Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Typing: the Follow-up

In a previous post, I talked about using Dragon text to speech software.  After using it, I have to update my recommendation.

I used the software to transcribe the second half of Secrets of the Sages.  At first, I thought it was great.  Then, it wasn’t so great.  Let me explain.

Secrets is epic fantasy, which means we authors tend to use strange names.  I taught Dragon names like Baldur, Colvin, Goscislaw, Alvar, and Hatcher.  Half the time, it would not type those names when I said them.  I found that frustrating.  There was no explanation for why Dragon stopped transcribing.  I resigned myself to typing the ancient tongue and ancient Fairy languages.

In general, it messed up a lot.  I would have to talk it into corrections.  Those didn’t go so smoothly either.  The command, “Go to End,” became “Good and.”  I always had to say, “Cap Hope” when I wrote about Berty’s niece, Hope.  But that was because I used a regular word as a name.  However, it would automatically capitalize brown and a few other regular words when I didn’t want it to.

Then, there were the mispronunciations.  I said, “Being.”  It wrote, “Been.”  I’d say, “Where.”  It would type, “Were.”  And so on and so forth.  I was born and raised in the North Eastern United States.  My accent is … well … relatively nonexistent.  But even if you spoke to me and thought I had an accent, the word, “been” is pronounced “Ben.”  “Where” could be mistaken for “wear” or “ware” and “were” sounds like “her.”

After that debacle, I found that it wouldn’t always type the beginnings of a sentence.  The omissions became so bad, that I needed to consult my original handwritten manuscript to know what it was supposed to say.

Dragon didn’t learn.  It would open other programs instead of typing what I was reading on the page.  Sure, the words or something that resembled words appeared on the page more quickly than typing, but editing took much longer.

When I type, my typos usually consist of “tot he” for “to the” or I have a tendency to leave off letters such as “the” instead of “they.”  Et cetera, et cetera.  Dragon took editing for typos to a new level.  Entire words changed or were absent.  Capitalization was screwy.  And don’t get me started on punctuation.

I found myself screaming into the microphone.  Dragon became more trouble than it was worth.  All the time it “saved” was lost during editing.  My subsequent books are being typed the old-fashioned way.  The concept behind Dragon sounds fantastic.  My experience with the software scrapes bottom.

My opinion:  Until Dragon fixes its issues, steer clear.