The experiences that I'm about to outline pertain to article writing. I haven't used voice recognition dictation software for novels or works of fiction. It's a totally different ballgame because I don't have to deal with the lack of punctuation. Articles are pretty simple, and they don't have a lot of proper names in them. I got interested in this kind of software because I type a lot as a freelance writer. While I haven't worked out all the kinks here are a few tips for deciding whether voice recognition dictation software is right for you and how to make it really effective.
Plan to edit your articles twice as much as you normally would. We've all seen people on forums where someone makes a very funny comment then later has to come back and say "Sorry I was talking to my computer". Even after you teach the software there'll always be a few slip ups. It's important to really edit carefully. At first, you might not even be sure of what your original intent was because the software has changed it so much. It can really be helpful to just go back and edit in paragraphs instead of one long article. This will keep you from getting frustrated but also allows you to train the software so it can learn from its mistakes.
Find the microphone that works for your situation. I wasn't sure of the quality of the sound card in my laptop. It seems like my software was having trouble whenever the fan was on. I read that a USB microphone might be more appropriate for my situation. Plus, it's a lot more comfortable than the traditional headset. The only other headset that I have tried was the one that came with the software so that admittedly was very poor quality. You need to consider the noises in the area in which you plan to work when you choose the right headset or microphone for you.
You will really have to change the way that you talk. The software can adjust to a lot of different accents and volumes. However, you will need to be able to speak your punctuation into the document. It will also be essential to really enunciate your words. Avoid certain words. Sure, you can train your software to recognize almost any word. However, you will often run into some very crazy commands. Sometimes the software thinks that you're telling it to do something in the document, when really you're just speaking. It can be helpful to eliminate some of the basic word commands and it also is a chance for you to brush up on your synonyms.
Be prepared for a little bit of frustration. You will really have to train your software to become effective. It almost seems like it's not worth the hassle at times. This really depends on your situation. If you don't expect it to be perfect right from the start you'll probably be able to keep with it a little bit longer. You'll really have to consider what your actual typing speed and needs are to determine if it's worth it for you.