I would really like to try MacSpeech Dictate for writing my next novel but I worry that my mind, which has been collaborating with my fingers all these years, will reject the idea of working with a new partner, my voice. You see it isn’t a question of whether or not the software will work. I have complete faith that the product will do what it says it will. I even accept the limitations and issues that come with voice recognition software:
- You need to speak clearly
- You need to speak in chunks
- You need to speak punctuation
- It requires the use of a headset so unless you buy a compatible wireless $$$ headset, you are tied to the computer
- It won’t curse unless you teach it to
- It does not make spelling errors (Which means if it replaces your word with what it thinks you said, you may not catch it in editing.)
My concern is that I won’t be able to adapt to this new style of writing.
As Apple provides no speech-to-text capabilities built into Mac OS X, as opposed to Windows which I understand has a basic program built in, there is really no way to test the function myself. I also cannot find any shareware on the market. To the best of my knowledge, MacSpeech does not offer a trial version. This may have to do with the limited number of headsets that will work with the software. At any rate, I emailed MacSpeech several days ago about a try before you buy version and I never heard back. This lack of response may give credence to the few negative reviews I have read about MacSpeech lack of support.
As for price, MacSpeech retails for $199 including headest and $299 with a wireless USB headset plus $8 for shipping. I did find that the Apple store offers an educational discount and free shipping which brings the wired version down to $189 inlcuding tax. This is a still a pretty steep price for something that I’m just not sure will work for me. All I need is another bluetooth device collecting dust and an unused application taking up memory.
So the jury is out and with NaNoWriMo fast approaching it appears I will most likely be typing away come November 1st. My mind will be happy avoiding retraining in the eleventh hour. I just hope my fingers will forgive me for contemplating a job replacement action.