What is Dragon?

Generally speaking, the term ‘speech recognition’ in technology describes the capability of an electronic device to respond to words spoken by humans. Nowadays there is speech recognition for Windows and Mac computers, smartphones, GPS navigation systems and much more.

At Learn Dragon Online, I teach people to work with Dragon Professional Individual. This is a speech recognition software which can be installed on a computer. Dragon Professional Individual runs on Windows PCs. There also used to be a version for the Mac, but that is no longer the case, unfortunately.

To be able to successfully use Dragon, you also need a suitable microphone and a reasonably powerful computer. This combination then allows you to dictate text. Your spoken words appear on the screen. You can also use speech commands for controlling the computer.

What can Dragon do?

Dictation

Dragon speech recognition software has allowed me to create this blogpost without having to type a single word. I’ve also entered the words on my screen at a much faster speed than I could type. Basically, the main thing slowing me down is my brain, which has to come up with the words I want to write!

So I am entering these words by dictating and next I will use speech commands to save this document. And, if I like, there are speech commands for editing and formatting this text as well.

Commands

Dragon has many built-in commands, but you can also add your own speech commands. That way you can navigate many applications by voice, even if they are not supported by Dragon out-of-the-box. This is a more advanced feature of Dragon. Personally I really enjoy creating custom commands form myself and my clients. It makes me so much more productive and it allows me to merge several actions into a single commands.

How does Dragon work?

When I speak into a microphone that is connected to my pc, Dragon analyses the sound. The newest version of Dragon uses ‘deep mind’ artificial intelligence to decide what I said.

Depending on what I said – and on the context in which I said it – Dragon either writes down the words as text or executes a command.

When I dictate a word that is not in its vocabulary, Dragon will not be able to write it down (unfortunately it is kind of stupid, that way). However, I can easily make corrections or manually add words to the vocabulary. Since the software already recognises an incredible number of words, I don’t have to teach it many new words.

To be honest: if I use a lot of specific words for a topic (jargon) I may have to put a bit more effort in teaching Dragon the words that I commonly use.

Fortunately, Dragon can analyse existing documents and find new words. That makes it fairly easy to add these words to Dragon’s vocabulary.

In the short video below I will demonstrate some dictation and commands.