Jul 28

[This article is now 4 years old. For a review of the latest version of Dragon click here.]

I’ve been waiting for almost 10 years for Dragon Naturally Speaking to arrive on the Macintosh!  And finally it’s here –  Dragon Dictate.


Despite being a long time Apple user user, in 1999 I purchased a PC (yes that’s right!) just to run Dragon Naturally Speaking. I would dictate to the PC and then copy files to my Mac on a thumb drive!
Dragon Naturally Speaking was by far the best voice recognition software – but sadly it was not available for the Apple platform.

Not long after that, IBM releasedViavoice for the Mac. Viavoice wasn’t as good as Dragon Naturally Speaking but it did the job (and meant I could get rid of the PC!)  I used ViaVoice for the next 6 years.

So personally it’s been a 10 year wait  for Dragon Naturally Speaking to arrive on the Macintosh – but finally it’s here! After using Macspeech Dictate since it’s release 2 years ago,  I can say Macspeech Dictate is far and away the best dictation software for the Mac. It is now up to version 2.0 which has been renamed ‘Dragon Dictate’.

‘At the core of MacSpeech Dictate is the world-renowned speech recognition engine, Dragon NaturallySpeaking.’

For those who have been limping along with iListen or Via Voice – you won’t believe the difference! The latest version – Dragon Dictate 2.0 – achieves almost full accuracy with just 5-6 minutes of training.

There are a few (small) weaknesses, the main one being that the correction and editing is not quite as good as with the PC version.  With Dragon Naturally Speaking  if I retrained a word it would never mistake it again.  Not so with Dragon Dictate.  There must be some difference between the way Dragon Naturally Speaking and Macspeech Dictate handle the retraining of words. Dragon Dictate is in my opinion still slightly behind the PC version.

That said,  it’s a fantastic product. I use it every day,  and I’d totally recommend that you try it out if you do a lot of typing or transcription work.  At the very least find a friend who has a copy and give it a trial! That’s what I did and I was hooked.

If you live in the USA it is available directly from Nuance (Macspeech):

Dragon Dictate for Mac 2.0


Click here to go to the Official Dragon site.

There is a ‘download only’ option which is great for international customers but you’ll need to find your own microphone.

Note to Australian Customers: you don’t need to select the ‘international language version’,  just the normal US version comes with Australian and UK speech files.

STOP PRESS:  I’ve made some videos here.

Other posts on Speech recognition:


85 Responses to “Dragon Naturally Speaking arrives on the Macintosh!”

  1. Sam says:

    True, Dictate is a major improvement over iListen but that is because it is a port of the Windows based Dragon Dictate speech technology. Because iListen never really worked as promised, Dictate should have been offered as a free upgrade to all iListen users.

    It seems MacSpeech is getting a great deal of heat over customer service issues, product crashes and defective install disks. One attorney was suggesting a class action suite be considered in the MacWorld forum.

    MacSpeech has an opportunity to finally offer Mac users a speech to text product close to that available to Windows users for the last several years. Lets hope their limited staff and resources don’t cause them to drop the ball.

  2. paul says:

    Given the news stories circulating at the moment concerning the concentration of seriously dangerous bacteria living on our keyboards… business should boom!

    I’m going to disinfect my hands now.

  3. […] this previous review  of MacSpeech Dictate  I mentioned that as good as MacSpeech Dictate was, there were still a few […]

  4. brettbum says:

    Just curious if the updates every came? I’ve been using Dragon on the PC for a couple years now. There’s a long over due update for version 10 coming this week for Dragon (Version 10 of Dragon is the equivalent of MacSpeech Dictate which deubted about 8 months earlier).

    Anyway, there have been complaints from PC users that the updates weren’t fast enough on this one, and I’m curious how it feels in the Mac community…. :)

  5. admin says:

    Yep updates coming every few months.

  6. Dieter says:

    Do you mean there is now a McSpeech Dictate version 1.3 available?
    Is this version available in German language, for use on Mac OSX, version 10.5.5?

  7. mary says:

    I am working on a book and interview many people for an hour each. I am a Mac user and do not want to buy a pc just for a good solid speech recognition software.

    It has been a while since this post was created – a year and some change. What program do you suggest I purchase and why.

    Is the Dragon speak on PC that much better than anything I can get on a mac. I don’t want to spend many hours tweaking text. Thanks M

    • admin says:

      Macspeech dictate is very good, but it won’t recognise their speech, only yours. It needs to be trained to the voice it is recognising, and requires you to speak clearly. I think it’s as good as the PC version now in terms of accuracy.

  8. dennis says:

    does anyone know if dictate will transcribe prerecorded files like dragon does?

  9. Anne J Robinson says:

    +1 for dennis’ question.

    Curiosity is burning a hole in my brain on this one, and it doesn’t say anywhere on the MacSpeech site that it handles pre-recorded interviews.

    I have a thick stack of reels to transcribe, and I would FAR prefer training a robot to handle the transcription than I would training (and paying) a bubblegum popping employee.

    $200 one-time up front is a far better value equation to me than a recurring bill for $25.00/audio hour * hundreds of hours of audio hours.

    Keep me posted, Gents and ladies!

  10. admin says:

    There is no ability to open an audio file and have macspeech dictate recognise it.

    You can’t open a file off your portable recorder and have Mac speech dictate transcribe it like what would happen with Dragon NaturallySpeaking on the PC.

    The only way that I can see around this would be to play an audio file from your Mac and then feed it back into the input of Mac speech dictate, perhaps with some software like sound flower, or the old-fashioned way with an audio lead connected from your mac’s sound out to the sound in connector.

    But keep in mind that the audio quality has to be very good and it have to be speaking straight into the microphone, and it certainly would not be able to do two voices like in an interview.

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