Sarah Ford | May 27, 2014

How Not to Train a Dragon

I like to think that I am a patient man, but sometimes my patience gets pushed to its limit. That is the situation when it comes to using voice recognition software effectively. For years I avoided using it, as it didn’t seem to be as fast or as accurate as typing with the knuckle of the pinky finger on my left hand. My typing has been timed at 15 words per minute but, because it is so slow, I have been able to do my editing as I write and can save time in that manner.

As background, I am quadriplegic so have lost much of my hand function. My fingers don’t open wide in order to use a keyboard in the normal manner, so using voice recognition software, even the rudimentary IBM TrueType that I tried initially, has been recommended to me for several years. TrueType required saying each word separately, which was a very slow process. Not long after I had finally started to use that software periodically, someone introduced me to DragonDictate. I was going to college at the time, as well as writing long reports for my consulting business during the day, so a program that would do the writing for me sounded perfect. Shortly thereafter, I purchased my first DragonDictate program. Then the fun began.
 
In those early days, around 20 years ago, more training was required of voice recognition programs than is needed today. I quickly discovered that I wasn’t good at training, as I would rather simply get on with my work. Thus the dictation that I completed required extensive editing and rewriting, which negated all of the speed of dictation. Out of frustration I set Dragon aside and decided to wait for something better to come along. Until that happened I continued to utilize that overworked pinky finger for writing many articles about disability-related subjects as well as using it at work.

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