Voice Dictation Mac Software For Big Personal Productivity Gains

Voice recognition software for the Mac OS X operating system has been available for quite a few years now, but the performance of the Mac applications has not been as good as the equivalent PC applications until quite recently. A big advance became possible when Apple adopted the Intel chip, and now Mac users are no longer at a relative disadvantage.

The development of voice recognition software for computers was a popular goal that proved to be a big challenge for software suppliers during the 1980s. It took a long time to evolve into efficient and reliable systems that were sufficiently practical to gain a large following of users.

By the late 1990s there were two primary suppliers in this market for the Apple Mac computers. They were IBM with their product ViaVoice, and a small start-up company called MacSpeech with a product called ListenDo! In 2000 IBM produced a Millennium version of ViaVoice and MacSpeech launched iListen, both of which were significant advances in performance that worked well enough to win over a growing market. The two products shared the Mac market around half each.

Meanwhile Windows PC voice recognition software users were presented with a choice between IBM’s ViaVoice and a product produced by Dragon. Dragon Naturally Speaking emerged as a stronger offering and by 2003 IBM announced that it was withdrawing from the voice recognition software market for both the Windows PC and Mac markets.

Dragon Naturally Speaking voice recognition and dictation software came to dominate its sector of the market for the Windows PC. The quality of this software continued to evolve and is now a very usable and practical solution popular with many users.

With the withdrawal of IBM’s ViaVoice software for the Mac, MacSpeech became the primary voice recognition software supplier for the Mac. The quality of the iListen product continued to evolve but could never quite match the speed and accuracy that was being experienced by Dragon users on the PC.

Part of the difficulty that MacSpeech had in matching the performance of the Dragon software was related to the technology differences between the PowerPC chip used on the Mac and the Intel chip used on the PC. When Apple chose to switch to using the Intel chip technology in the Mac, MacSpeech produced, in 2008, a new version of its software called MacSpeech Dictate. This version was able to use similar technology to that employed by Dragon, and closed the gap between the performance of the voice recognition software applications available for the PC and Mac.

Today, Mac users are no longer at a disadvantage compared to PC users when it comes to voice recognition and dictation software. Speech recognition software enables worthwhile productivity gains, and gives access to computers to those who have difficulty using the usual keyboard and mouse devices to input data and commands.

MacSpeech Dictate now comes in versions for 13 different English speaking regions and demographics, and for French, German and Italian languages. There are also specialized technical vocabulary versions in English for the medical and legal professions, which facilitate more accurate dictation using the many very specific technical terms and phrases used in these professions.