Speech-To-Text: Apple vs Dragon Dictate

I tried out Apple’s new Speech-to-Text capability built into Mountain Lion for dictating the notes for a Keynote presentation and it seemed to me there were a lot of errors. I’ve used Dragon Dictate for Mac for a few years. I haven’t been too impressed up to now, but I just got the new version, 3.0, which supposedly fixed many of the shortcomings of earlier versions, so I was interested in comparing it to Apple’s Speech-to-Text capability.

I chose the following brief 2-paragraph Keynote slide note as the test text.

Source text

Here’s the download website for the Maintenance app. Looks familiar doesn’t it? What Titanium software has done is split out the section called automation in Onyx and set it up as a standalone app called Maintenance. It works almost identically to the automation section in Onyx.

Maintenance only goes back as far as Snow Leopard. Onyx versions go I think all the way back to 10.2. There’s a link to the pre-Lion versions down at the bottom of the download page.

Here are the results of the first try. I observed all the rules about speaking the punctuation, etc. The text was dictated in the same environment using the same high-quality USB microphone/headset. Dragon dictate requires a “training” text reading (about 5 minutes) to learn to recognize your speech patterns. I created a new profile with just this preliminary training to eliminate any advantage from Dragon Dictate’s adaptive learning as you use it.

Apple (8 errors)

Here’s the download website for the Maintenance staff. Looks familiar doesn’t it? What Titanium software has done is split out the section called AutoNation in Onyx and set it up at the standalone app called Maintenance. It works almost identically to the auto Asian section in the phonics.

Maintenance only goes back as far as Snow Leopard. Alex versions go I think all the way back to 10.2. there’s a link to the preview Laurium versions down at the bottom of the download page.

Dragon Dictate 3.0 (2 errors)

Here’s the download website for the maintenance app. Looks familiar doesn’t it? What Titanium software has done is split out the section called automation in sonic’s and set it up as a standalone app called Maintenance. It works almost identically to the automation section in Onyx.

 Maintenance only goes back as far as Snow Leopard. Onyx versions go I think all the way back to 10.2. There’s a link to the free Lion versions down at the bottom of the download page.

As I said, I know Dragon Dictate is initially trained and learns more as you use and correct it, but I don’t know if Apple Speech-to-Text learns. Therefore, I tried the same source text a second time with each app.

 Apple second try (6 errors)

Here’s the download website for the Maintenance app. Looks familiar doesn’t it? What Titanium software has done is split out [the] section called automation in phonics and set it up as a standalone app called Maintenance. It works almost identically to the automation section in phonics.

Maintenance only goes back as far as Snow Leopard. Thanks virgins go I think all the way back to 10.2. There is a link to the pre-– lion versions down at the bottom of the download page.

Dragon Dictate 3.0 second try (0 errors)

Here’s the Download Website for the Maintenance App. Looks familiar doesn’t it? What Titanium software has done is split out the section called automation in Onyx and set it up as a standalone app called Maintenance. It works almost identically to the automation section in Onyx.

 Maintenance only goes back as far as Snow Leopard. Onyx versions go I think all the way back to 10.2. There’s a link to the pre-Lion versions down at the bottom of the download page.

If Apple Speech-to-Text learns, it is a D student. Some of the previous mistakes were avoided, but some new ones, including one hilarious one (I don’t think I made a Freudian Slip there) popped up. Dragon Dictate, in contrast, was letter-perfect on the second try.

Some other considerations:

Apple                                                            Dragon Dictate

Free                                                               $180

Needs WiFi connection                             Standalone

30 seconds max per input session          unlimited length

My recommendation: If you are serious about heavy use, accuracy, long dictations and/or need speech-to-text capability when you don’t have a WiFi connection, spend the money  for Dragon Dictate. Apple Speech-to-Text is OK for quick tasks like adding titles and comments to iPhoto photos, but has a long way to go to be competitive. (Apple Maps redux?)