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NaturallySpeaking Performance Issues

Updated 8/9/03
Where does NaturallySpeaking performance come from? In order to get the most accurate recognition, NaturallySpeaking needs to:
  1. Hear clearly what was said.
  2. Match the acoustical information with words in the vocabulary
  3. Adjust the word selection based on the statistical word association and frequency of usage model developed in the current voice profile.
  4. Write the identified words or execute the identified command.
In order to obtain the best "performance", one must reduce or eliminate any factors that will slow any of these 4  processes.
  1. Signal clarity depends primarily on microphone quality, sound card recording quality, position of microphone,  and dictation style and clarity.
  2. Acoustical matching is a very CPU intensive process with a great deal of disk access involved to look up vocabulary information.
  3. Statistical analysis is also a very CPU intensive process and may also require disk access.
  4. Writing to the screen is a CPU process and also depends to some degree on video card performance.
NaturallySpeaking tries to be as accurate as possible, taking as much time as possible to achieve the best results.  Increasing performance is accomplished by reducing the time it takes NaturallySpeaking to arrive at an acceptable "recognition solution".  Assuming that everything that can be done concerning #1 (signal clarity) has been done, we are left with increasing  Disk Access performance and reducing CPU processing overhead to maximize NaturallySpeaking performance.
What can be done to increase Performance?
Increasing Disk Access Performance
  • Maintain good "Hard Disk Hygiene" - check the disk for errors and defragment the files routinely.  This could be once a week for someone who creates and deletes a large number of files or once a month for less intense computer operation.
  • Do not try to use NaturallySpeaking from Network Drives or compressed drives as the access time for these types of drives is usually substantially slower.
  • Do not over fill a drive.  A drive should not be more than 85% full.  If less than 15% of the drive NaturallySpeaking is using (usually C:) is free, try deleting some files, empty the Recycle Bin and defragment the drive.
Reducing CPU Overhead
  • In some cases it may be very helpful to turn off as much of the Windows Office automatic features as possible.  Turn off the office assistant, auto correct, and animations.  Even try turning off auto spell check and auto grammar check.  Check the Office Help in each application (Word, Excel, etc.) for the steps to accomplish this as the settings are in different places depending on the version of Microsoft Office.
  • In Windows XP, turn off all the performance drainers by optimizing XP for maximum performance.  In My Computer, Properties, Advanced , Performance Settings,  select "Adjust for best performance".
  • In NaturallySpeaking 7 Professional, use the Acoustic Optimizer in the Tools, Accuracy Center.  Running the Acoustic Optimizer periodically helps NaturallySpeaking to identify words faster, producing better performance.
  • If possible, run fewer programs at one time.
  • Increase the RAM in the computer.  This reduces the amount of "swapping" that is required by the CPU in order to keep necessary information in the main system memory.
  • Make sure that your computer meets or exceeds the minimum recommended system, not the minimum system requirements.

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