ViaVoice vs. Dragon Naturally-Speaking

Naomi Aoki, a writer for the Boston Globe, in search of relief for her carpal-tunnel syndrome, recently tested two voice-recognition programs and posted her results at She reports numerous problems with IBM’s ViaVoice 9.1 Pro, but was pleasantly surprised with Dragon NaturallySpeaking 8 Preferred. “I picked up a Boston Globe and began to dictate. When I looked up from the newspaper, I could hardly believe my eyes,” she writes. “Aside from the fact that the opening sentence was missing hyphens, there were only two mistakes. The rest of the story was just as accurate. That night, I lay in bed dictating and sending e-mails on my laptop. Now this was fun!”

Personally, I’ve never tried any voice-recognition software. So far, my RSI problems are manageble without it. But if I ever need to go that route, the results she reports are encouraging.

Randy Rasa

Randy is an engineer/programmer/web designer who has suffered from repetitive strain injury off and on for over a decade.


  1. dragon works great for me as well as im always updating apartment info on my website, and sending emails to clients. it really helps me with my hands and arm pain.

  2. IBM’s ViaVoice always worked really well for me, but I could never get Dragon Naturally Speaking to be anywhere near as reliable.
    However, ViaVoice could recognise only about 10% of what my wife said, which we put down to her Scottish accent. She found it almost impossible to complete the ViaVoice training because it was so unreliable for her.

    IBM sold ViaVoice in 2005 to Nuance, and they no longer develop it, so any version of ViaVoice that you pick up will be quite old now. I believe that Nuance also own Dragon, so I guess they have merged the technologies.

  3. They just came out with dragon 11 and soon enough Dragon Medical 11. I’m hoping to see the improvements in accuracy and quality performance. Perhaps less errors.

  4. I think the dragon naturally speaking software has dramatically improved since version 8 im now running 11 and im most happy with it.

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