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#1 pdmayfield

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Posted 26 May 2010 - 02:57 PM

My question is to anyone with past or current experience with voice dictation software:

I am currently in seminary, and I am interested in purchasing MacSpeech Dictate for writing papers, sermons, and teaching. Does anyone have experience with this product? Are there better products out there for voice dictation?

Regards,
PD


P.S. Obviously, I am a MAC user and enjoy using Accordance. Would such software work in Accordance (not necessary but curious)?

#2 R. Mansfield

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Posted 26 May 2010 - 04:25 PM

I can't give you a definitive answer, but I can say that I'm very interested in this, too. Back in the mid-nineties, I tried using dictation software back when I was still using Windows. This was when you had to spend a few hours pronouncing words and reading sentences to "train" the software. I don't know if you still have to do that or not. Anyway, I wasn't overly impressed back then or maybe I wasn't patient enough.

I did know a fellow, though, who in the late nineties, essentially wrote his entire dissertation for his doctorate with dictation software.

The idea seems great, but I wonder about the reality. I have been impressed with the free Dragon Dictation software on the iPad. It's very accurate, for the most part, and I haven't had to train it.

If the software did work well, my greatest concern would have to do with the fact that speaking and writing are very different mediums. None of us speak the way we write or write the way we speak. Speech is almost always more informal in style even when we're trying to be formal. Preaching might benefit from preparing manuscripts via dictation, but I wonder if academic papers would suffer.

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#3 Brent Lawrence

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Posted 26 May 2010 - 10:21 PM

My question is to anyone with past or current experience with voice dictation software:

I am currently in seminary, and I am interested in purchasing MacSpeech Dictate for writing papers, sermons, and teaching. Does anyone have experience with this product? Are there better products out there for voice dictation?

Regards,
PD


P.S. Obviously, I am a MAC user and enjoy using Accordance. Would such software work in Accordance (not necessary but curious)?


I have been using MacSpeech Dictate for a few months for writing papers. There are times my thoughts flow best with it and times without it. Either way, it works pretty well. I use it mostly in Word, but there is a known issue with MacSpeech if your Word document has fields in it. I have also used it just to record notes from my textbook into Circus Ponies Notebook and all in all, I'm pretty pleased with it. It is very accurate. I do recommend using the wired headset as opposed to the bluetooth which I found to be less dependable. MacSpeech is not without the occasional crash. It will periodically stop recording your voice (for no apparent reason), but it usually only requires putting it in "Sleep Mode" and then turning the mic back on again to get things back.

I have not even attempted to use it in Accordance, but my guess is that it would work in your User Tool or User Notes edit windows as well as the search area of Accordance. Basically, anywhere that you would enter text is where MacSpeech seems to fit in. I haven't even begun to use it to enter commands, but this is also a feature.
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#4 pdmayfield

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 10:36 AM

Rick and Brent,

Thanks for your replies. Brent, yours was especially helpful, as you have first hand experience with the application. Everything you said seems to also be expressed in amazon reviews of the application. Rick, you bring up good distinctions between speaking and writing mediums. I generally take a long time to write (proofreading, editing, etc), so I think this application will save time in initial drafting. I plan on still typing/editing for final drafts.

~PD

#5 Chris Echols

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Posted 29 May 2010 - 08:15 AM

I too use MacSpeech Dictate and it's pretty accurate for me with my southern drawl. The thing to keep in mind though is that while using MacSpeech Dictate, it wants you to use it for everything. Trying to type, make corrections, switching windows, etc will throw it off because it tries to keep tabs on what it's doing. They call it "The Golden Rule". Thus, I've learned to use it to switch back and forth to Accordance and with the help of a few scripts here and there, it works okay when I'm laying on the couch. I do wish I could say "Mark chapter 4 verse 11" and it would always type "Mark 4:11", but I have to say "Mark numeral four colon eleven". You can edit the vocabulary though, so I'm sure it's a way that I could get it to do what I wanted, but again, I'm laying on the couch.

#6 Jonna Schmidt

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 01:08 PM

Hi, I use MacSpeech Dictate Medical (since I am a physician), and I can tell you that it is FANTASTIC, at least the medical version. Two things that I like, which might not apply to your situation. First, you can create "macros", which allow you to insert repeat texts-phrases. As a physician, I use "exams" as my repeat macro, but I can see how a seminary student might have "favorites". As the others have mentioned, you can use the application to open email, open webpages, etc. That might be useful. The other thing that makes the application useful: you can "train" the vocabulary editor for just about anything. Admittedly, I have never trained any Greek or Hebrew words. Admittedly. HOWEVER, I have trained words (such as physican names) that are prone to misspelling such as as Dr. Snyder vs Dr. Snider; Dr. Burnes vs Dr. Byrnes. I don't have a working knowledge of Greek, but even an "English-only user" such as myself could see how that could be an advantage to a seminary student. Anyway, I can attest that I have saved THOUSANDS of dollars over the years. Jonna from Michigan

#7 Jonna Schmidt

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 01:27 PM

Two more things: I would FULLY endorse the comments AGAINST the use of the Bluetooth headset. I have a Mac OS.X.6.3 and the Bluetooth headset did TERRIBLE things to my new Mac! Made it crash and lock -- terrible situation. I would stick to a traditional USB headset. Second, I have also had the same problem with WORD if the document has FIELDS. Have not encountered that problem with PAGES or MELLEL. I have been able to successfully dictate into USER NOTES of ACCORDANCE without any problem -- but bear in mind: since I do not have any training in Hebrew-Greek, my dictations into User Notes have been confined to ENGLISH, usually commentaries regarding online sermons. Best wishes.

#8 pdmayfield

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Posted 03 June 2010 - 05:54 PM

Thanks Jonna. I purchased MacSpeech last week before leaving for vacation. Installation was a breeze and test runs went smoothly. I look forward to using it. I am in seminary for two things: M.Div and M.A. in Counseling. What medicine do you practice? I would be interested in the medical version for counseling; that will be a few more years, though.

Thanks again for your input.
~PD

P.S. Greek and Hebrew are helpful, but we can trust our English translations, too. Praise God that He makes himself known through His word, and we can read/hear it!




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