Does Dragon Naturally Speaking have the ability to transcribe MP3's?

Discussion in 'Computers & Technology' started by Semper Fidelis, Nov 17, 2009.

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  1. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    I'm curious if anybody has Dragon Naturally Speaking or some other like software that will transcribe an MP3 into typed text.
  2. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    I think so. I tried it once. I can't remember if I made the MP3 a wav file first or not.
  3. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member


    I use DragonNaturally Speaking Professional 10.1, the latest version, running the 64 bit on Windows 7 and a pretty good processor, lots of memory, and it is very impressive.

    But you will be very disappointed trying to do anything with MP3s.

    I dictate into a high-end recorder with a dedicated noise cancelling microphone while driving and it works reasonably well but has around 5% error rate The recording quality is at least an order of magnitude better than the best of MP3s. You might get 80 % accuracy with a high quality lapel mic, but any ambient noise, change in conditions, or loss through processing will drop the accuracy to the pull-out-your-hair level.

    Edit: I should add, if you are trying to transcribe someone else's voice, we are a long way from that yet. Dragon works best when it is trained by the user under standard conditions.
  4. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Thanks. I was just curious.
  5. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    I should have given some qualifications. Dragon works best with raw sound files, like wav, but I did fiddle around with mp3s a year ago and got it to sort of work.

    It seems cool at first, but when you go back to correct things you realize how much time you have to spend fixing the wrong words (dragon rarely mispells, rather, it puts in a perfectly fine word that you didn't use--makes proofreading difficult because the sentence looks OK on skimming), you end up ditching the effort.

    You can use mp3s from a very high quality recorder, but wav is better still. If you want to seriously dictate, the first step is to check Dragon's website for "certified" recorders. Even then, I'd check on the forum too, because those guys spend a lot of time testing equipment.

    I'm sort of negative about getting into using Dragon unless you want to really dive in. I spent probably 200 hours tweaking my wife's system and my system over the past year, and it still does strange things. In her case, it is an essential thing, in my case, it is a pretty useful thing that, sometime down the road, will pay me back.
  6. SemperEruditio

    SemperEruditio Puritan Board Junior


    I loved it till I went back to check it for accuracy. It was quicker for me to just listen to the lecture/sermon via headphones and then dictate it into Dragon.
  7. johnbugay

    johnbugay Puritan Board Freshman

    A few years ago I was in a position to need to interview a lot of people and transcribe the interviews. I found that this was the best way to do it -- I'd just listen to the interview in headphones and dictate. I greatly increased the accuracy that way.
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