back to article iPhone app transforms speech to text

Voice-transcription software has come to the iPhone from the long-time industry leader in speech-to-text software. Dragon Dictation (App Store link) is from Nuance, the developers of the Dragon NaturallySpeaking line of speech-to-text converters for Windows and the supplier of the recognition engine behind MacSpeech Dictate …


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  1. Quxy


    Yawn. I've been using voice search and the voice text input method ever since I got an Android phone.

    1. Lawrence 7
      Thumb Up

      Completely Different set up

      This isnt really about the iPhone. Voice commands are available on many different handsets, Input based voice recognition Is only really possible with server side processing, which is similar to what Google's voice search does, but Nuance a leading here in every sense when it comes to input.

      The Reason why this is free I believe is to improve quality and accuracy before selling a paid version. This will be part of a much bigger strategy for them as they move towards offering ODMs very accurate voice recognition systems that can then be sold as a true feature that actually works.

      Voice recognition is certainly one of the next big frontiers for mobile devices, IMHO, despite the constraints the act of speaking aloud has in public or private.

      Invest in Nuance*

      *If you do and shit hits the fan, dont blame me, and just some Commentard!

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Funny that.

      I've not seen (neither) can I find anything about Android being able to do full *dictation*. Suppose that's what you get for not actually reading the article.

  2. Ebeneser

    Same here

    Nice to see iPhone getting features that have been on Android for some time now. Who knows maybe iPhone will get Google Goggles as well by Summer 2010 :-) Shame iPhone won't be able to perform image recognition and voice-to-text *at the same time*. Maybe Apple will add real multitasking one day to support this.

  3. daveok

    Amazing technology


    If you can set it up so the recipient auto-converts from text to voice, it will be just like a phone.

    1. frank ly

      Too Late

      I believe that Apple have already patented that idea.

  4. h 6

    G Carlin anyone

    The seven words you can't translate on iPhone:

  5. Anonymous Coward

    This'd be great

    but Android did it ages ago, and I'm pretty sure WinMo had it a while back as well. I am glad to see that the iPhone has finally got cut-and-paste, though... Only took what, 3 generations?

    We really should get Apple to release a set of 3D glasses as an Apple world first- they seem to have a knack for coming in late to the party but pulling along a whole lot more friends. Then claiming loudly that it's a party thrown by Apple itself.

  6. Gulfie

    Nice but...

    Not until I can choose to not upload my contact names, or, at least suppress a selected subset of them.

  7. myhandle


    Is using the app without uploading the address book an option? I'm happy to live with the added inaccuracy.

    Not sure if "the price is right" takes this price into account.

  8. Adrian Esdaile

    Bert bert bert...

    Bert khan eat here watt ewe torqued write?

  9. Steve Lupton

    Your request could not be completed.

    The item you've requested is not currently available in the UK Store.

  10. HairyJ

    Not available in the UK store, currently US only

    As per title, not available on the UK store

  11. Simon Pearce 1

    Hello?! We're British!

    App not available in the UK :(

  12. SG76
    Thumb Down

    US only

    I'll gladly add it to my app pile......when it's available outside the US

  13. NightFox

    Something You Forgot to Mention...

    "If that's okay with you AND YOU LIVE IN THE USA, go ahead and add Dragon Dictation to your app pile - the price is certainly right"

    Great, another one of those Apps that the rest of the world have to wait for or do without for reasons I can never fathom.

  14. Rob Kidd

    @ AC "This'd be great.. but"

    Oh, do grow \ shut up.

  15. zxcvbnm

    Too low processor?

    Dragon dictate on a 486 with dos, a good soundcard and microphone could get in the high ninety percent recognition fifteen years ago. Its not much better now really. I don't see why the iphone shouldn't be powerful enough.

    1. markp 1

      this, pretty much

      I was about to post a similar sentiment - it seemed to work fine for my dad on a 133mhz Cyrix yonks ago, and I'd be shocked if an iPhone's ARM was less pokey than THAT bargain basement bit of silicon. PC voice recognition apps were all the rage then, before people got bored of them. Similarly it worked fine for medical dictation on a boggo Dell workstation (probably something like an 800mhz P-III) when I was working for the NHS about 5 years ago, and though that's probably a bit beefier than Apple's baby, it also had a fair bit more going on in the background - all of a domain-based XP install's overhead plus occasional visits from a remote terminal fairy that chucked imaging data at it (needing processing after capture on an aiiiiiincient Sun Sparc).

      It just sounds like some massive excuse to have your speech and the resultant transcription going in and out of their servers for no good reason but a whole load of potentially nefarious ones. Plus add in the fact that it's almost certainly going to be compressed in order to travel through the tubes at anything resembling realtime speed, which needs a fair bit of power in of itself for good quality (on a par with, oh, say a 200~300mhz Pentium MMX) but would still probably compromise the accuracy vs just analysing the PCM original in the phone...?

  16. Col 4

    Now that's what I call reviewing!

    "although accuracy improved when we spoke more clearly than we do in normal conversation."

    Would never have guessed!

  17. Hermes Conran

    Banned in the UK,

    Servers don't have enough processing power for Glaswegian...

  18. Muckydevil


    Nice review... but why do it on a UK website when we can't even get the app!

  19. HansG

    @ Ebeneser

    "Nice to see iPhone getting features that have been on Android for some time now."

    Not exactly, it's third party software, so hardly an iPhone feature that Apple implemented!

  20. Richard Guthrie

    Too labor (sic) intensive for UK? think of all those American misspellings that would have to be corrected manually - No thanks.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Trogdor !

    Hey Strong Bad, Can you draw a dragon? I want to see your skills of an artist.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    US-only for a reason

    The recognizer is probably tuned for American-accented speech, and will be less accurate with British accents. It also only uses American spelling, which some silly people would complain about. I expect they'll produce versions for the UK and other countries after this trial phase.

  23. Graham 25

    hand over your contacts ....

    Apparently (as I cannot check, being in the UK) the Licence agreement permits them to transfer all your contacts to Nuance, who in turn can hand them over to your ISP/carrier. As Nuance are in the US, this is probably why they will have difficulty in getting it on the UK store, under the US terms.

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