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Each new version of DNS has its own idiosyncrasies – we could never get version 9 to understand the word ‘are’, for example; it seemed to think we were hesitating, even if we dictated it in the middle of a sentence. That appears to have been fixed in version 10, which now understands ‘are’, even when it’s spoken by a tractor driver from Somerset. He was suitably impressed.
Version 10’s idiosyncrasies are more ‘Things we wish had been corrected from earlier versions’. For example, although DNS is quite tightly integrated with Word, it can't use typographical speech or quotation marks. Where you might want to insert ‘66’s or ‘99’s, which Word is quite happy to do when you're typing, ask DNS to open or close quotes or speech marks and you’ll get the bog standard ' and " every time.
DNS 10 still tries to be clever, too, by guessing what you mean if it can't make out exactly what you’ve said. So, for example, it will often add extra words into your dictation, because, according to its syntax rules, it feels they should be there. It would be good to have a ‘be stupid’ option, where it would respond completely literally to what it hears.
Then there are scientific units. We were always taught that units should butt up to the numbers that precede them: 3GHz rather than 3 GHz and 10mm rather than 10 mm. DNS 10 helpfully has separate formatting for units and their abbreviations, but defaults to a single space between the abbreviated units and preceding numbers…for every single unit. You have to make separate changes to the formatting of each one. If you write about technical subjects, this is a pain. A facility to change this globally is sorely needed.
Recognition speed and accuracy are the core functions of any speech recognition software and both have been improved in the latest version of Dragon Naturally Speaking. The extension of speech commands into web browser control, particularly being able to conduct searches using popular search engines makes the software even more useful.
Against this are niggles, and they are only niggles, over the way the program handles some aspects of dictation. If you're using it every day, little things like the look of speech and quotation marks and the inability to tailor the program easily to follow a house style are at least an irritation. If you already have DNS 9 Preferred Wireless, we’d also recommend you buy the non-wireless version and stick with your old headset.
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