Amazon AWS Transcribe The Nuance Dragon Slayer?

30 December, 2018

Will 2019 be the year that Nuance's domination of voice recognition starts to wane thanks to Amazon's foray into ASR (Automated Speech Recognition)? We think so ..

Amazon AWS Transcribe ASR Automated Speech Recognition Nuance Dragon

Image Credit: Dragonslayer by Lonesome Cowboy on

With the advent of Amazon's AWS Transcribe in late 2018 it brings with it the prospect of majorly disrupting the speech recognition space. Why? AWS are addressing and solving some of the key voice-to-text issues that Nuance has struggled with for years, in particular:

  • Multi-speaker voice to text e.g. meetings and interviews
  • Streamed real-time audio converted to text
  • No profile training
  • No expensive add-on language packs for specific industries (Nuance, we're looking at Legal and the old medical) 
  • No expensive software to install on your PC (Mac was discontinued by Nuance recently)

Really it is the multi-speaker audio that is the breakthrough for AWS Transcribe. The ability to now take any audio, not even your voice, and have that converted to text. The opportunity here is huge for AWS moving speech recognition out of the traditional legal/medical space and encompassing pretty much every industry.

Some of the examples cited by Amazon include:

Customer Service - When you call a company for help/support your phone calls, which you have always been recorded can now be auto-converted to text, a boon for analytics for any business

Cataloging Audio Archives - think of the amount of audio out there, TV, radio, research, education the list is endless. That audio can now be converted to text and any subject easily found and referenced.

Captioning/Subtitles - Always a pain point for any video producer whether creating live or recorded content, this can now be passed through AWS Transcribe and converted to text and time coded. YouTube creators will love this one.

The key features of AWS Transcribe are:

Easy-to-Read Transcriptions

Most speech recognition systems output a string of text without punctuation. Amazon Transcribe uses deep learning to add punctuation and formatting automatically so that the output is more intelligible and can be used without any further editing.

Timestamp Generation

Amazon Transcribe returns a timestamp for each word, so that you can easily locate the audio in the original recording by searching for the text.

Support for a Wide Range of Use Cases

Amazon Transcribe is designed to provide accurate and automated transcripts for a wide range of audio quality. You can generate subtitles for any video or audio files, and even transcribe low-quality telephony recordings such as customer service calls.

Custom Vocabulary

Amazon Transcribe gives you the ability to expand and customize the speech recognition vocabulary. You can add new words to the base vocabulary and generate highly-accurate transcriptions specific to your use case, such as product names, domain-specific terminology, or names of individuals.

Recognise Multiple Speakers (the game changer)

Amazon Transcribe is able to recognise when the speaker changes and attribute the transcribed text appropriately. This can significantly reduce the amount of work needed to transcribe audio with multiple speakers like telephone calls, meetings, and television shows.

Channel Identification

Amazon Transcribe is able to process audio and video where each speaker is recorded on different channels. Contact centres stand to benefit significantly by submitting a single audio file to Amazon Transcribe, which will identify each channel and produce a single transcript with annotated by channel labels.

AWS Transcribe is extremely easy to use, we have already been testing with audio from the Olympus LS-P4 (perfect for meeting/interview recording) and even Voice Notes on our iOS and Mac devices.

AWS Transcribe requires audio in one of the following formats:

  • mp3, mp4 (m4a), wav and flac 

As always with voice recognition minimise background noise for best results.

Sending Digital Dictation From Your Olympus DS-9500 - You Have Three Options

11 July, 2018

Remember the old days when you had to return to your desk to dock your dictaphone to be able to send your audio dictation files to your transcription typist? 

Well, times have changed. Olympus are embracing new technologies and building them into their leading ODMS software for dictation and transcription and also their hardware through the latest wifi enabled handheld digital dictaphones. The below graphic from an earlier blog post, Simplifying Olympus ODMS Licence Management For Growing Legal & Medical Practices, shows the types of integrations currently available:

Olympus ODMS R7 for Workgroup large medical legal practice multi-user concurrent licence model 

The latest Olympus dictation dictaphone the Olympus DS-9500 can send your dictation to your transcription team in one of three ways:

  1. Dock, the good old tried and tested method
  2. Connect your DS-9500 to a WiFi hotspot (could be home, law firm, medical practice, even Starbucks or Maccas) and send your audio from the device via email
  3. Olympus Wireless Communication Service (WCS) - Connect to your practice wifi and transfer files directly to shared network folders for you to pick up and run into Dragon for automated voice to text or for your typists to collect and transcribe

The theme from the above is no need to always dock, use the built-in wifi connectivity in the Olympus DS-9500 to connect and send wherever you are dictating from. Lets go through each one in more detail:

Dock the Olympus DS-9500

This method has been around for years. The Olympus DS-9500 comes with a docking station (Olympus part CR21) which serves two functions on Windows computers:

  1. Keep the Olympus DS-9500 digital dictaphones rechargeable battery (Li-92B) charged while resting in the dock
  2. Facilitate a USB connection to the PC for the ODMS (Olympus Dictation Management System) Software (supplied with the recorder) for automatic transfer of audio to your computer and then on to your typist (either via email or dropped to a shared drive)


Send DS-9500 Dictation by Email When Connected to WiFi Anywhere

This method is new in the Olympus DS-9500 digital dictaphone and something that is very popular. By configuring your DS-9500 to connect to a wifi hotspot (or tethered to your smartphone) the device itself can email your dictation from anywhere in the world to your office or transcription typist. 

Click here for our detailed step-by-step guide to configuring your Olympus DS-9500 to send audio via email.


Connect To Your Practice WiFi and Drop To A Shared Folder With Olympus Wireless Communication Service (WCS)

Also included with the Olympus DS-9500 digital dictaphone is the Olympus WCS software. This software is designed to be installed on a Windows PC or server that is constantly running and connected to your network.

That computer running the WCS software acts as an access point for one or many Olympus dictaphones used in your practice. The idea is that by connecting the dictaphone to your wifi network, anywhere on your site perhaps across a hospital or over multiple floors of a legal business, each device can connect and share their dictation to pre-defined shared network drives.

Details on how to set up and configure Olympus WCS can be found here

Olympus Dictation App - Error - Enable The Microphone To Perform Recording

30 November, 2018

The below issue with the Olympus Dictation App on iOS 12 was resolved with the release of v1.3.0 on the app store 20th December 2018. Please ensure you have v1.3.0 or higher installed:

Olympus Dictation App for iOS v1.3.0 Australia



We recently pickup up a shiny new iPhone XR for app testing and of course the first app we dropped onto our new device was the Olympus Dictation App version 1.2.1 but this is what we were met with:

Error Enable the Microphone from Settings > Privacy > Microphone > Dictation to perform recording - Olympus Dictation App iPhone

We ran this past Olympus Australia and got a very quick response, they confirmed that there is an issue with the Olympus Dictation App in iOS 12.1 - officially it is only supported to iOS 11. The issue however does not affect all iOS 12 users.

Only if:

  • The app is newly installed on an iOS 12.1 device (my scenario) then the mic can not be set.


  • You have upgraded to iOS 12.1 from version 11 then the mic can not be set.

If you had gone originally to iOS 12 (where the mic setting could be set) and then gone to iOS12.1 then you will be fine.

The last update to the app v1.2.1 was two years ago, Olympus have confirmed that they are actively working on an update to be submitted to Apple and should appear in the iOS App Store towards the end of January 2019.

Latest Olympus DS-9500 Firmware Update - v1.11

16 November, 2018

Olympus have issued another firmware upgrade (v1.11) to the high end DS-9500 professional dictaphone. Thanks to the advances in the ODMS R7 software (included with the dictaphone) for Windows both software and firmware updates are now automatically detected and applied. The video below shows how to apply any Olympus DS-9500 firmware update:

The release notes for the Olympus DS-9500 Firmware v1.11 are:

Issue: Change v1.11 History / Notes for previous version
Not Booting Correctly

Fixed character
processing of DS-9500 so that special
characters can be converted correctly

When a battery is inserted into DS-9500, after the boot icon (■■□□□) is displayed on the LCD, the LCD changes to black screen and the
device will not turn on.

An exception error occurred due to file conversion processing of
special characters in a file/folder name.

Drained Battery /
Battery Cannot be
Resolved an issue with the device charging flow so that even a drained
battery can be

The included battery with DS-9500 cannot be charged.

•There is no reaction when inserting a battery into DS-9500, connecting the recorder to a PC, or when setting the recorder in the cradle. The CHARGE indicator on the cradle is not on.

•When inserting a battery into DS-9500, the LED flashes Red then it turns off. When connecting to PC or setting the recorder in the cradle,
Red LED flashes and turns off, there is no reaction. CHARGE indicator light of cradle is not on.

Since the recorder does not have enough voltage to power on correctly, it does not move to charging operation when the battery
voltage is low.

Message is Displayed
on PC Connection
Resolved so that the current firmware version of DS-9500 is reflected correctly
in the ODI file.

When connecting DS-9500 to a PC where ODMS R7 is installed, a prompt asking the user to transfer the latest firmware version to the
device is shown although the device has the latest firmware applied.

The system information of DS-9500 is recorded to an ‘ODI’ file in the internal memory. The application references this file to obtain the
firmware version when the device is connected in Storage Mode. Since the current firmware version was not reflected to the ODI file
correctly, ODMS was incorrectly detecting that the recorder had F/W version 1.0.0 applied.

Note: This issue does not occur when in Composite Mode as the recorder version information is obtained via HDI command.

Nuance Announce End-of-Life for Dragon for Mac - Voice Recognition

26 October, 2018

**UPDATE - September 2020** Microsoft enable Transcribe in Word for single and multi-speaker audio. If you have a Office365 account you can use the Dictate and Transcribe features in Word on your Mac. Info at


In a surprise annoucement, this week Nuance announced that it will be pulling the plug on their voice recognition software for macOS - Dragon for Mac.

Nuance Dragon for Mac macOS End of Life 2018

This is a sad day, we have been involved in the evolution of Dragon for Mac since the early days back in 2009 when at version 1.0 it was owned by MacSpeech and then called Scribe. In 2010 v2 was launched and MacSpeech was swallowed up by Nuance, this was a promising move. Since then we have seen the slow evolution of Dragon for Mac culminating in their last and final release v6.

Citing no reasons for the pull Nuance announced on their website this week that it would be discontinuing Dragon for Mac from 22nd October 2018 with support to cease soon after.

Nuance Australia Dragon for Mac Discontinued End-of-life EOL

Nuance wrote: 

"Nuance is constantly evaluating its product portfolio to see how we can best meet the needs of our customers and business. After much consideration, we have made the difficult decision to discontinue the Dragon Professional Individual for Mac line-up.

Dragon Professional Individual for Mac is being discontinued effective 10/22/2018 and will no longer be available for purchase. Customers may still receive telephone support for up to 90-days from date of activating the software in North America and up to 180 days from date of software activation in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Asia-Pacific regions. Your statutory rights are not affected. Customers who have purchased Dragon Professional Individual for Mac version 6 (“Software”) benefit from a perpetual license to the Software and may continue using the Software.  Nuance will no longer provide updates for the Software after 22nd October 2018 and the Nuance support team will adhere to supporting the Software according to the support policies outlined above. In addition, customers will continue to have access to the Nuance Dragon Knowledgebase for online resources."

This leaves the voice recognition space open on the Mac, perhaps Apple will step up and evolve their built-in macOS dictation, lets hope so. If you haven't used the built-in voice-to-text on your Mac enable it via System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Dictation

macOS voice to text voice recognition builtin to osx

For best results make sure you enable "Use Enhanced Dictation" this will let you dictate while offline and stores data and processes audio locally rather than sending your voice snippets to the cloud. This is still a long way off the accuracy and correction capabilities of Dragon for Mac but may be useful for you.

Olympus ODMS R7 Software Update for Windows - R7.2.0

17 October, 2018

Olympus Australia recently released (15th October 2018) a minor update to their ODMS (Olympus Dictation Management System) R7 software for Windows taking the latest release to version R7.2.0 - this is a free update to end users who own an R7 licence. ODMS R7 software and licences come in the following kits:

The fixes in this release are:

  1. Fixes an issue that connected device disappears/reappears from ODMS R7 in Terminal Services and Citrix XenApp environment.
  2. Fix the issue that TM fails to send/receive emails for testing during Web Mail setting, if only the TM is installed on the PC.
  3. Fix the issue for the SCP client when it is used as the File Downloader. Files will be downloaded to a local folder if the network is offline, but would not automatically transfer those files to the designated folder once the network connection recovers.

If you have ODMS R7 installed, either Dictation Module or Transcription Module the software updater should pop up to alert you to the fact of the new release.

Update Olympus ODMS R7 to R7.2.0 Windows TM DM Transcription Dictation Module Australia

If you are running an older version of the Olympus Dictation and/or Transcription Module software there is an upgrade path available from DSS Player Pro R5 or ODMS R6 to the latest and supported version ODMS R7.

Full details on what Olympus part numbers you need to upgrade to Olympus ODMS R7 and the licence keys you must hold on this page.

Olympus Australia Release New DS-9000 & DS-2600 Dictaphones

03 October, 2018

Olympus Australia have just released two new handheld digital dictaphones to compliment their top of the range Olympus DS-9500 released earlier this year (2018). The two new recorders bring the pro dictation range upto a choice of three devices. The new models are:

Buy Olympus DS-9000 DS-2600 digital dictaphone voice recorder Australia

The DS-9000 is pretty much exactly the same as the DS-9500 except:

  1. Doesn't come with a dock or power supply (USB charge via your PC or Mac)
  2. Doesn't have in-built wifi

If you are used to the older Olympus DS-7000 or Olympus DS-5000 models then the Olympus DS-9000 is the natural progression of this line with the new water-resistant casing (same as used on the Olympus PEN cameras), optical slide switch and larger colour display. 

All Olympus digital dictaphones record in the DSS Pro (.ds2) audio format. 

How does the Olympus DS-9000 compare to the DS-9500?

The DS-9000 does not come with a docking cradle or main power supply. The recorder is recharged via USB connection to your Mac or Windows PC which also allows for the file transfer.

Click here to see the full DS-9000 vs DS-9500 comparison 

Olympus DS-9500 - Trade In Your Old Dictaphone/Voice Recorder For $150 Cash Back

15 September, 2018


Olympus DS-9500 Trade In Offer Promo with $150 Cash Back Dictate Australia

Occasionally Olympus Australia will pull a promo out of the bag to entice the seasoned dictator to upgrade to the latest and greatest in the digital voice recording world from Olympus. It's that time again, but hurry this is only around until October 31st, 2018.

If you have been hanging onto your trusty old Philips or Olympus DS-4000 or DS-5000 now is the time to trade up. Have an old tape dictaphone lying around, trade that in, any brand, working or not.

What Do I Need To Trade In?

  • A voice recorder or dictaphone, working or not, any brand

What Will I Get?

  • $150 Visa Pre-Paid card to treat yourself or your family to something nice

What Do I Need To Buy To Get My $150?

How Do I Get My $150

  1. We will send you a copy of your paid invoice for your DS-9500
  2. You complete the online form 
  3. You send Olympus a copy of your paid invoice
  4. You wait patiently for the postie to deliver you prepaid $150 Visa debit card

What's So Good About The New Olympus DS-9500?

  • Compatible with Windows 10 & macOS
  • Can connect to any wifi hotspot to send dictation via email from the device, no need to dock
  • Super clear audio recording for all your dictation
  • Open up the mic and record your meetings and interviews too
  • Encrypt your .ds2 (DSS Pro) audio to ensure confidentiality when sending your dictation over the internet
  • Fully compatible with Dragon for Windows & macOS
  • Olympus DS-9500 - Setting the standard in digital dictation

All the details in this PDF for you to download and read. Any questions tweet us @dictates or email 

Olympus Software Updates for MacOS and Windows - ODMS R7 & DSS Player

06 August, 2018

On 1st August 2018 Olympus released updates across all of their dictation and transcription software, from the latest Olympus Dictation Management System (ODMS R7), to the DSS Player Standard and even DSS Player Plus v7 for Mac got a look in.


Various bug fixes post the launch of the new Olympus DS-9500 professional digital dictaphone and Olympus AS-9000 professional transcription typing kit back in April:

DSS Player Standard 2.1

DSS Player Plus v7.6.0 for MacOS

Olympus DS-9500 Digital Dictation Firmware Update Available - v1.10

15 July, 2018

DS9500 Olympus DS-9500 Australia Free Firmware Update v1.10

Released early July 2018, three months after the new flagship digital dictaphone from Olympus the DS-9500 was released, a firmware upgrade is available taking the onboard flashed software to version v1.10

Updates in the Olympus DS9500 firmware include:

  • Change the WiFi connection so that it can be implemented in the background
  • Change the WiFi connection so that it can be cancelled
  • When entering the WiFi security code and email address, additional special characters are now available.
  • Record the serial number information of the product to the header of DSS audio file
  • Improve the stability of sending dictations via email
  • Fix the problem where the time set in some environments gets out of order

The update can be downloaded from the official Olympus support site in Europe - OPDSupport or via our hosted copy of the update (in Google drive):

Note: The firmware update can only be made via a Windows computer, MacOS users you will need to find a friend with a PC to help you update. @Olympus knows we have been banging the MacOS drum for years now so no comment necessary. 

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