Voice Dictation – Finally Ready For Primetime

headset microphoneIs voice dictation finally ready to be a viable alternative to typing? When I first used Dragon Dictation several years ago, I was impressed, but thought that it wasn’t quite ready for primetime. Whether because of limitations of the software, my own mistakes, or because of limitations of the hardware, Dragon made just enough errors to really slow me down.

Fast-forward to today. When voice dictation came to the iPad (that little microphone on the iPad keyboard if you have an Internet connection), I didn’t notice at first. One day, though, I gave it a try, and was amazed by the accuracy. When dictation arrived on the Mac, I started dictating much of my text there, too. I’m now using the new version of Dragon on my work PC, and using dictation on my iPhone, which means that dictation is my primary form of text entry on all platforms.

I should note that I’m not dictating anything complex. At work, I still use a secretary for letters. For emails, case notes, and other routine tasks, I’m about 100% dictation. I do need to make sure I’m not too conversational in my dictation, but otherwise my output is indistinquishable from my typed work. It just gets done faster.

Do you do much dictation? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments.

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Evan Kline

Hello, I'm Evan. I write about tech from my perspective – that of the average 40-something tech geek. You can also find me on Twitter and at my real-life job as a lawyer.    MORE ABOUT ME.


  1. Your comment “note that I’m not dictating anything complex. At work, I still use a secretary for letters.” I found very interesting. My wife is a medical transcriptionist so we have been watching this very closely. With the hard push to go to electronic medical records, many EMR companies are pushing voice recognition technology. Many doctors may try it for a month or so, only to figure out it is just NOT ready for Primetime.

    • For me, my reluctance to use of it for complex things doesn’t really have anything to do with accuracy, but with formatting and post-processing. I don’t want to have to format the address and return address, and then print out the letter.

      I too have know medical practices that tried it, and then abandoned it, so my statement might be a bit broad – it isn’t ideal for all situations. (Although I don’t know any practices that have tried it recently).

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