Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions

You have questions, we have answers! Browse the topics below to find information about how speech recognition works. You’ll learn more about the innovative features that make Dragon NaturallySpeaking the best-selling desktop dictation software in the world. We also respond to a few of the most common Customer Service questions.

Q. Does Dragon work with 64-bit operating systems?

Dragon NaturallySpeaking supports Windows 7 and Vista 64-bit operating systems.

Q. Does Dragon work on Macintosh computers?

No. Dragon is designed for Windows operating systems. However, MacSpeech Dictate [more information] is available for Mac users. Based on Dragon technology, the award-winning MacSpeech Dictate offers speech recognition for the Apple market.

Q: What are the recommended system requirements for optimal use of Dragon on a netbook?

Primarily designed for wireless communication and access to the Internet, netbooks are ideal for users who require a less powerful client computer. These devices range in size from about 7 to 11 inches, typically weigh two to three pounds, and are often significantly less expensive than traditional laptops. Dragon can install and run on a netbook, although the user experience may be slightly different than running Dragon on a standard PC. About 90 percent of netbooks run the Windows XP operating system, but customized Linux distributions do ship on some netbooks. At this time, Dragon NaturallySpeaking does not install and run on the Linux operating system.

To provide the best user experience of Dragon installed on a netbook, Nuance provides the following recommendations:

  • Select a netbook with the largest screen size: Because some netbooks are designed with extremely small screen sizes, dialog boxes within Dragon may not be sized appropriately to fit on the screen. Dragon customers that select netbooks with small screens may need to move or re-size the dialog box in some instances.
  • Select a netbook with the largest memory possible: Netbooks generally offer limited CPU, so the machine runs slower. When Dragon is installed on a low-power machine, it turns off Natural Language Commands and defaults to a smaller-sized vocabulary. (With a more powerful CPU, Dragon customers are able to use more intuitive voice commands and are provided with a larger vocabulary that helps to improve word error rates.) Recognition speed will be noticeably slower with limited CPU.
  • Select a netbook with a disk drive: Some netbooks may not include disk drives, but a DVD-ROM drive is required for Dragon installation.
  • Select a USB Digital Microphone: The built-in array microphones are generally poor performing in netbooks. Although this type of microphone may work fine for applications such as webcam conversations, the poor quality of the microphone will make it difficult for Dragon to differentiate words within your dictation. Using an external analog headset is an option, but a better choice is to select a USB digital microphone since this takes the audio circuitry of the netbook out of the equation and will deliver the best accuracy.

Q. Can I use Dragon NaturallySpeaking to transcribe interviews or meetings?

No, Dragon NaturallySpeaking is a speaker-dependent system, meaning that it trained to recognize the voice of a single user and cannot distinguish speech from more than one speaker. People have no problem understanding both Aunt Grace, who has a high, thin voice, and Cousin Paul, who has a voice like a foghorn, because people can easily adjust to the unique characteristics of every voice. Speech-recognition software, on the other hand, works best when the computer has a chance to adjust to each new speaker. The process of teaching the computer to recognize your voice is called "training."

Q. Is Dragon available in more than one language?

Dragon is available in American English, Australian English, Asian English, Indian English, UK English, Dutch, French, German, Italian and Spanish.

The French, Italian, German and Spanish editions also support English. And the Dutch edition supports English, French and German.

Q: What wireless headsets are compatible with Dragon for dictation?

Certified Bluetooth devices are listed under the category: "Wireless microphones" on the Nuance hardware compatibility web site: http://support.nuance.com/compatibility/default.asp. Each device lists the wireless technology — RF or Bluetooth. The certified Bluetooth device lists the drivers and adapters/dongles used in the product bundle that were tested. The BlueParrott from VXI is plug and play and comes with a factory paired base station and driver software. The XCommunicator5 consists of the Sony Ericsson Akono headset HBH-300 microphone and XCommunicator 5 drivers and Bluetooth USB adapter/dongle.

Q. What does “no training required” mean? If I don’t need product training, why is there a tutorial?

"No Training Required," a feature introduced in Dragon NaturallySpeaking 9, is focused on voice training as opposed to product training. It is a valuable and important positioning statement to say that Dragon NaturallySpeaking is the first product to eliminate voice training and still deliver high accuracy levels. This strategic message is intended for those who have previously spent a long time in the enrollment process and still received poor results." Training" is the word most often associated with describing "enrollment" or "script reading." The use of "training" in context with "high accuracy" or "eliminates the need to train the software to a user's voice" does not eliminate the need for product training.

Q: Please define and differentiate between Language Model Optimizer and Acoustic Optimizer.

The Acoustic Optimizer is a tool that optimizes the acoustic models. It uses audio in the .dra files, as well as enrollment data, and correction data in the acarchive.nwv. The Language Model optimizer is a tool that optimizes the topic with dictated text found in the . dra files.

Q: Which versions of Dragon support dictation into Electronic Medical Records systems (EMRs)?

Dragon Medical 10 is Nuance's solution for clinicians working in hospitals, private practices, urgent care clinics and other provider settings. Dragon Medical 10 has been designed specifically for clinicians who need advanced capabilities to document care in an electronic medical record faster and more accurately.

These advanced features are only available in Dragon Medical version 10 and are not included with the Dragon Preferred, Professional and Legal editions of Dragon 10. Dictation into an EMR application is disabled in these non-medical versions.

These advanced features include:

  • 75 medical specialty vocabularies, which deliver 38 percent higher accuracy than non-medical speech recognition software, saving clinicians thousands of hours in time correcting errors and adding medical terms to Dragon Professional or Preferred.
  • New EMR-specific features, ranging from a hidden dictation window capability to enhanced formatting for medical abbreviations and text management, which make products such eClinicalWorks, Epic, Allscripts and other software faster and easier to use.

We have heard from clinicians - and our EMR partners - who previously used Dragon Professional or Preferred version 9 and migrated to Dragon Medical 9 that they wished they could have started with the medical version. Dragon Medical 10 is the right product for busy physicians and its high value feature set makes it the only Dragon solution for EMR use.

Q: What are the hours and phone number for Customer Service?

For these details and more, please see the Dragon Customer Service page.

Q: Where can I see a list of compatible hardware like microphones, recorders, or Tablet PCs?

Please see our Hardware Compatibility List.

Q: What can I do if I have a technical question?

Please see the Technical Support section; many online resources are available in addition to email and phone support.

Q: Where can I find detailed documentation to best use Dragon?

Our website lets you download documents like the Workbook, cheat sheet, and User Guides: see support.nuance.com/usersguides

Q: For customers who have purchased upgrade assurance, will it automatically renew, and how is the bill generated?

Upgrade Assurance does not automatically renew. Nuance sends out notifications to OLP customers at 90 days, 60 days and 30 days prior to the expiration date, reminding them that they need to renew. As a general rule, Upgrade Assurance must be purchased at the same time as the initial license purchase.

Q: What happens is I mistakenly purchase a pirated copy of Dragon NaturallySpeaking?

Each copy of Dragon NaturallySpeaking is licensed for use by a single user. When you purchase a genuine copy of Dragon NaturallySpeaking, you become a licensed user and have purchased the right to use the software for a specific user. It is against the law to give copies to friends and colleagues or to sell copies of the software to others. The unauthorized copying of software is called piracy.

Each copy of Dragon must be activated prior to use. This helps us to discourage the piracy of our software and protects our customers from the risks of illegal and fake software. In addition to potential viruses, pirated software does not offer the support, warranties and updates received with genuine copies of Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Unfortunately, this process doesn't stop all software piracy. Some people continue to sell fake or illegal copies of Dragon, particularly through Internet storefronts or online auction sites.

Since there are many legitimate online retailers of Dragon, it may be difficult to spot online piracy. Before buying online, be sure to review the company's name, full address and phone number. Inquire about the company's return policy, as well as service and warranty information. Ask directly if the software has been used or installed before. To be sure that you are purchasing a genuine copy of Dragon NaturallySpeaking, we encourage you to buy your products either directly from Nuance or from one of our authorized resellers.

If you mistakenly purchased a pirated copy of Dragon NaturallySpeaking, it is not supported by Nuance as we can’t confirm the quality and full functionality of pirated products. Although Nuance regularly monitors the market for pirated versions of our software to protect our customer base, we can’t be responsible for the activities of those who illegally copy the software. You will need to return the software to its original source.

Q: How does speech recognition work?

Speech recognition software products like Dragon NaturallySpeaking use the human voice as the main interface between the user and the computer. While relatively simple to use, speech recognition software is a highly sophisticated technology that leverages “language modeling” to recognize and differentiate among the millions of human utterances that make up any language. Using statistical models, speech recognition programs analyze an incoming stream of sound and interpret those sounds as commands and dictation. This process of interpretation is called speech recognition, and its success is measured by the percentage of correct interpretations.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking is an example of a speaker dependent speech recognition system. Dragon creates a voice profile for each user of the system that contains information about the unique characteristics of each person's voice along with a customized set of words, known as a vocabulary, and user specific information including software settings and personalized macros. When Dragon users create and train their user profile, they start with a standard set of models and then customize them for the way they speak (acoustic model) and the way they use words (vocabulary and associated language model). This approach accommodates users with varying accents and speech patterns. The software employs the customized user profile to guess the words spoken. Every time an individual uses Dragon and corrects his recognition errors, the software updates his user profile to enable better recognition accuracy over time.

In most cases, speech recognition is used in conjunction with other input devices including keyboards and mice. However, users can leverage speech recognition to control 100 percent of their computing environment, making this technology ideal for employees with physical challenges, repetitive strain injuries or other reasons to operate information systems completely hands-free.

Q: Do I need to talk in a monotone voice at a slow pace for Dragon NaturallySpeaking to understand me?

No. Speak at your normal pace without slowing down. Your accuracy will actually be best if you speak in long, well-enunciated phrases or sentences. Speaking slowly and deliberately, in short phrases or single words, can actually result in more recognition errors. Longer phrases provide more context, which helps Dragon NaturallySpeaking recognize individual words. To understand what it means to speak both clearly and naturally, listen to the way newscasters read the news. If you copy this style when you dictate, the program should successfully recognize what you say.

In general conversations, many people may mumble, slur their words, or leave words out altogether. They assume, usually correctly, that their listeners will be able to fill in the gaps. Unfortunately, computers won't understand mumbled speech or missing words. They only understand what was actually spoken and don't know enough to fill in the gaps by guessing what was meant.

Q: Is talking to a computer the same as talking to a person?

No. What the computer does when it listens to speech is different from what a person does. Understanding spoken language is something that people often take for granted. Most of us develop the ability to recognize speech when we're very young. We're already experts at speech recognition by the age of three or so.

The first challenge in speech recognition is to identify what is speech and what is just noise. People can filter out noise fairly easily, which lets us talk to each other almost anywhere. We have conversations in busy train stations, across the dance floor, and in crowded restaurants. It would be very dull if we had to sit in a quiet room every time we wanted to talk to each other! Unlike people, computers need help separating speech sounds from other sounds. When you speak to a computer, you should be in a place without too much noise. Then, you must speak clearly into a microphone that has been placed in the right position. If you do this, the computer will hear you just fine, and not get confused by the other noises around you.

Another challenge is how to distinguish between two or more phrases that sound alike. People use common sense and context — knowledge of the topic being talked about — to decide whether a speaker said "ice cream" or "I scream." Speech-recognition programs don't understand what words mean, so they can't use common sense the way people do. Instead, they keep track of how frequently words occur by themselves and in the context of other words. This information helps the computer choose the most likely word or phrase from among several possibilities.