Your Mac has voice recognition built-in, but it’s not likely to rival Majel Barrett on Star Trek any time soon. Mac voice recognition is anemic at best. Siri represents voice recognition on the iPhone and it works remarkably well. It’s not on my new iPad, but it’s almost there with Dragon Diction.
Are Mac users simply left out in the cold when it comes to voice recognition? Nope. There’s Dragon Express.
Like Siri But Less Friendly
Siri works well in two areas. Voice recognition for dictation. It takes decent dictation. And voice recognition for interactivity. Siri listens and responds appropriately, providing information, answering questions, performing actions.
Dragon Express does voice recognition for dictation at least as well as Siri. But that’s it. There’s no real personality interacting with you.
You talk. Dragon Express listens, converts your speech to text, enters the text for you. But Dragon Express has promise. There is a built-in method, rather clumsy, to create voice to text that can be routed to specific apps on your Mac. This ain’t Siri.
At first, Dragon Express needs to learn your voice, so there’s a basic enrollment to get started, before you begin dictating. DE resides in your Mac’s Menubar so it’s easy to open and use.
Dragon Express needs to listen to your voice so it can understand how you speak, and translate speech to text accordingly.
Use your Mac’s built-in microphone, or a USB headset (recommended, as it reduces extraneous noise). Open the Dragon Express window and it begins listening for your voice. Dictate a message and DE begins to convert it to text. Then you can assign the text to a Mac app.
While most iPhone users love Siri for voice recognition and interactivity, the Mac world appears evenly divided art to Dragon Express. Nearly half the reviews on the Mac App Store give it four or five stars. The other half give it three stars or less.
If you pine for a Star Trek-like interface for your Mac, you’re not alone. Voice recognition has been around for decades and Siri seems to have provided the most practical uses and decent interactivity.
For straight dictation, Dragon Express is good, but make sure you have a USB headset for better results. For me, being from Atlanta, and a good old boy from the south (and I sound like it), Dragon Express is about 95-percent accurate. Your mileage may vary.