New Voice Writing Software
Well, we took the plunge and bought some new VR software--Eclipse. It should arrive in a few days.
I've been using Dragon 8-Preferred for quite a while and in the process I've learned A LOT about voice writing and VR software. Dragon is definitely an "over the counter" software. It is designed for word processing kinds of duties and it doesn't have the needed functions that are ideal for real-time work.
After using Dragon for a while I discovered two main problems in the real-time setting:
- It is slow to lay down text on the screen. This is due to it's intellect. Dragon thinks through the context of the sentence and even paragraph to choose the correct words being dictated before it sends the text to the screen.
- Auto punctuation comes on without being asked (this is just a bug in the system & a BIG pain!).
- Dragon requires files to be saved after about 40 minutes of dictation (often at very inconvenient times).
After realizing we were ready for an upgrade, I began evaluating the many products on the market. I narrowed it down to ProCat and Eclipse. I ultimately made the decision to go with Eclipse because the voice model training is done directly from dictation. This saves A LOT of time and is also much more ACCURATE. I've learned that my speech at home and my speech in the setting in which I dictate are very different. I believe the differences are due to speed, pressure, and background noise--differences I can't always duplicate. Why is this so important? Let's say I dictate the word "Jesus" in the church setting and "cheese us" comes up instead. When I go home and make the correction, the processes will differ depending on the software I use. If using Eclipse, I will type the correction and it will use the recording of the word I actually spoke during church. With ProCat, I will be required to speak the word "Jesus" again so that it can be added. When I say it the second time, I may use a very different tone, volume, or intensity than in the church setting. Ultimately, the only way to get good results with ProCat is to speak very much like a robot. I should be able to speak more naturally with a program like Eclipse. Sheesh, that's hard to explain!!
One thing to note: I almost overlooked Eclipse because their customer service & marketing is weak compared to ProCat's. In fact I would consider it to be quite poor. If it weren't for a conversation with a Court Reporter that has used both ProCat and Eclipse, I would have likely purchased ProCat.
BTW, Eclipse happens to be the same software that our stenographer uses. It will be interesting to see what we can learn from each other. We can also upgrade once again if we choose to buy the captioning software. This upgrade would enable us to embed the text onto our live video feed, just as you see on network television. Currently we are using a split screen (PIP) TV. The video is displayed on one side of the screen and the text is displayed on the other.