Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13: Compatibility Troubles?

Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13 was recently released and Nuance is very proud to say that with each new release of speech recognition software it gets better with its accuracy and the performance increases. Nuance routinely refers to Dragon NaturallySpeaking as being able to be at least 3x more productive by using their speech recognition software.

As a user of Dragon NaturallySpeaking for the last 10 years, I can say without a doubt that using speech recognition software is an absolute benefit to creating emails, doing documentation, taking notes and any other task that requires people to write large amounts of information. With the latest release of version 13 Nuances speech recognition software, the latest release offers the greatest amount of accurate recognition of speech that can be offered to the general public.

Historically, I have used Dragon NaturallySpeaking and just about every application I can think of. It’s been immensely productive and it’s one of the must-have applications from my toolbox— until version 13.

Since Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13 came out, are you running in to compatibility issues?

  • Yes (76%, 148 Votes)
  • I don't use Dragon NaturallySpeaking. (14%, 28 Votes)
  • No. (10%, 19 Votes)

Total Voters: 195

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Version 13 of Dragon NaturallySpeaking is the first version of Nuances speech recognition software that I felt was more of a limitation than it was benefit.

I’m not sure that it’s Dragon users fault or if it’s Nuances fault for making the decisions that they do. I don’t know that Nuance views people use non-Microsoft applications has second-class users; not worthy of consideration. I wonder if Nuance takes into account that there are some people that like to use applications simply because they’re good applications, and not because they’re stamped with a Microsoft logo.

If you think applications like Mozilla Thunderbird, Lotus Notes, Evernote and pretty much any other text editor, Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13 now considers these applications noncompatible [without the dictation box]. These applications are now considered not compatible because they don’t have the text control feature that is looking for. With the previous version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking (12), you could’ve used these applications without any issues, but going forward to version 13 Nuances make decision that essentially their software is going to work or is not going to work.

The argument from Nuance seems to be that their customer base is complaining that Dragon NaturallySpeaking wasn’t working 100% with the applications they wanted them to. Beginning with version 12, Nuance made the move towards forcing customers to be compatible in trying to make the application/software more compliant. Nuance did this by introducing the use of the dictation box if the application you’re dictating into wasn’t supported by Dragon. But there was a caveat, there was a checkbox to continue to dictate without using the dictation box [which was the right thing to do]. There is still a large number of applications out there that are great and don’t have text control, but Dragon seems to work fine in them.

Since the release of Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13, from the time I reported it in my initial review of the software, I have been trying to bring more attention to the issue and to the decision that Nuances made not to support these applications.

I reached out to Peter Mahoney, Chief Marketing Officer & Gen. manager of Dragon. Then I went through Dragon product support manager, David Popovich. I’ve been participating in online discussions about Dragon NaturallySpeaking through Facebook pages and groups in LinkedIn, but I really haven’t gotten any traction, but I have gotten some acknowledgment from Nuance [Derek Austin] on the compatibility issues.

654 Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13: Compatibility Troubles?

Essentially the argument that Derek is making is that it Nuance wants to appease their customer base, they had to make a decision about the functionality of the speech recognition software. Although Dragon NaturallySpeaking, everything prior to version 13, would work in just about any application for dictation, but the fact that Dragon NaturallySpeaking was working in those applications, but wasn’t actually intended to was just a ‘at the time’ bonus feature.

Nuance contends that Dragon NaturallySpeaking wasn’t supposed to work in those applications, but it did. And the fact that Dragon NaturallySpeaking worked in those applications is why some people found the application so useful; because they could dictate into just about any application that they want to— irregardless of Dragon fully supporting that particular software package.

If you mainly use Microsoft office products with Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13, you probably won’t see any problems.

As I continued to nudge around and try to find somebody Nuance to inquire about this problem/issue, I was directed to Rick Brown which is the Dragon Product Manager. Rick essentially reiterated what Derek had put in his post from LinkedIn. Nuance had to make a ‘polarized’ decision with version 13 if they were going to work with applications or not work with applications; there wasn’t going to be a gray area with Dragon.

When I emailed Rick back and tried to emphasize that Dragon does not have to be polarized decision of being compatible or not; being able to work or not. It’s more of embracing the gray area that’s available, serving the public, informing them and letting them make a choice if they want to try Dragon with an application. If Dragon works fine with another software package, it should be allowed, if the customer chooses. It was Nuance makes the disclaimer that Dragon is going to do its best to be compatible, but it’s guaranteed, that should be fine. Rick acknowledged my email and said their may not be any thing he can do about it. I hope he can at least address it or discuss it with some other people Nuance.

Dragon is a software package all to its own, Dragon NaturallySpeaking caters to medical professionals, lawyers and high-end administrators, but also caters to people with disabilities, speech impediments or people who have problems translating thoughts to written form. All these customers consider Dragon NaturallySpeaking indispensable, and all the applications that they use may not be specifically from Microsoft, or may not have text control. They simply need the ability for Nuances speech recognition to translate what they say into a textual format; what’s been doing for the last 10+ years.

Anyone who’s purchased Dragon NaturallySpeaking knows that the software package is not exactly a purchase you make lightly. Purchasing a copy of Dragon NaturallySpeaking means that you’re making a conscious decision to be more productive and you’re willing to put in some serious time to make a product work for you. I would suspect that for large majority of people who use Dragon, and are not strictly using Microsoft products, they are probably going to run into some compatibility problems.

I personally had to downgrade from Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13 to version 12.5 to stay productive. Unfortunately, I use Dragon NaturallySpeaking and a wide array of applications. Version 13 took away my ability to dictate into all those applications and it affected my ability to be productive as I would normally. My frustration with having to use version 13 and the dictation box to use those applications was beyond frustrating. And for a person who’s been using Dragon NaturallySpeaking for almost 10 years, to have that ability take away, was unacceptable.

It may be hard for some people to believe, but I was more willing to use an older version of Dragon, and be more productive, and to use a newer version and miss out on the greater recognition. In my defense, Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12 claimed a 99% accuracy rate.

Right now, and most important, what customers need to know about purchasing NaturallySpeaking 13 is that when Nuance says that you can be 3x more productive by using speech recognition, the packaging for that software should come with an asterisk. There should be some sort of disclosure letting potential customers know you can only be 3x more productive in the applications that are supported by Dragon.

If you have any thoughts, let me know…



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