iListen 1.7

iListen 1.7

iListen is vastly improved, but that doesn't redeem its clunky Corrections window.

 

Thanks to MacSpeech's relentless pursuit of voice-recognition mastery and its iListen dictation package, you can talk to your Mac to create written works - and with commendable accuracy.

 

The package includes the iListen software and a USB headset mic - the version we reviewed comes with the Pro Xpress mic. Training is key. You first read some provided text so iListen can create your voice profile. You'll also need to train yourself to speak clearly and consistently, and to vocalize punctuation. If you select Speech > Learn My Writing Style and specify some previously written documents on your Mac, iListen analyzes them to learn your vocabulary and writing style.

 

You can also educate iListen as you use it, via the Corrections window, which happens to be its weakest feature. The app keeps track of your entire dictation session, so it can help you tidy up the text before committing it to your document, but our 1.8GHz Power Mac G5 with 2GB of RAM regularly hung for 10 to 30 seconds on the test paragraph in the screenshot (and we have no idea where the text in the "I heard" field came from). You can also dump the session directly into TextEdit, Word, or wherever for cleanup.

 

iListen is smart enough to transcribe your speech into any text-capable application, and even to receive other commands that you typically input with the mouse. Just say, "Switch to command mode," and speak commands like Select All, Cut, Close Window, and Save. Only basic commands are included for MouseAnywhere, iDVD, iMovie, iPhoto, iTunes, and GarageBand.

 

The bottom line. iListen works well, but only if you use a MacSpeech-certified mic and properly train the software - which seems like a lot of work for a labor-saving device. But for certain users, smooth, accurate transcription is worth the investment in training time.

 

COMPANY: MacSpeech
CONTACT: www.macspeech.com
PRICE: $179 with Pro Xpress USB headset microphone
REQUIREMENTS: G4 or later or Intel processor, Mac OS 10.3.9 or later, 512MB RAM, MacSpeech-certified USB microphone (included)
Near-perfect accuracy when used properly. Quick learner. Includes mic. Universal binary.
Lacks accuracy with built-in Mac mics. Corrections window can be annoying.

 

 

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Tempchin

I don't believe you. No one can really get any use out of this program. It is nothing but frustration.

YOU, THE REVIEWER, HAVE NEVER TRIED TO USE THIS PROGRAM FOR ANYTHING.

I DON'T SEE WHY ALL REVIEWS DON'T CALL THIS PROGRAM WHAT IT REALLY IS, VAPORWARE THAT DOES NOT WORK.

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Anonymous

Why not offer a demo download? This is a troublesome area that has historically promised more than can be delivered. A download says this company has confidence in it;s product. If it works, the full version will be purchased in droves!!!!!

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Stephen Chakwin

No demo would make sense unless you have the right mike. The product comes with a mike or you can use your own if it's the right kind - not the built-in.

It is a troublesome area. I assume there is some sort of money-back guarantee with a trial period.

If you have a lot of motivation (e.g., you need to use a computer for word processing and have severe carpal tunnel or the like), this kind of product can be a lifesaver. I know people who've used Dragon in Windows quite successfully. But it's a lot of work to get used to it. At first it won't be any faster than ordinary keying words in and the correction process will be a nuisance.

I use Windows at the office and have Dragon and don't use it a lot. I keep flirting with the idea of iListen, but won't take the leap unless I'm sure I want to invest the time and effort to use it well.

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