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Jan 4, 2014

TeamViewer and Dragon Naturally Speaking: currently a bad mix

On New Year's Eve I took delivery of new hardware to support my translation work. This will be the first time in more than a decade that the bulk of my work will not be done on a laptop, but the demands I've put on my hardware in recent years are a bit much for any laptop I'm willing to invest in. Now set with 32 GB RAM, a few SSD drives, souped-up video and other features to make my work go with a bit less hassle, I decided it was time to try the remote access solutions that some of my friends and colleagues have relied on for the past few years. I've been particularly impressed with what one of them does running all the applications on his home system with excellent performance from his desk at work or other remote locations. At last I am ready to do the same.

The new dream machine is still being configured, but I've got memoQ and other useful tools loaded, even SDL Trados Studio 2014 carefully isolated in a well-configured VMware machine to avoid trashing my main system as SDL software always has in the past.

There are, of course, many possibilities for remote access. Because I use TeamViewer sometimes for remote assistance to clients and colleagues and impromptu mini-webinars of an informal nature, I thought I would try the new, improved access in version 9 that one colleague mentioned. Things have looked quite good on the whole.

The only major failure I have experienced has been with voice recognition. I use Dragon Naturally Speaking sometimes for my translation work, and out of curiosity I decided to try it with a text I had in SDL Trados Studio on the virtual machine on the remote computer. Typing worked just fine in this configuration.

Dictation with DNS was another matter altogether. Sentences were not capitalized at the beginning, and small pauses in my voice caused spaces to be dropped in the text on the remote virtual machine. Now I know that even Trados isn't this bad with dictation, so I repeated the test in a simple word processor on the VM and repeated it in the same word processor in the remote host system. In each case, the problem was the same: failures to capitalize the beginning of sentences and frequent dropped spaces. I had to discipline myself to speak capitalization commands and insert spaces by voice after any pause. Editing by voice was also impossible and had to be done manually with the mouse and keyboard. Word accuracy was as good as ever, but that's not surprising, as that processing all occurs locally. The difficulties are in transmission to the remote system.

I suspect this is a problem to be addressed by TeamViewer rather than Nuance. I am very curious to see whether other remote access solutions have similar difficulties. If anyone else has relevant experience with this, please share it.

7 comments:

  1. I have been doing the same (last 3 years I my work was done on an 13" ultrabook with mediocre specs - my work system is actually part of a cloud server virtual solution). However, you do get frustrated sometimes with lag time when internet connection is not that great. You wish at times that your laptop could be used offline :-).

    By the way, why a normal Windows Remote Desktop is not OK? In my experience, it works quite well and security is on par with the competition.

    Kind regards,
    Sebastijan

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    1. I use TeamViewer for the range of additional functions it offers in remote sessions, particularly recording when I need it. I'm also fairly minimalist about my applications; I try to use one good tool to cover a range of needs rather than waste my time with a separate application for each one. Some take a different approach, of course. I was once utterly appalled to see a German colleague try to explain at least half a dozen different applications for converting different types of PDF to editable text rather than teach one tool that handles all types reasonably well. Some see their salvation in deeper service to crappy machines and software, I prefer to use just enough to get my work done quickly, then do something else.

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  2. I assume you are using DNS 12, but as far as DNS 11.5 is concerned, the behaviour of the prgram heavily depends on the application and the environment. When Kilgray switched the editor component for memoQ (from version 4 to 5, but I am not too sure), DNS showed the same weird behaviour until the people at Kilgray were able to fix it (shortly afterwards). For me, DNS with Trados 2009 or across is a mess.

    Unfortunately the Nuance support is very bad. The only workaround is to use the dictation window - this means two keystrokes more per segment, but also a better recognition rate and editing without any problem.

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    1. No, it is 11.5 in this case. I haven't had a compelling reason to upgrade yet, though I do plan to test this in v12 by asking a colleague to do a remote access session with me and dictate. As I described here, the problems occur in any remote application, so the trouble appears to lie with the TeamViewer/DNS interface itself.

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    2. The problem is that you are dictating "into" Teamviewer and not into memoQ or Trados anymore. I know that Teamviewer likes to be quite slow when using the clipboard, so I assume this might the problem here. I do not know whether it is feasible to dictate via Teamviewer into a remote machine that is running DNS besides the CAT of your choice. Might be worth a try.

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    3. Clearly. In fact, that's what I hope to try as well, but the VMWare converter is having a bit of trouble creating a VM from the physical setup that has the configuration I want to use.

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  3. You may even try using a RHUB remote support server in addition to Teamviewer. It works well.

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