ViaVoice 3

Testing 123. This is something I’ve been waiting to do for some time. Finally, there is a voice recognition system that I can actually use. ViaVoice 3 is out for Mac OS X, and I intend to write (?) this whole review using ViaVoice 3, and no hands. Before using ViaVoice, the user has to read some passages into a microphone. It can take as little as 15 minutes for ViaVoice to process your voice and personalize the settings for it. However, there are also passages, which improve the results markedly, that take over an hour to read to ViaVoice. ViaVoice isn’t perfect, but it’s the best dictation application I’ve found. If you’re unused to dictation, then it may feel odd. If, however, you regularly use a Dictaphone, then it will be second nature. However, thinking through a whole sentence to the full stop is essential – and surprisingly difficult to do. Another issue with ViaVoice is self-conscientiousness in an open-plan office. This could be British reticence, but it feels bloody awkward. It isn’t just the lazy (such as me) who will enjoy ViaVoice, sufferers of RSI or any other condition that stands in the way of keyboard use will also love it. Speaking simply and clearly gives good results, and much research has ensured that regional accents aren’t a problem. So, whether you’re a Geordie, a Scot or a Cockney, ViaVoice should be able to understand you – better than your average southerner. At first, correcting mistakes is fiddly, but, if you persist, you’ll be rewarded with high accuracy. It’s tempting to correct mistakes by typing, but speaking them is quicker in the long-run. It also gets you used to using ViaVoice for controlling a Mac. There are a number of commands that can be used, such as print, copy-&-paste, plus all the correction commands. One criticism is that Speak Pad, the text application you’re encouraged to use, works very well, but you need to copy-&-paste words into Word if you want to format it properly. You can dictate straight into Word, or any other application, but performance is severely impaired. You also miss out on the correction features of Speak Pad.


By the time I reached the end of this review, I wasn’t using ViaVoice. It isn’t down to its capabilities, but my inability to think to a full stop. I’ll get used to it, but it’ll take practice. For the price, it’s worth trying ViaVoice, as it includes everything you need to dictate directly into a Mac. If you want to try voice-to-text dictation, it has never been cheaper, or better, than now.

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