The MacSpeech Dictate Debate

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:

  1. You need to speak clearly
  2. You need to speak in chunks
  3. You need to speak punctuation
  4. It requires the use of a headset so unless you buy a compatible wireless $$$ headset, you are tied to the computer
  5. It won’t curse unless you teach it to
  6. 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.

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About Susan Warren Utley

Susan Warren Utley is a wife and mother living and writing in the shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Her stories are inspired by the unexpected twists and turns of real life and by her muse, a feisty Jack Russell Terrier who occasionally answers to the name of Lucy. View all posts by Susan Warren Utley

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