Can I Use Dragon Speech With Audio Files?

By Kevin Lee

Computers can hear and respond to the same sound waves you do.
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Computer speech recognition has come a long way since IBM demonstrated an early device that recognized spoken digits in 1964. Today, sophisticated programs, such as Dragon Naturally Speaking, enable PC users to communicate with computers using their voices. If you own Dragon, you can get the program to transcribe your words by talking to it in real time or by saving your voice in an audio file that you can feed into the program later.

Dragon Naturally Speaking

The technologically advanced computer in old "Star Trek" episodes had the ability to listen and speak. Modern computers can also do that using programs such as Dragon Naturally Speaking. Nuance -- the product's maker -- gave the software the ability to not only understand what humans say, but to speak using generated voices. Dragon owners use the program to control their computer desktops, surf the Web and function as virtual personal secretaries. Simply speak into a microphone connected to a computer running Dragon, and watch as your words appear magically on-screen as you talk to your PC.


Human transcriptionists listen to audio recording and type what they hear into electronic documents Physicians, for instance, often record ideas and notes on small recorders. They later give those recordings to transcriptionists who convert the audio into text. Dragon Naturally Speaking not only converts live speech into text in real-time, but it has powerful transcription capabilities as well. To use these features, you must first store your recorded voice in an audio file.

Audio Files

Different recording devices produce different types of audio files. Some of these files are compatible with Dragon and others are not. Desktop audio-editing programs such as Audacity, for example, record voices and save them multiple formats including MP3 and WAV. Some cellphones and pocket recorders, on the other hand, might save audio data in different formats. To use Dragon Naturally Speaking's transcription capabilities, you must get your voice into an audio file format such as WMA, MP3, WAV, DSS or DS2. Trigger the transcription process by selecting "Transcribe" from Dragon's menu or by dragging an audio file onto the Dragonbar.

Benefits of Using Audio Files

The ability to use audio files instead of speaking directly into Dragon gives you the freedom to move away from your computer and still take advantage of Dragon's speech recognition technology. By recording into a portable recording device, you can use your voice to jot down ideas as you jog or relax by the pool. When you get home later, transfer the audio files to your PC and load them into Dragon. Audio files also give you a permanent record of your voice notes that you can refer to later if needed.