The Best Dictation Software for Writers and Professionals
If you’re a writer, chances are you’ve considered using dictation software to help you get your thoughts down on paper.
After all, it can be tough to stay focused when you’re staring at a blank screen. And who hasn’t been interrupted by a phone call or other distractions while trying to write?
Dictation software can solve all of these problems by allowing you to transcribe your thoughts directly into a word processing program using just your voice.
But which dictation software is the best? Let’s take a look.
Dictation software testing methodology
We wanted to be as fair as possible in our testing, so we used the same script for all of the dictation software we tried.
The script had a decent mix of words, proper nouns, and punctuation, which we thought would give each program a good chance to shine.
We also used the same microphone for all of the tests, and we tried to speak at the same rate. In the end, we were able to get a good sense of how each program performed.
Just for fun, here’s the script. I used Jasper.ai’s creative story feature to come up with this:
“Hi there!” called Jack and Jill as they went up the hill. “What are you doing?”
The farmer looked up from his work. “Exorcising a spirit,” he said.
“Wow!” said Jill. “Can we watch?”
The farmer nodded and continued his work. The two children watched in fascination as the spirit left the body of the farmer’s daughter. They were so fascinated that they didn’t even notice when the pail of water spilled on them, drenching them to the bone.
“That was amazing!” said Jack. “Can we learn how to do that?”
The farmer smiled. “Of course you can. It just takes a lot of practice.”
So the two went home and started practicing their exorcism skills. They quickly became very good at it and helped many people in their town.
The Best Dictation Software Options
1. Windows Speech Recognition
Window 11’s speech recognition is a decent tool that can increase your productivity by allowing you to dictate text instead of typing it out. The best part is that it comes built into Windows 11, so there’s no need to download or install any additional software.
To enable speech recognition, simply press the Windows key + H on your keyboard. Once activated, the speech recognition feature will say “listening” to indicate that it’s awaiting your dictation.
It will then type out the dictated text from wherever your cursor is currently positioned. With a little practice, you’ll be able to use this tool quickly and efficiently to create documents, write emails, or even compose blog posts.
You can also use voice commands to perform certain actions during the dictation. Examples are:
- New line
- New paragraph
- Exclamation mark
You can see the full list of commands here.
Windows speech recognition is built into Windows 11 and is free to use.
As you can see from the image, the first attempt was quite miserable
Chinese Simplified, English, French, German, Italian (Italy), Portuguese (Brazil), and Spanish.
Windows 11 Speech Recognition is a great tool for those who want to increase their productivity. It is simple to set up and use, and it can be used to dictate text or control your computer. The accuracy is subpar, though.
2. Apple Speech Recognition
Apple dictation is a feature that allows you to use your voice to input text on your Mac or iOS device.
You can enable dictation on your Mac by going to System Preferences > Keyboard > Dictation, and on your iOS device by tapping the microphone key on the keyboard.
By default, dictation will take 30 seconds of input and can only work with an internet connection, but you can extend this by enabling “Advanced Dictation” in OS X 10.9 and above, and iPhone 6S and newer.
Advanced Dictation allows you to dictate offline by downloading the necessary speech files ahead of time. There are also a number of default voice commands that you can use to control your computer or phone, and you can create custom voice commands for even more control.
So whether you’re typing an email or surfing the web, dictation can help you get things done faster and more efficiently.
Dictation is built-in to Apple devices for free.
Accuracy was much better than Windows speech recognition. There were far fewer mistakes, and the mistakes that did come up were in fairly tricky words.
Arabic, Catalan, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese.
If you’re an Apple user, you’ve got a really accurate Siri-powered dictation engine at your hands. And that can be a huge time-saver when you’re trying to get something down in a hurry.
Whether you’re dictating a quick note or a longer document, Siri can handle it with ease. So next time you need to jot something down, give Apple dictation a try – you might be surprised at just how accurate it is.
3. Nuance Dragon Anywhere Mobile
Dragon Dictation is one of the most popular dictation software platforms on the market today.
What sets it apart from other similar products is its ability to handle industry-specific vocabulary and its availability on mobile devices.
You can also train the software to recognize certain words and create shortcuts so you don’t have to type out repeating text like addresses.
One of the best things about Dragon Dictation is that its accuracy gets better as you use it more.
So, if you’re looking for dictation software that will save you time and improve your productivity, Dragon Dictation is definitely worth considering.
- $15/month for Dragon Anywhere mobile, or $150/year
- $500 one-time for Dragon Professional Individual or Dragon Legal Individual(both Windows-only)
Dragon Anywhere was one of the most accurate tools I tested. It only made three mistakes out of the whole story.
Dragon Anywhere is available in English and German.
Dragon dictation is a great way to quickly and efficiently produce a lot of written text and is great to use in a professional setting.
You can simply speak into your microphone and the software will transcribe your words into text. This can be a great time saver if you have to produce a lot of written material in a short amount of time.
Additionally, the software is quite accurate, so you won’t have to worry about making too many corrections. Overall, dragon dictation is a great choice if you need to produce a lot of written text quickly and efficiently.
4. Gboard for Android and iOS
Gboard is a great keyboard app for people who want to be able to type quickly and accurately. The app is available for both Android and iOS devices, and it captures text nearly as fast as you talk.
To enable it, tap the microphone icon in the Gboard keyboard.
It’s also very accurate, so you won’t have to worry about making mistakes. One downside is that Gboard will turn off after 10 seconds, so you’ll have to press the button again if you’re gathering your thoughts.
Overall, Gboard is a great option for anyone who wants a fast and accurate voice typing solution.
Gboard is built in to Android devices and is free to download on iOS devices
Accuracy was OK at best.
Afrikaans, Arabic, Azerbaijani, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hausa, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Macedonian, Malay, Maltese, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, Welsh, Zulu
There’s no denying that gboard is a great tool for taking short notes and writing out emails and messages. However, writers may find the auto-off after 10 seconds irritating because it’ll keep shutting off as they are gathering their thoughts.
This can be frustrating, especially if you’re in the middle of a train of thought and have to keep starting over.
5. Google Docs Voice Typing
Voice typing is a great way to quickly transcribe your thoughts into a Google Doc. And the best part is, Google Docs Voice Typing is really easy to use! All you need is a microphone and the Chrome web browser.
To start, simply go to Tools > Voice Typing and click the microphone icon. Then start speaking and your words will appear in the document in real time.
You can even use voice typing for presentations by adding speakers notes. So next time you need to type something out in a hurry, give voice typing a try!
Accuracy was OK at best. Could be better, but still better than Windows!
Afrikaans, Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Bahasa Indonesia, Basque, Bengali, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Farsi, Filipino, Finnish, French, Galician, Georgian, German, Greek, Gujarati, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Javanese, Kannada, Khmer, Korean, Laotian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malayalam, Malaysian, Marathi, Nepali, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Serbian, Sinhala, Spanish, Spanish, Sundanese, Swahili, Swedish, Tamil, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese, Zulu.
Voice typing is a great way to speed up your workflow if you use Google docs a lot. You can simply dictate your documents instead of having to type them out, which can save you a lot of time. The best thing about voice typing is that it is very accurate. You can also use voice commands to format your document, which can save you even more time.
Have you ever been in a meeting where you were trying to take notes, but you couldn’t keep up with the conversation?
Or maybe you’ve been in a class and you want to be able to review your notes later, but you don’t want to spend hours transcribing them by hand. If so, Otter.ai may be just what you need. Otter.ai is a app designed to transcribe meetings in real-time.
It works with Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams, so you can use it no matter what platform you’re using for your meeting or class.
And the best part is that the app gets better over time because it uses AI to learn and improve as it listens. So if you’re looking for a way to take better notes, or just save some time, Otter.ai is worth checking out.
The free version does not have the meeting app integrations and lets you transcribe for 600 minutes per month.
Other plans include 6000 minutes and start at $8/month for Pro and $20/month for every user for Business.
Otter.ai was surprisingly accurate, making very few mistakes.
If you attend or conduct a lot of online meetings and want an easy way to transcribe what was said for the record, Otter.ai works great and is the tool for you.
Why Use Dictation or Speech Recognition Software?
1. Dictation software can help you capture ideas quickly before they’re gone forever
Ever have a great idea for a blog post or article, but by the time you sit down to write, you can’t remember what it was? That’s where dictation software comes in handy.
You can speak your ideas into your device, which will transcribe your spoken words into text in real-time. This way, you’ll never lose another great idea to the ether.
2. Dictation software can help you write faster.
The average person types only about 40 words per minute? If you’re a fast typist, you might be able to eke out 60 or even 70 words per minute.
But that’s still not very fast.
In contrast, the average person speaks at a rate of about 150 words per minute. So why not harness the power of speech and usedictation software to write better and faster?
3. Dictation software can help eliminate distractions
When you’re sitting at your desk trying to write, it’s easy to get distracted by things around you—social media notifications, email pings, the pile of laundry in the corner of your room, etc.
But when you’re dictating your thoughts into a recorder or your computer, all of those distractions disappear. You can focus solely on what you’re saying and capturing your thoughts clearly without any outside interference.
4. Voice recognition technology can help eliminate writer’s block
One of the biggest benefits of dictation software is that it can help break through periods of writer’s block.
When you don’t know what to say or how to start a piece, speaking your thoughts aloud can jumpstart the writing process and give you the boost you need to get going again.
5. Dictation software can help improve the quality of your writing.
When you dictate your thoughts instead of typing them out, you’re more likely to use proper grammar and sentence structure because you’re speaking like you would in conversation instead of thinking about each individual word as you type it out.
This can lead to more natural-sounding writing that flows better and is easier to read—a win-win for both writers and readers alike!
What’s the difference between dictation & Transcription?
Dictation software is designed to convert your spoken words into text. It’s useful for writers who want to capture their ideas quickly without pausing to type them out. Dictation software can also be used to transcribe interviews or speeches.
There are a few things to keep in mind when using dictation software. First, it’s important to speak clearly and at a reasonable pace.
The software won’t be able to understand you if you’re mumbling or speaking too quickly. Second, dictation software isn’t perfect. It may make some mistakes that you’ll need to go back and correct later.
That being said, dictation software can be a great way to capture your thoughts quickly and efficiently. If you’re someone who likes to speak your ideas out loud, it may be the perfect solution for you.
2. Transcription Services
Many businesses rely on transcription services to convert audio files into written documents. This can be useful for creating meeting minutes, recording customer service calls, or transcribing interviews.
Transcription services can be provided by a human transcriber or by specialized software. Human transcribers are more expensive but can usually provide more accurate results. Software transcribers are less expensive but may introduce errors into the transcript.
In some cases, businesses may use a combination of both human and software transcription services. When choosing a transcription service, it is important to consider accuracy, turnaround time, and cost.
You should also keep in mind that some transcription services may require special formatting or file types.
Do You Need Any Special Recording Equipment?
No, you don’t need any special equipment to use dictation software—just a computer with a microphone and an internet connection.
Most dictation software programs will work with any type of microphone, although some may work better with certain types than others.
If you’re not sure which dictation software program is right for you, check out our list of the best dictation software for writers.
Of course, having a good mic doesn’t hurt, and can actually make a big difference in the quality of your dictation.
So, if you’re looking for a top-of-the-line solution, you may want to consider buying a dedicated microphone for use with your dictation software.
The Best Transcription Services
Temi is an automated transcription service that offers clear, easy-to-read transcripts with timestamps and speaker labels.
Their online editing tool makes it easy to upload an audio file, clean up your transcripts, and you can listen to your audio alongside the transcript. You can also adjust the playback speed, which is very useful if you’re a fast talker.
Temi’s mobile app makes it easy to work on the go. Their turnaround time is only a few minutes, and they charge $.25 per audio minute.
Rev is a great option for transcribing audio files. They offer both automated and human transcription, and they have a variety of turnaround times to choose from.
Automated transcription is cheaper and faster, but it’s not always accurate. If you have a file with a lot of background noise or if you have a strong accent, human transcription is a better option. It’s more expensive, but Rev guarantees 99% accuracy.
Tips for using voice recognition software
Tip 1: make sure you have a strong internet connection
Voice dictation software uses speech recognition, which means it relies on an internet connection to work.
If you’re using dictation software to write a paper or email, make sure you have a strong internet connection so that the software can consistenly transcribe what you’re saying.
Tip 2: speak clearly and at a consistent volume
If you’re mumbling or speaking too softly, the dictation software won’t be able to understand you.
Conversely, if you’re speaking too loudly or background noise is interfering, the dictation software will also have trouble understanding you.
Speak at a normal volume and try to enunciate your words clearly for the best results with voice typing.
Tip 3: take breaks often
If you’re voice typing for more than 30 minutes at a time, take a break every 10 minutes or so to avoid fatigue.
Not only will this help you avoid sounding like you’re rambling, but it will also help the dictation software transcribe your words more accurately.
Tip 4: Speak Naturally (with caveats)
One of the best things about dictation software is that it allows you to speak naturally without having to worry about grammar or punctuation.
First and foremost, enunciate your words clearly. Oftentimes, when we speak quickly, our words can run together, making it difficult for the software to understand what we’re saying.
Additionally, try to avoid speaking in long run-on sentences. It’s best to keep your thoughts concise and focus on one idea at a time.
Tip 5: Punctuate
In addition to enunciating your words clearly, you’ll also want to make sure you punctuate as you dictation. This may seem like an obvious tip, but it’s important nonetheless.
Remember, when you’re speaking, the software isn’t able to tell when you’re taking a breath or Pausing for emphasis—it will just transcribe whatever words you dictate verbatim.
As such, it’s up to you as the writer to add in any necessary punctuation marks so that your text makes sense and flows smoothly.
Tip 6: Learn a few commands
Most dictation software comes with a set of built-in commands that allow you to perform various actions, such as inserting punctuation marks or starting a new paragraph.
Learning these commands can help you save time while dictating by allowing you to insert punctuation marks or start new paragraphs without having to reach for the keyboard every time.
To find out what commands are available in your particular dictation software, consult its documentation or do a quick internet search.
Tip 7: Know your limits
It’s important to know that dictation software isn’t perfect—it will make mistakes from time to time (albeit very rare).
As such, it’s important not to rely too heavily on dictation software if accuracy is paramount.
Additionally, grammar checkers can only do so much—at the end of the day, it’s still up to you as the writer to proofread your text and catch any errors that may have been missed by the grammar checker.
Tip 8: Practice
Like with anything else, practice makes perfect when it comes dictatorship was transcription quality will undoubtedly improve the more you use it.
So don’t be afraid to practice using your dictatorships ounces day-to-day tasks such as replying to emails or taking notes during meetings—the more practice you get, the better results you’ll see in terms of both accuracy and speed.
Best microphones for dictation
If you’re looking for a good microphone for dictation, there are a few things to consider. Firstly, any computer mic will do the job.
However, for better results, you may want to use a regular pair of mobile phone headphones. This will help to reduce background noise and make your voice clearer.
For best results, though, you may want to invest in a podcast mic. These mics are designed specifically for recording and usually offer superior sound quality. Whichever option you choose, make sure to test it out before you start dictating!
Criteria to Choose the Best Dictation Software
There are a few different factors you need to consider when choosing dictation software. The first is accuracy. How accurate do you need the software to be? If you’re just using it for general transcription, then you can probably get away with a lower level of accuracy.
However, if you’re using it for medical or legal transcription, then you’ll need something that’s much more accurate.
The second factor is price. Dictation software ranges in price. Obviously, the more expensive options will be more accurate, but they may also have more features than you actually need. It’s important to decide how much you’re willing and able to spend before you start looking at different options.
The third factor is spoken commands. Some dictation software includes voice commands that allow you to control the software with your voice.
This can be handy if you’re transcribing a long document and don’t want to have to keep stopping to type in corrections. However, not all voice command systems are created equal.
Some are more accurate than others, and some only work with certain dialects of English. If this is something that’s important to you, be sure to do your research before making a purchase.
Pros of Dictation(Voice to Text) Software
- Voice-to-text software can help you get your thoughts down on paper more quickly than if you were typing them out yourself.
- Voice-to-text software can help you transcribe interviews and other meetings more accurately than if you were taking notes by hand.
Cons of Dictation(Voice to Text) Software
- It can be less accurate than typing out your thoughts yourself—which means that it’s important to proofread your work carefully before hitting “publish.” This can sometimes result in more time spent proofreading the content than actually sitting and writing/typing it out!
- Additionally, voice-to-text software can be pricey—although many programs offer free trial periods so that you can try them before you buy.
What is speech-to-text software?
Voice to text software is a type of speech recognition technology that converts spoken words into written text.
It can be used for a variety of purposes, such as transcribing lectures or meetings, taking notes, and writing essays or emails.
Voice to text software typically uses a combination of deep learning technology and artificial intelligence to accurately recognize the spoken word.
The technology is constantly improving, and recent advancements have made it more accurate and efficient than ever before.
How to best use dictation software?
There are a few things to keep in mind to get the most out of dictation software. First, make sure to proofread your transcriptions for accuracy.
While most dictation software is quite accurate, it can sometimes mishear words or phrases. Secondly,dictate at a moderate pace. If you speak too slowly, the software may have difficulty understanding you.
If you speak too quickly, it may not be able to keep up with you.
Finally, keep your environment in mind. Background noise can interfere with the software’s ability to accurately transcribe your speech.
By following these tips, you can make dictation software a valuable tool for increasing your productivity.
What is the best free voice-to-text software?
The best free voice-to-text software is built in to your Android and iOS phone! Just go to the keyboard in any app, hit the little microphone button, and start speaking.
Can I dictate to MS Word?
To start dictating, open MS Word and go to the “Home” tab. Then click on “Dictation.” Now you can start speaking. MS Word will transcribe your words into text.
If you’re looking for a way to capture your thoughts more quickly or transcribe interviews and other meetings more accurately, dictation software may be the right tool for you.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that voice-to-text software isn’t perfect—which means that it’s important to proofread your work carefully before hitting “publish.”
Or you can just run it through Hemingway and Grammarly 🙂
Additionally, dictation software can be pricey—although many programs offer free trial periods so that you can try before you buy.