Dragon NaturallySpeaking is a voice recognition application for PC developed by the American company, Nuance. It is primarily used for dictation but is also capable of performing many other tasks on your computer, such as navigation and Application control. Version 1 was released in June 1997 and over the past eighteen years it has evolved dramatically. The current version (13) is available in several editions, these are; Home, Premium, Professional and Legal. I should also note that there is a Mac version of Dragon available which is called DragonDictate and is currently on version 4.
The use of Dragon is fairly straightforward, it is quite simply talking. Using your voice you either dictate what you want to be typed or you give a voice command for it to do something. Dragon is more or less fully compatible with many applications including Microsoft Word, Excel and Internet Explorer. It is partially compatible with other applications such as Mindview, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. While with other applications it will not work at all, except through the indirect route of the Dictation Box.
Due to the wealth of abilities that Dragon has available in terms of dictation and voice commands it is a great benefit to a wide range of people. I myself regularly use Dragon to dictate my blogs and stories as I unfortunately sometimes suffer from RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) induced pain in my wrists. Thankfully the pain is not always severe and I am able to often use a keyboard and mouse with little difficulty. I have developed the habit of always using Dragon when typing large amounts of text (even when I’m not in pain) to avoid aggravating my wrists. However I have met people who do not always have this luxury (if at all) and for them, Dragon has been even more of a blessing than it has been for me.
While Dragon has been a great benefit to those with physical disabilities it has also shown great promise amongst those who have difficulty in spelling and writing generally, especially in regards to dyslexia. Due to the nature of Dragon you are able to dictate and not worry about how the words are going to be spelt or how the sentence will be structured. You can simply dictate, get the information down and then go back and proof read it by adding punctuation and restructuring sentences or by changing the odd word or phrase. I have met and trained so many people who have found Dragon incredibly helpful as they were previously finding it difficult to translate their thoughts into words through typing. It is as though Dragon has given them a direct route from mind to page and they have been able to make a lot of progress a lot more efficiently than they were before.
It should be noted that I’m in no way saying that Dragon is perfect for everyone as we are all different. However it is definitely a tool that has helped many people and one that I feel is worth looking into.
Technical Specification (Recommended)
Processor: Duel Core 2.2GHz 2MB L2 CACHE
Disk Space: 4GB (downloads require 3 times as much before install)
OS: Windows 7, 8, 8.1 32Bit and 64Bit, Windows Server 2008 R2 64 Bit Windows Server 2012 64Bit
Sound: Sound Card supporting 16 Bit recording
Other: Internet connection for Activation and a Web Browser to view Online Help, DVD-ROM drive for disc installation