The A+ would be the certification you are looking for with regards to fixing hardware. However, you don't need any certification at all if you're wanting to start your own side biz. Certification isn't designed to teach you concepts; it's designed to show an employer that you have a baseline level of knowledge. Sure, if you're looking for knowledge, you can get it by studying for a certification... just know that you don't have to GET the certification unless you want to work for an employer.
Keep in mind that certifications won't "get you skills". Nor will certifications alone get you noticed for jobs (with the exception of entry-level certifications, which will get you noticed for entry-level jobs - jobs that do not require experience). Entry-level certifications include the A+, Network+, and Windows client certifications. However, none of that matters if you're not going to work for an employer.
Being self-employed, you're also going to get a lot of requests for software-based support. I'd recommend being very familiar with virus removal and operating system tasks. Learning Microsoft Office is always a good thing. Basic networking is also worthwhile. Until you get a lot of experience, you're not going to be asked to do advanced security configurations or administer Cisco gear.
No idea about Dragon... speech-to-text programs were horrible in the past, and if my smartphone is any indication, it hasn't gotten much better. In any case, Dragon's not going to help you when you're diagnosing a customer's computer...
Regarding learning languages... techs don't generally program, and programmers don't do a lot of technical administration. The two fields are pretty separate. So unless you're specifically going into programming, there's no need to learn a language.
Hope this helps answer some of your questions!
BosonMichael / Senior Content Developer, Boson Software
CISSP, CEH, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
Served proudly, US Army, 98C Intelligence Analyst, '89-'92