OSX Speech Recognition Apps : Free And PaidWanting to experience the time-saving benefits of speech recognition on your Macintosh? With both no cost and commercial Mac dictation software available you can try it out and see how it fits into your workflow - then decide if advanced command and control functionality is worth investing in and adding to your OSX productivity application arsenal.
Apple's OSX Dictation ServicesThe free voice recognition software built into Apple's operating system is a great way to explore speech to text functionality on your Macintosh at no expense. Beginning with OSX Mountain Lion, then refined and improved in OSX Yosemite, Mavericks and ElCapitan a suprisingly capable set of core dictation functions are available to any Mac user.
Initially, Apple's Dictation Services were online only: A live internet connection was required to access it's online vocabulary and translation databases. In OSX Mavericks and later versions, Apple began supporting more non-English languages. But most notable was adding OFFLINE capabilities by downloading a 700+MB file to your Macintosh and making internet access optional. It also made Mac speech to text translation much faster. Before, your voice signal pattern was limited to 30 max seconds of spoken word, transmitted up to Apple's servers, interpreted, and then returned to your application window as text after a slight delay. With the main vocabulary database now resident on your Mac, you can perform continuous dictation anywhere, anytime.
To take advantage of this: Visit Apple's System Preferences > Dictation & Speech pane. Checkbox "Use Enhanced Dictation" if available (depending on your OSX version) to "Allow offline use and continuous dictation with live feedback"
Over time, Apple has also expanded the additional Dictation Commands available to help you navigage, format, punctuate, and get expected results. To find these, you have to go to a completely different prefs pane: Apple System Preferences > Accessibility > Scroll down to Dictation category and then click the "Dictation Commands..." button to see all that are available. Tip: When dictation is active simply say "Show Commands" to get a pop-up window that shows a list of well over 50 categorized Selection, Navigation, Editing, Formatting and System commands you can speak during your session.
Dragon Systems Pro Speech Recognition SoftwareHere, we take a look at the most recent version of Dragon's dictation software for Mac OSX culled from lips-on experience and perusing other's online reviews of the speech recognition app. They're committed to Apple's computer platform and have been great about ongoing software development as Apple's OSX matures and changes with successive releases. The current version of Dragon Dictate for Mac is at v5.0 - but version 6 is due to ship soon.
Like any advanced, mature and sophisticated commercial software app, there's a learning curve involved to really get the most out of Dragon Professional for MacOS. Some of the advanced features of the full-blown speech recognition app include:
- Personal Voice Pattern Training
- Customizable Dictionary
- Extensive Voice Control Commands
- Multi-App Integration
- Sound File Encoding For Transcription
- Transcribe MP3, AIF, AIFF, WAV, MP4, M4A, M4V
- Dragon-Anywhere Cloud Dictation for iOS & Android Devices