I used the software briefly seven years ago during a rather unpleasant bout of RSI while I was traveling abroad and some of the keys on my laptop's keyboard began to fail, but Windows XP Service Pack 2 soon rendered the application unusable, and my memories of it weren't so great that I was inspired to have another look any time soon.
And so it remained until I had occasion to visit another colleague and see a "mixed mode" way of working with The Beast on complex legal texts. That got my attention. Particularly the quality of the results and an output well beyond my usual capacity. So I had another look.
First of all, one must be aware that DNS is dangerous. Even with good training and a high-quality microphone, it produces a number of errors, some bizarre, some very subtle, which may require a significant change in one's review workflow. For someone like me who is a miserable proofreader, this can be quite a challenge. Reading texts at top speed aloud doing a Donald Duck imitation seems to help. But for God's sake, don't rely on a casual silent read and a spellchecker.
I discovered that overall, my working speed, even with the considerable increase in review effort, improved significantly. It is faster to read terminology from my TEnT hit list than it is to insert it with a keyboard shortcut, and I think that looking at the source text on the screen more and thinking about it as I dictate at a slow, relaxed pace gives me a better, more natural text faster. The improvement in output isn't a matter of "typing speed" so much but rather that I spend more time reading the text. I am a hunt and peck typist, albeit a rather fast one, and I can keep pace with the fastest touch typists I have seen when I am working on a translation. The real bottleneck has never been typing time but rather thinking time, and I do not have the impression that a touch typist does any more thinking or does it faster.
When I shared my findings with a Dutch friend, an agency owner with nearly 30 years of experience as a translator, he told me about how the colleagues he knew long ago had mocked him for using the first generation of word processors, because they could dictate so much faster. However, back then a great deal of time was lost sending tapes to a typist and revising, and he could often deliver faster, though his personal time investment was perhaps greater. Now, he said, it seems that technology and tradition can be combined to produce the best result.