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Windows Vista or NaturallySpeaking speech recognition software can really catapult a freelance writer’s productivity by leaps and bounds. It’s similar to the way that computers improved productivity from writing with pen and paper.

Speech Recognition Software

Think about it for a moment. In the old days, research had to be done at a library or other information repository.  Notes were handwritten on sheets of paper. Today, thanks to the computer, freelance writers have the ability to sit in the comfort of their own home and bring the research to them.  The Internet allows writers to take digital notes.

Advances in Speech Recognition Technology

Similar to digital notes, voice recognition software does wonders for improving productivity. Even the fastest typists have a tough time typing faster than they can speak. Capitalizing on that fact, voice recognition software has made great improvements over the past few years.

If you have a Windows Vista computer, you have the option to use the built-in  Windows Vista speech recognition program. For computers operating on Windows XP or earlier, you have the option to use Dragon Deluxe NaturallySpeaking software created by the folks at Nuance.

In years past, the NaturallySpeaking was pretty much the only game in town for accurate voice recognition software.The Windows Vista speech recognition software, however, has made a few inroads on the NaturallySpeaking market. The fact that the software is bundled with the Vista operating system makes it readily available for folks who wouldn’t have thought about it before.

If you’re a writer trying to decide whether or not to upgrade to Windows Vista or to purchase NaturallySpeaking, here are a few things to consider:Vista vs NaturallySpeaking voice recognition software

Cost for Speech Recognition Software

Windows Vista speech recognition software is included with the Vista operating system.  No need to purchase additional software. Dragon Deluxe retails for anywhere from $99 to $350, depending on the software version (Standard, Preferred, Preferred Mobile or Preferred Wireless).

Software Training and Accuracy

No matter which speech recognition software you decide to use, the software must be trained. Training the Windows Vista speech recognition software is a quick and painless process. NaturallySpeaking, on the other hand, requires quite a bit of upfront training.  The more you train it, the more accurate it becomes.  Actually, the accuracy of both software programs improves the more you use it, but NaturallySpeaking requires more at the beginning.

Voice Commands for Computer Control

Windows Vista does a good job of commanding the computer. You could conceivably operate the computer hands-free using Windows Vista.While NaturallySpeaking does a fine job with dictation, it pales in comparison when it comes to opening/closing programs and scrolling up and down on a web page.

Remote Dictation

With remote dictation, NaturallySpeaking is the winner, hands down. As such, writers who use digital voice recorders can download and later transcribe audio files using NaturallySpeaking. Windows Vista does not offer this feature.

Best of Both Worlds

Writers who already have NaturallySpeaking and later upgrade to the Windows Vista can enjoy and the best of both worlds. The remote dictation capabilities of NaturallySpeaking plus the computer command controls of Windows Vista makes a formidable tool in any freelance writer’s arsenal.

FeliciaFelicia (aka Low Tech Grandma) is a wife, mother, grandmother, freelance writer and low tech blogger.