Nuance Dragon Pro

One of the things I do in real life is record content for e-learning lessons. It’s a good living. One of the pitfalls however, is that when you go to record something that you previously recorded, you have to listen to it again. Or you just dive right in, re-record it, and let it go.

Problem with that is, over time you start missing things that were important. So what I’ve had to do is either listen to these recordings and write down the key points, or transcribe them. Both of which are a colossal pain in the ass.

Enter the Dragon. Specifically Nuance Dragon Pro. I originally bought this package to transcribe old recordings. It used to be hit or miss, but now as it’s learned, and it’s been pretty accurate.
I’m used to recording things on the fly. I know the product really well, and if you ask me to explain stuff I can riff on for 10 minutes. But ask me what I said about it a year later, and forget. I can start all over but I can’t tell you what I said. So my thought was to transcribe these recordings, update them, and then rerecord them for the updates.

This turns out to work really well. And Dragon is especially good at untangling what I said in a .wav file and putting it into text. My first impression when reading my first transcription was; Holy shit that makes no sense! Not Dragon’s transcription, but what I actually said.

What made it even funnier is I often get lauded on how natural and informative my tutorials are. When you look at those in text they don’t make much sense. Hell, look at any transcription of what Joe Biden said recently and you’ll see his ramblings are nonsensical. Mine aren’t as bad, but aren’t what I’d like them to be.

So what I do is I transcribe things, correct the grammar and train of thought, and then reread him. I don’t read them verbatim, but I do use a general sense of grammar and tense. This works really well.

It wasn’t until fairly recently that I started to use this tool more and more not only transcription, but more as an initial tool to write down my thoughts. Matter fact I’m using it as I craft this post.

I found that it’s often easier, rather than to do a recording, or transcribe an existing recording, to just simply say what I’m going to say, have Dragon transcribe it as I say it,  and then fix it and record it properly the first time.

I originally thought that this is just a luxury, a toy. But it turns out to be a really, really useful tool. Especially when it comes to writing this blog because what happens is I tend to mutter to myself as I’m walking the dogs and this is never captured. So I to remember what I was saying and then type it sometimes days later.

This way I rant into my headset, look it over, fix it, and then paste it in and publish it.

Or, I record my rant fixing it as I go along. And then look at it some days later to edit it and decide whether or not I want to publish it. It’s taken a lot of work off my table and made it very easy for me to not only do my job, my real job, but also post on this blog.

Here’s the deal, it’s not even that expensive. I think I paid 99 bucks for this. I will say one thing, My super cool X1 carbon corporate laptop isn’t allowed to have it. Corporate IT rules, after all, must be respected. So I’m running it on an i5 tower I’ve been using since 2010. Granted, it’s got 32 gig of RAM, but it still suffers a bit. I’m about to kick up a fuss and make them allow me to reinstall it on my corporate laptop. So it can be resource hungry if you are running it on a geezing machine.

Even in the corporate world it’s kind of handy though. Instead of trying to craft an email, I can do the same thing. Reply to the email as I would if somebody had asked me the question, then go back and pretty it up for corporate consumption. Works really good on chats too. Because I don’t have to stop what I’m doing and type of response I can simply just say it off-the-cuff, and then say send.
All in all a pretty cool tool worth the money, at least to me.