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Dictate your translation on a Mac with Mountain Lion

The latest version of OS X, Mountain Lion, includes support for speech recognition in a few languages (English, German, French and Japanese). This video shows how to set up the dictation feature for French in Mountain Lion, how to test it in TextEdit and how to use it to translate a short document in Wordfast Pro. Hardware used for this experiment: MacBook Air late 2010 with 4 GB of RAM.

Important: an Internet connection is required in order to be able to use the dictation feature of Mountain Lion. Dictation will not work with Google’s DNS servers (, See this discussion for more information.

10 comments to Dictate your translation on a Mac with Mountain Lion

  • Thanks very much for this post. I’ve not long had a hand operation which makes it difficult for me to type at the moment. I’d been hesitating to install ML on my iMac, but I recently found out that there was an inbuilt dictation function, and thanks to this post I saw it works well on Wordfast. You convinced me to take the plunge!
    Here are two links: this one gives some tricks: http://www.macworld.com/article/1168477/mountain_lion_dictation_tricks.html, and this one lists some handy shortcuts: http://www.maclife.com/article/howtos/how_use_dictation_mountain_lion.

  • Having successfully used Mac Dictate and Wordfast Pro last year for a while, I stopped for various reasons.
    I’m now trying to use it again, but dictation no longer seems to work in Wordfast, although it works elsewhere on my computer.
    Do you think an update to Wordfast has changed something since?
    I currently use Wordfast Pro 3.2.1 on a Mac running OSX 10.8.4.

    • Dominique

      I’m afraid I haven’t tried dictation lately. I’m not using Wordfast Pro for my day-to-day translation work and I’m primarily a Windows user. Do ask other users of Wordfast Pro for Mac! I’m not aware of any conscious change made to Wordfast Pro that would break the way dictation works, but maybe something unexpected did occur. I’ll try to give it a try when I have a chance.

    • John Di Rico

      Hi Catharine,

      Did you get Mac dictate to work with Wordfast Pro? I am looking into Dragon right now as well. Have you tried it? Any problems?

      Thanks in advance for your insights!


  • Ján Rendek

    I’m playing with Dictation on my MB Air and virtualised (via Parallels) Word for Windows. Once I slowed my spoken English down a little and started to imitate US English (easier for us Eastern Europeans to pronounce), my success rate is almost 100%.

    Too bad there is no Slovak functionality and and there’s almost no chance it will be there during my lifetime 🙂

    • Dominique

      I didn’t realize the OS X dictation feature would work inside a Windows virtual machine. I’m pretty sure I tried it on my own MacBook Air and it didn’t work. But I’m using VMware Fusion (and an old version of it), not Parallels. What version of Parallels do you have?
      As to support for Slovak, I think you’re right! Strangely enough, Google/Android appears to offer rather decent support for dictation in “minor” languages. At least, it works rather well for me with Finnish (been able to dictate short e-mails on my Nexus 4 Android smartphone)

  • Nice. I just installed Yosemite on two Macs to exploit its more dragon-like speech recognition. The thing works very well with minimal fuss compared to the Dragon and IBM warez I have used since 2002. It operates in Word and Textedit just fine.

    The problem is that it has not a clue how to work with Omega-t. I may have to change the DNS server addresses, but hope to hear from someone who has found a successful approach before wading into unskilled experimentation.

    Omega-T is free translation CATware, not as fancy as the expensive products, but very gregarious in its acceptance of Dragon. Cheerfully yours…

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