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Voice Recognition Technologies



Supported Software

Listed below are the common most used voice recognition technologie. Voice recognition software lets you dictate documents, search the web, email and more on your computer quickly and accurately just by using your voice.

Dragon Naturally Speaking

Image of the livescribe pen

Voice dictation software can allow complete hands-free access and control of a computer. Such control requires an investment from the student in time to train the software to recognise the user’s voice. Once complete it can be an incredibly enabling technology particularly for users with keyboard difficulties e.g. people with dexterity and mobility problems. When used in conjunction with a keyboard this software can help users word-process more effectively. At Trinity we have opted for natural speech recognition called Dragon Naturally Speaking.

Please note that Dragon is used to take dictation from a single user's voice and cannot take multiple voice inputs & tones to dictate into a single document.

Average retail price : There is no free trial in the use of the Dragon software as the user must be willing to spend time with the software for it ti recognise it voice and to become familiar with the commands. There are many different version of Dragon available. Dragon professional which allow the students full access of their PC/laptop is priced on average between €350-€400. The premium offering of Dragon which come with reduced functionality retails on average €190-€200.

Product Overview


How to setup a new Profile:


Improving your accuracy:


For more on Dragon software see their website at: http://www.nuance.com/dragon/accessibility/index.htm

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Free Resources

If you already own a laptop that runs Windows 7/8 or you own an Imac of Macbook theses systems come with inbuilt voice recognition available for you to use:

Apple Imac -Macbook voice recognition Log of a microphone

Speech Recognition in Mac OS X enables your Mac to recognize and respond to your voice. The only thing you need to use it is a microphone, and all laptops and iMacs have a built-in mic these days. To start using Speech Recognition, launch System Preferences and follow these steps:

  1. Open the Speech System Preferences pane.

  2. Click the Speech Recognition tab, and click the Settings tab.

  3. Click the On button for Speakable Items.

For more help on using this free functionality see:


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Apple Mobile

Image of the apple mobile keyboard

In addition to Siri, the "personal assistant" that has received much fanfare since it's release your Apple mobile OS includes the "keyboard dictation". Both Siri and the keyboard dictation use cloud-based speech recogntion.

It is important to understand a few things about all speech recognition:

  1. The quality of the end product is dependent upon the quality of the signal it receives.
  2. Speech recognition depends upon statistics of which words tend to occur with each other, so it is very context based. In other words, the decision it makes on a specific word is dependent upon the words it believes it heard before and after the word it is deciding upon.

Optimizing Accuracy

  1. Speaking clearly (enunciate carefully)
  2. Avoiding extraneous noise (this has the effect of contaminating your otherwise clear speech)
  3. Speaking in phrases or sentences (this may require thinking ahead before you initiate dictation)


Microsoft - Voice Recognition

Log of a microphone

To start in Windows 8.1,:

  1. Open the Control Panel and type speech into the Control Panel search box, then select Start Speech Recognition from the search results.
  2. Windows will take you through a quick set-up to make sure your PC is ready for accepting speech. For best results use a USB headset, although desktop microphones and other input devices will also work.
  3. Simply follow the instructions as you click through the set-up wizard. You'll be asked to read a few sentences to test your system, and whether you want to allow Windows to scan your documents and stored e-mail to improve speech recognition.

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Academic Support help

Cartoon of a lectuer giving a lecture

For further help and gaining strategies to help you take effective notes please view are academic support page which give you information on:

  • How to use your lecture note effectively
  • Strategies for taking notes in a lecture
  • Introduction to the Cornell method of note-taking

Last updated 10 November 2016 andrew.costello@tcd.ie (Email).