As one who does a great deal of writing and media work, for both business and pleasure, I’m constantly looking for ways to work more efficiently and minimize the amount of time spent on the fine details of many media projects. For example, as I was building and designing the new Wild Revelation Outdoors website, I had to do an enormous amount of behind the scenes search engine optimization work, especially in regard to the hundreds of photographs included in the galleries. As all you serious photographers, web designers and editors know, entering the title, caption, alt text, description, and keywords for every single photograph and web page that ends up on the Internet, or that is used for other professional projects, can be an unbelievably time-consuming ordeal! It can take days to enter all that information on a big batch of photos. Sitting hunched over at a computer desk all day typing away takes its toll on one’s back, eyes, and blood circulation. After spending several hours engaged in such an activity, I find my lower back is hurting and stiff, I’ve got a splitting headache from reading tiny print, and my feet and hands are freezing cold due to poor blood circulation that results from sitting at a desk in a rather awkward position for long periods of time. While such sedentary activities are essential to get a job done, they are simply not healthy. The body is made to move!!!
Recently, as I was pondering a more time efficient method of getting such tasks fulfilled, I began thinking about using a speech recognition/ voice to text software program. I have tried some of these dictation programs in the past, but with very little success, and mostly an incredible amount of frustration. I tried using the speech recognition program that comes with Microsoft Windows, but never really got it to work. After spending quite some time trying to dial it in and fine tune the program, it still would rarely correctly transfer what I was speaking into typed text. Not to mention, I had to talk very unnaturally, like a robot, to get it to work at all. Sometime later, I tried Google’s free version and other similar apps as well, with the same results. They were a little better than the Microsoft version, but not much…at least for me. Not only were these programs very aggravating to try to get to work correctly, but they only added more time and frustration to the projects I was trying to streamline and make more efficient. By the time I got done correcting everything the program messed up, it would have been much faster to simply type it all out in the first place. In fact, the only thing that these programs seemed to capture and translate into text correctly was my cussing fits after seeing how most everything else I dictated was a jumbled mess!
Recently, I once again investigated some options for speech recognition voice to text software. Over the years I heard about the Dragon Naturally Speaking program and thought I’d check it out. I read many reviews from many sources, and they seemed to be rather mixed. Some folks had no issues at all getting the program to work, and others had quite a bit of trouble. My experience has been fantastic! I purchased the home edition, installed it, fired it up, and in very little time, with very little training of the program, I was leisurely walking around the living room, drinking coffee, and looking at the beautiful scenery outside, all the while hands-free typing away on a variety of meticulous projects in the fastest, relaxed, most efficient manner I have ever done.
One of the great features of this program is that the more you use it, the better it gets, as it learns your voice and also gives you the option of customizing the vocabulary any way you want to properly spell and type out specific words in a specific manner…such as names, titles, etc. I finished entering all the metadata on hundreds of photos in an hour or two. Such a task usually would have taken the better part of a day, if not several days. You can bet I’ll be using this program for all sorts of typing applications in the future. In fact, this entire blog post was written with the program, with almost no errors! I can’t recommend this program enough for serious writers/bloggers, photo and media editors, web designers, students, or anyone who has to do a great deal of writing or detailed, time-consuming data entry work.
There are several different versions of Dragon Speaking Naturally that are available: from the Home Edition to the Premium Edition. And, like always it seems, you can find the best prices on Amazon. Click on the photos below to find out more and to order your copy today through our Amazon affiliate service.
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