The Plantronics Savi W430 is a DECT USB wireless headset with a 80-100 metre range, designed for high quality voice applications on a PC or MAC. Using it with popular speech recognition such as Nuance MacSpeech Dictate or Dragon NaturallySpeaking requires some special setup as well as training on the part of not only the person but also the machine.
First of all, when you initially set up your Savi 430, load the Plantronics software, and ensure the W430 bandwidth is set to Wideband. Your computer may also have its own internal mic which must be turned off before you start some practice dictating. Otherwise you will get garbled translation.
Here is a link to a very useful blog by IT Enquirer titled “MacSpeech Dictate: some training required“
MacSpeech Dictate comes in several versions, including general speech, medical and legal applications. You have to load some language and specific applications dictionaries, and then “train” the software to recognize your speaking style.
The training sessions won’t tell you how the software will actually perform under real-world circumstances, and there can be quite a large gap between Dictate’s performance when you’re reading text out loud — with every word and sentence being correctly “understood” by MacSpeech Dictate — and your actual accuracy score when dictating. When you are dictating, you tend to pause a lot in-between words and get sloppy with pronunciation, so you have to practice speaking smoothly and “normally”, and not saying “um” a lot between thoughts.
MacSpeech Dictate comes with a set of commands which allows you to command your Mac software by voice. If you don’t speak those commands (“Delete the Word X to Y”) fast enough, the software thinks you’re dictating again, and will literally type what you commanded it to do.
Especially when used in noisy surroundings, MacSpeech Dictate will benefit greatly from superior noise canceling functionality. The Savi W430 satisfies that requirement excellently by filtering out both mechanical and background voices.
Speech recognition software doesn’t replace the keyboard, but it can help if you aren’t a great keyboarder, or if you think best on your feet when composing a document.