What’s a love-hate relationship without the love? Whatever that is, that’s what I’ve got going with my copy of Dragon Dictate. I’ve long been a fan of dictation software, but the bugs and usability flubs in this product continually annoy me. Now it appears that the automatic spell checker in Mac OS X Lion causes Dragon to lose its mind and continually drop a random character after a correction.
All Your Lttrs Ar Blong To Us!
Here’s the problem: You’re dictating happily into Mail or some other supported application (even Word) and suddenly one letter starts disappearing from everything entered. Maybe it’s the E, or the T, but some random letter just goes away.
nd ll of your text strts looking like this.
Dictation still works fine, it’s just the text entry that’s broken. And of course, you can still dictate into Note Pad in Dictate without an error. The only solution at this point is to exit Dictate and restart.
Apparently, the new in-line spelling correction engine in Mac OS X Lion is causing this new issue with Dragon Dictate. Any time OS X corrects your spelling or (more likely) inserts appropriate accent marks, Dictate loses its mind and can no longer correctly enter some random letter.
There are two ways to fix this problem (apart from just restarting Dictate all the time):
- Disable OS X spell correction in the Language & Text System Preferences panel under the Text tab. Then restart Dictate and it will no longer trip over accent characters and auto corrections. Of course, you will lose automatic spell correction as well.
- Strangely, it appears that if you disable spell correction before launching Dragon Dictate and then enable it afterwards you get the best of both worlds: In-line spell correction and no more bug bites from Dictate. I haven’t tested this long, but it hasn’t failed me yet.
Contrary to rumors and suggestions from Dragon tech support, TextExpander is not the culprit in this particular bug. I found no difference when enabling, disabling, or closing TextExpander. It was only when I disabled OS X spell correction that I was able to eliminate it.
Why Keep Using Dragon Dictate?
I do wish that Dragon would correct these of noxious usability gaffes, since the recognition engine is actually pretty strong. I just wonder if anyone at Dragon actually uses this application, or if they just put out there hoping it will work.
A fair question is why I keep using Dragon Dictate even though I despise using it. Truthfully, I get a huge amount of value from dictation software generally, and have been using it since my Windows days. Dragon is the only game in town for Mac dictation, so people like me who like dictation software have no other choice.
I intend to continue to use Dragon Dictate despite its flaws, in hopes that the company will improve the product. But I’m frankly not that hopeful this will happen, considering the long history of unresolved bugs and frustrating usability issues.
I only hope that Apple will integrate dictation into Mac OS X more thoroughly, since this would eliminate the majority of issues I have Using Dragon Dictate.