IBM ViaVoice (Mac and PC)

by Joe Gillespie — Sep 1, 2001

Having tried other forms of speech recognition on both Mac and PC, I approached ViaVoice with a high degree of skepticism. A short while into the introduction, I was pretty certain that my preconceptions were correct. IBM do make the point that it is not a program for instant gratification so I stuck with it longer than I normally would in such circumstances.

After a week of this, I was getting a surprisingly high degree of accuracy with "everyday" language. I could dictate business letters, the lyrics of songs, poetry and I'm sure I could use it quite successfully for short stories (or even long ones if I was in the right mind). The speech recognition was certainly on a par with my ham-fisted typing in terms of "typo count".

Unfortunately, most of my writing is of a semi-technical nature and that is where ViaVoice falls down. Although I can add words to its custom dictionary, it still requires me to manually enter too many words, so many in fact that I have abandoned it in frustration. It is simply more productive for me to just type by hand, typos and all.

If your wrting language and style are not too extraordinary and you are prepared to spend some initial time teaching it to understand your speech, ViaVoice is very impressive and could completely change your attitude to writing.

IBM ViaVoice
Features red bar85%
Ease of Use yellow bar90%
Value for Money green bar90%
'Must Have' Factor blue bar80%
Manufacturer IBM
Price From $28 (personal edition)
Summary Rewards patience with productivity.
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