text. Furthermore, try to speak in the same way as you would write as written language differs from the spoken word. This will reduce the amount of formatting afterwards.
What is the best dictation software 2019 in your opinion?
External resources: Wikipedia