Today’s article will explain in a little more detail about the history of Dragon Naturally Speaking. Dragon was first developed in the 1980s. The first version was called Dragon Dictate and according to Wikipedia it cost $9,000 for a user license. Over the next several years the price dropped and the quality of the program increased. It has been owned by four different Corporations and is now owned by Nuance Corporation.
There are three different versions of Dragon. The first is called Standard Edition and it is equivalent to the Microsoft speech recognition program. These are both very basic speech recognition systems and they are lackluster in performance and features. Unfortunately, both of these programs are proficient just enough to make many end users frustrated and ultimately discouraged about the idea of speech recognition. The next version of Dragon is called Dragon Preferred. This is a much more functional system and it is a consumer-based model. It has many more features than the Standard Edition and is much more usable and user friendly. A final version is called Dragon Professional and incorporates all of the features of the previous two models and additional features. In addition to Dragon Professional there are also two specialized programs that are based on the professional model. These are the legal version and the medical version. Both have additional vocabulary and features that are helpful in both of those fields.
The cost for the Standard Edition is $99.99. The Preferred edition is $199.99 while the professional version is $899. Those that stick with speech recognition do not seem to use the Standard Edition. The Standard Edition seems to be for a novelty purpose primarily and I would not suggest it if you are going to use speech on any regular basis.. The preferred edition and the professional version are functional daily driver software programs.
Basic requirements for usage on a computer are fairly hefty. My program takes up 203 MB of space. I looked earlier today and none of my other programs come even close to using that amount of space. According to Nuance, Dragon requires only a Pentium one processor and 512 ram. My experience is quite different. I have found that Dragon is a memory hog and resource heavy software program. Bigger and badder computers work better with Dragon. Dragon seems to play primarily in the RAM so you can never have enough RAM. Since the 32-bit operating systems can only have 3 GB of RAM my suggestion would be to use as much RAM as you can afford. Lack of power means delay in the text being printed on the screen and more time consumption with making corrections.
Speed and power with a computer are only one of the necessary ingredients for good results with Dragon. Recognition accuracy will be increased also by the quality of the microphone and with the speech habits of the end user. Stay tuned for more upcoming articles. Next time: “What Can Dragon DO? Or more realistically… “What Do I Remember About What Dragon Can Do?”