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Speech Recognition for Bloggers – The Ultimate Guide

Posted By Darren Rowse 21st of November 2009 Blogging Tools and Services 0 Comments

Speech recognition technology has come a long way in the last few years – in this in depth, informative and inspiring video which Jon Morrow (Associate Editor of Copyblogger and Co-founder of Partnering Profits) shares his first hand insights into speech recognition for bloggers.

Jon does all of his blogging via speech recognition so he seemed like the logical guy to ask to cover the topic – in the video (I’m glad he agreed). In the video Jon makes recommendations of software, hardware (the hardware is key) and even demonstrates how he uses them in his everyday blogging.

The video itself is also a great illustration of using video to communicate.

Speech Recognition for Bloggers — The Ultimate Guide from Jon Morrow on Vimeo.

Recommended in the video by Jon are a number of technologies including:

Bookmark this video today as it’ll be something you want to come back to again.

Jon Morrow is Associate Editor of Copyblogger and Cofounder of Partnering Profits. Get more from Jon on twitter.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Jon, thanks! Awesome and informative video. It is great to know there are associates in this business who are so willing to share their knowledge. Tip of the hat to you my good man!

    Now, which software would you recommend for video editing? Eagerly awaiting your answer, Jon.

    God bless you!

    Danny Ethridge
    Internet Marketing Toolman

  2. I’ve been reading Jon on Copyblogger and learning from him inside Teaching Sells and had absolutely no idea he was doing it all by speech software. Amazing.

  3. Jon thank you so much, I bought this software for my wife last Christmas, she is a teacher and a writer, she is not only a one finger typer, but she is deaf in one ear and blind in one eye, with no depth perception… she struggles on the computer, and I thought this software could help… well she opened it thought it was a great idea, and it sat on the shelf… I watch your video, went to best buy and bought a external sound card, and fooled around for 30 minutes… the program is amazing… I have shown her what it can do and she is excited to get started….

    She loves to write and hates to type so because of you she will be able to do both…. thank you for an excellent video my God bless your life richly for being so genouros with your time and knowledge….

    PS I tried the software before and thought it sucked… it wasnt the software but my hardware that was the issue…. again thank you thank you thank you….

    thank you from a happy husband….

  4. adam computes says: 11/23/2009 at 8:25 pm

    Don’t forget about tazti speech recognition. It’s a FREE download from http://www.tazti.com. It’s remarkable.

  5. This sounds great. Love your video and informative, practical advice. Now I just need a sound-proofed room so I don’t drive my husband nuts:)

  6. Hi Jon,

    I thought you did a wonderful job showing how much more dragon naturally speaking can offer others. I really like the part about how emicrophone and knowbrainer web sites can improve the way dragon behaves.
    I am still pretty new at dragon so I am always learning something new. I hope you make another video like this for the future, so others can learn and experience dragon naturally speaking the way it should be.
    Well thanks for all your help and info….you take care now.

  7. I just can’t see it ever getting that big, its a shame really

  8. Jon, Well, that’s great because I have no time for video games anyway, with all this blogging I do!

    Thanks all.

  9. I knew about these programs, but never really thought about how useful they would be for blogging. Great post. I’m going to look into this for article marketing too.

  10. Man It’s crazy how technology advances everyday.. I just hope man grabs a hold of it before anything goes absolutely wrong.

  11. Great information . I think that after some day this technology make blogging more interesting.

  12. So what is the difference between using a mic + sound pod vs. a USB headset? I had a mic + pod setup years ago, but have used USB mics exclusively for the past 5-6 years since I switched to an iMac from Windows and the quality sounds excellent to me. Is there really an advantage to using a mic and sound pod? I didn’t think those sound pods were even needed anymore with the number of quality USB mics available.

  13. Thanks so much for sharing, Jon. I actually have an old version of Naturally Speaking. I heard so many bad things that it didn’t work, that I didn’t even bother with it.
    Besides, this is so inspiring. I am so happy for you.:)
    I’ll get back to you with questions once I find the software lying in some dust bin!

  14. Excellent! I’ve used Dragon 9 in the past but abandoned it because I had challenges with accuracy. Thanks, Jon for kicking me in the pants to get Dragon 10. And I’ll thank you again as I attack those four books on my 2010 to-do list.

  15. Jim Clark says: 11/28/2009 at 9:33 am


    Thanks for the intro to the topic. It is very well done.

    I quit using voice activated dialing on my telephone because of so many errors. I also seem to have a slight lisp that I attribute many of those errors to.

    I have looked for alternatives to a mouse for a long time. I just hate them, mainly because of hand, arm and shoulder pain.

    In your demo, your speaking was quite finished; you knew what you were going to say before you said it.

    Often when I’m writing, I just start out, get some stuff on the page and then develop the concept through editing. There is a lot of reworking that I do in the process. I would have many replaced words, sections of text moving forward or back. The cut and paste functions are extensions of my finger tips. I also use the writing process to gain order to my thinking.

    To prepare this comment, I started in the box provided and then went to Word to finish before cutting and pasting back into the comment box. That’s how bad it is.

    It’s one of the reasons I can no longer write on real paper (I’m old enough that I had to use real paper for writing in the days before PCs). The editing job would just be too redundant. On paper it is so messy that I really can’t effectively get the job done.

    I still write the same way on my laptop so I am left wondering how this personal writing approach would work with dns. Can you shed some light on the efficiency of using dns when the writing process itself is not effecient?

  16. Renee says: 11/28/2009 at 9:35 am

    I’ve tried Dragon numerous times and have found it really inaccurate. It’s also been really hard to get it to recognize the way I talk. After several times of using it, I have had to start all over because something goes wrong with the software and I have to set it up again. I have virtually given up and am writing the old fashioned way!

  17. Thank you so very much for your post. I thought about speech software years ago, but either it was to expensive or I just blew it off. I can see where the application can be invaluable and I am glad I’m apart of copyblogger so that I had this opportunity to see what is available and where to go.

    Thanks again.
    Teresa Rothove

  18. I watched the video and I am really impressed but I have one big question: can it record my speech (to a sound file) at the same time as converting it to text? That would be really valuable for me in the field of esl where I want to give the recording to my visitors and have it available in text too… it would save me lots of time.

  19. Jon,

    One thing you didn’t cover is how different the process of writing is when using speech recognition software. Most of us are used to composing on the keyboard. I’m a copywriter, and making the transition is still something of a struggle. Thinking and writing out loud is a very different process, at least in my experience.

    Different headset make a profound difference in accuracy, as you mentioned. Another factor to consider is comfort. Personally, I find a lot of traditional headsets and in-ear versions to be fairly uncomfortable, and a little distracting when I’m trying to write.

    Finally, make sure the headset cord is long enough. I don’t know how many times I’ve leaned across my desk and ripped the earpiece out of my ear. Ouch!

  20. @xmas presents: The latest version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking supports both non-native and regional dialects. If you haven’t used it in a while, give it a try. I think you’ll be amazed at how accurate it is.

    @Charlie: Ahh, I was wondering whether anyone would pick up on that. Yes, learning to write by talking is an adjustment. In the video, I was actually reading a portion of a post I’d already written, so it was probably a little bit more coherent than normal. Still, your brain gets used to it with practice.

    @Dr. Michael Beck: The latest version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking requires no training whatsoever. You can install it and start talking, and it will understand you fairly well. Granted, doing about 10 minutes of voice training before you get started does increase the accuracy a little bit, but it’s by no means required.

    @Rebecca: I wrote and edited a book with Dragon NaturallySpeaking, and it seemed to work just fine. What difficulties did you have?

    @Danny: I used Camtasia to make this video. It’s awesome software.

    @Galvahaha: From what I understand, some of the high-end USB mics ($100+) have their own integrated soundpod, but I’ve never used any of them. I have tried some of the cheap USB mics ($30-), and none of them were nearly as accurate as the microphones I pointed out in the video.

    @Jim: I don’t think there’s anything abnormal about needing to edit what you write. I do the same thing, and Dragon NaturallySpeaking deals with it very well. You can select any text with a single command and replace it. You can also delete words or entire sentences or paragraphs with a single command. In my opinion, editing with Dragon NaturallySpeaking is easier than doing it by hand.

    @Renee: You must be using the wrong hardware and/or an older version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Try the setup I outlined in the video, and I think you’ll be impressed with how accurate it is.

    @Tom: Yes, it’s an adjustment. Writing by hand has a sort of kinetic rhythm, and it can be disconcerting to start doing everything by voice. But you can definitely get used to it. It just takes a little time.

  21. Jon:

    Great video. I have one question. I know that Dragon will also transcribe voice from some digital recorders. Can you recommend a moderately priced digital recorder that works well with Dragon 10?


  22. Great vlog post, Jon. I’ve been reading your stuff for quite awhile now and had no idea you were doing it all this way. Inspiring!

    Question: Is there a way to use DNS on stuff that’s already been recorded? Like podcasts? I have a whole library of podcasts I’d like to get transcribed, but like you, I’m a tight wad and don’t really want to invest in hiring someone to do the work, if there is software somewhere that will let me do it cheaper.

    Your advice would be MOST welcome! Thanks!

  23. Penny says: 11/29/2009 at 7:50 am


    Love your presentation – thank you.

    I am (oh dear!) a Mac user. Two questions. Have you done any research on Mac Speech Dictate yet? Secondly, I will be interviewing several different people in the next two months – do you know of any software (even for PCs!) that can cope with more than one voice?

    Cheers, Penny

  24. Jon, wonderful video! I’m so very glad that Darren highlighted you so many years ago. I’ve have caught your posts across a few different sites, and I thoroughly enjoyed them. Now I enjoy putting a name to “voice” behind the words (and you have been doing that with voice recognition software too!).

    I admit, I have had a terrible misperception about this – and even being in an technology centric role for 13 years now (or was that because of). ;-)

    We are currently piloting this with a team member of mine who is in advanced application sales – and travels a lot. It would help him maximize his time if he could dictate while on the road, so he is trialing a voice recorder with uploads into Dragon (which we’ll see how that goes).

    Needless to say, we have high hopes, and given this video, it looks even more promising.

  25. What can I say…”I’m speechless” lol…ok, joking aside, this was a great video/article and he really provides a lot of inspiration with the actual live example he was doing on screen. Very well done and enough to give a person a promising outlook. For myself, I code all day long making themes but when it comes to the blog, writing demo content, and more, I am really giving some serious thought to this concept. Great video demo Jon.

  26. Really appreciate the information on Dragon Speak.
    I’ve been using voice recognition for about five years now (1st version 9, now 10). I’m a neuropsychologist and I dictate a lot of testing reports.
    Wasn’t real impressed with Dragon 10 after I got it.
    Am now considering that my hardware is the problem. Maybe my $20 microphone/headset is why I get some of system misperceptions ( they are frequently amusing, but become frustrating rapidly after about four hours of dictating).
    My order for the vx-1 is in and I’m eagerly anticipating improved accuracy.
    Thanks again for this very useful information. Look forward to more.

  27. Wow, Jon, I was just thinking about getting the MacSpeech Dictate and wondering if it would really be worthwhile or just a way to get myself thoroughly confused, and here you are.

    I so appreciate your very clear demo and explanation. And now I’m off to buy the stuff!

    Oh, one question: Do you know if I need the pod if I’m using a MacBook Pro?

    Thanks again. I appreciate this video and I appreciate YOU!

  28. Nice video Jon. I had no idea that speech recognition was that accurate. I’m now considering getting Mac Speech Dictate.

  29. Penny says: 12/02/2009 at 9:51 pm

    Hi Jon

    Do you know if the software can be “taught” and English or New Zealand accent, not just “American”?

  30. Awesome software! I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

  31. Wow, I’m having terrible RSI problems (I’ve actually had to hire someone temporarily to be my hands for computer work because things like cutting and pasting to update my website to a new template and CSS is killing me). This technology would be a lifesaver.

    I’m a photographer too: would this work with Lightroom and Photoshop? I suspect it would, but I would love to have some feedback on that in particular. Having seen your byline many a time, I had no idea that you wrote this way. Thanks for a wonderful and inspiring video, Jon.

  32. I have Mac OS 10.4.11 (Tiger) which won’t take the latest version of MacSpeech Dictate (1.5), but it will take Speech Dictate 1.3. Trouble is I want to try a trial online download before I buy (and that version is hard to find anyway) – does anyone have any ideas?

  33. That is an excellent video. I have long been skeptical of speech recognition software, mainly because once, as you said, I spent hours training it and it didn’t work at all. Your video, though, inspired me to get Version 10. I got it and Version 9 in a package with a lot of other programs. I tried to install Version 10, but it simply won’t work. The person who handles my computer problems doesn’t know why. I’ve installed 9, though, and it seems to be installing well. I guess I’ll now in a few minutes and I’ll let you know tomorrow how it’s doing.

  34. I installed Dragon 9, but for some reason it won’t recognize my VXI Headset (the one that you recommend). It also says that it’s too low for it to hear. Any suggestions?

  35. Of course, what a great site and informative posts. Rapidshare

  36. Penny says: 12/13/2009 at 8:23 am

    Hi there

    I have written three times (now four!) on this site with comments and questions – but there have been no replies – can anyone help please?

  37. Adam Computes says: 12/16/2009 at 12:41 pm

    Great for dictation. For speech recognition internet navigation there is an application named Tazti Speech recognition. It’s a free download at http://www.tazti.com.
    Also lets me control iTunes by speech recognition and well as make voice searches of many search engines including Google, yahoo, bing, Amazon, Wikipedia, ebay etc… It is very cool fee software.

  38. great video. i have been thinking of getting dragon naturally speaking for some time.

    now it’s time for me to take the plunge. thanks for putting this together.

  39. This is a must for bloggers, you will cut down on your tasks dramatically. I am happy that I purchased Dragon.

  40. Junior Deal says: 01/08/2010 at 11:41 am

    Hi I was very impressed with your presentation, have one question how do you play back your dictation

  41. Hi Jon. An inspirational video. I had used the Dragon V9.5 recorder edition with great success and, for Christmas, decided to take advantage of a seasonal special on V10 Standard. I downloaded and installed the package and discovered a “BIG” gotcha with that version.

    It cannot import existing voice files so that, if you ever have to redo the installation, because you have a hard drive crash or buy a new computer, you have to to redo all your training. It sounded insane to me but I confirmed it with customer service in Edinburgh. I know you’ve got to have product differentiation, but I think Nuance’s way of doing it is really extreme.

    I made my displeasure known, and they eventually offered me a refund and a slight discount on the Preferred version, seeing that my Recorder version was now uninstalled. I ended up paying double what I what I wanted to but, at least, I won’t have to retrain it. It works great, by the way.

  42. Finally, I have finally gotten Dragon to work;I am using it to make this comment. Lisa Irby’s video on the bad diseases you can get by typing (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMlkrJfXglw) scared me into looking at more, and I was able to use it on my laptop.I have still decided, though, but I type on the computer, because the chances of getting injured on a n ergonomically correct computer are very low. Again, thanks so much!

  43. Froom this moment this man is my new guru. He just know how to do it!

  44. Strange this post is totaly unrelated to what I was searching google for, but it was listed on the first page. I guess your doing something right if Google likes you enough to put you on the first page of a non related search. :)

  45. This video? Brilliant – it is completely captivating. I admit, I started to watch because I was more interested in Jon’s personal story, having read a lot of his stuff on CopyBlogger, but I stayed because I was totally engaged with sight and sound.

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