The release of OS X Mountain Lion saw the introduction of a dictation feature that allows users to talk to their Mac, which in turn transcribes their words into text.
The feature is a great idea, and much like Siri and other modern voice activation systems, it can be a really useful tool. However a few users have reported failure to use due to a couple of minor configuration issues that can be easily resolved.
The first thing to check if you’re suffering a hold up with the Mountain Lion dictation feature is the basic setup. Visit ‘System Preferences’ and ensure that the dictation feature is activated, you will know if this is activated as the microphone image on the left hand side of the box will turn purple. When you make noise this purple area should move to indicate the microphone is picking up sound. If this doesn’t work then ensure you have the correct microphone selected. If you’re using an external microphone then ensure the input and output in the sound system preferences are set to the correct devices. Third party devices may require drivers to be manually installed or updated.
The dictation service also requires a connection to an Apple server. Standard Ethernet and Wifi connections shouldn’t interfere with this connection, however some DNS, Proxy or VPN connections can affect this connection. In this case certain features may have to be disabled in order for the dictation service to perform fully.