MacSpeech Dictate

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MacSpeech Dictate was a speech recognition program developed for Mac OS X by MacSpeech. The first version of MacSpeech Dictate was released in March 2008 after being showcased at the Macworld Conference & Expo in 2008 and winning the Macworld 2008 Best Of Show award. On September 20, 2010, Nuance Communications, which acquired MacSpeech in February 2010, released a new version of the product, renaming it "Dragon Dictate for Mac".

MacSpeech Dictate ran as a Mac-native application. It used the Dragon speech recognition engine (v9 or v10), licensed from Nuance Communications. This is the same technology that powers speech recognition in Dragon NaturallySpeaking for the PC, although across platforms there are significant differences in features, functionality and integration. One major difference with MacSpeech Dictate was that it did not allow training by typing misrecognized words as Dragon NaturallySpeaking products do on Windows. Another notable difference was the lack of a transcription feature for recorded voice dictation, as found in NaturallySpeaking. MacSpeech released a separate product, MacSpeech Scribe, to handle this.

MacSpeech Dictate Medical, a version with specialized vocabularies for doctors and dentists, was released in June 2009.[1] MacSpeech Dictate Legal, with specialized vocabulary for lawyers, was released in July 2009.[2] MacSpeech Dictate International, with support for speech recognition in English, French, German and Italian, was released in September 2009.[3] Localized versions of MacSpeech Dictate are available in German, French and Italian.[4]

MacSpeech Dictate products used the highly successful and very accurate Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech recognition engine from Nuance Communications. In February 2010, MacSpeech Inc. was acquired by Nuance Communications, which continued development of native Mac speech recognition applications under the Dragon brand name.

Version Release Date Changes[5]
1.0 March 2008 Initial Release. Dragon v9 speech recognition engine.
1.0.1 April 2008 Minor bug fixes, improved documentation, easier license key handling, enhanced AppleScript support including the ability to create commands.
1.2 October 2008 Major update, with spelling mode, phrase training, interface enhancements.
1.2.1 November 2008 Maintenance Release.
1.3 February 2009 Major update, with outside document editing, interface enhancements.
1.5 May 2009 Major release, with vocabulary editing, MS Word integration, accuracy enhancements. Dragon v10 speech recognition engine.
1.5.1 May 2009 Maintenance Release.
1.5.2 June 2009 Maintenance Release.
1.5.5 October 2009 Maintenance Release, with improved Snow Leopard support.
1.5.6 November 2009 Maintenance Release.
1.5.7 November 2009 Maintenance Release.
1.5.8 December 2009 Maintenance Release, fixed compatibility with newer iMacs.
1.5.9 June 2010 Minor update, added support for Extended ASCII, volume licensing and GROWL notifications.
2.0 September 2010 Renamed "Dragon Dictate for Mac". Dragon v11 speech recognition engine. Flexible voice commands for editing. Proofreading text-to-speech. Voice shortcuts for web search. MouseGrid. New profile microphone options.

A review/comparison to NaturallySpeaking for Windows[edit]

Reviewing MacSpeech Dictate 1.0 in the New York Times in January 2008, David Pogue concluded:[6]

So Dictate 1.0 is attractive, simple and Mac-like. It is not, however, as good as NaturallySpeaking 9.0 for Windows ($200). It lacks features like audio playback of what you said, a simple “add word” command, legal and medical versions, and non-English language kits.

It also lacks voice correction.

When NatSpeak makes an error, you just say “Correct ‘ax a moron’ ” (or whatever it typed); and choose from a list of alternate transcriptions. The program not only corrects the error in your document, but also learns from its mistake. Over time, the accuracy edges ever closer to 100 percent.

In Dictate 1.0, however, you have to fix transcription errors by hand. The company intends to add voice correction in a 1.1 update; in the meantime, though, your accuracy won’t improve.

The late beta version I tested has some bugs. The company intends to get these fixed by the 1.0 version’s mid-February release.

Even so, Dictate gets the big things — speed and accuracy — right, which may be enough for a lot of people. This program and the new Mac Office fill big holes in the Macintosh landscape — a landscape that’s looking brighter all the time.

Later versions of the software added the features listed as lacking in David Pogue's initial review.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "MacSpeech, Inc. Releases MacSpeech Dictate Medical". 2009-06-18. Archived from the original on 2011-01-01. Retrieved 2010-06-25.
  2. ^ "MacSpeech, Inc. Ships MacSpeech Dictate Legal". 2009-07-01. Archived from the original on 2011-01-01. Retrieved 2010-06-25.
  3. ^ "MacSpeech, Inc. Ships MacSpeech Dictate International". 2009-09-15. Archived from the original on 2010-01-08. Retrieved 2010-06-25.
  4. ^ "MacSpeech Dictate Localized In German, French and Italian". 2009-09-15. Archived from the original on 2010-01-24. Retrieved 2010-06-25.
  5. ^ "Press Releases". MacSpeech. Archived from the original on February 15, 2009. Retrieved January 19, 2009.
  6. ^ New Tools to Bolster Mac’s World Published: January 24, 2008

External links[edit]