One of the things that I have on my bucket list is to write a book, but I am not sure that I am disciplined enough to sit there for hours on end and write it all out. It’s funny, if I am writing code for an application that I am building, I can sit there for hours and never have any issues. When it comes to writing, I just can’t seem to sit there for very long.
I recently read an article that discussed how writers are now turning to speech recognition software such as Dragon Naturally Speaking to write books and that really caught my eye. So, I purchased the software and started playing around with it to see if it is something that will save me some time.
Speech recognition has been around for quite some time, but just in the last few years it has really gained popularity. If you have ever used Siri on your Iphone or Cortana on Windows 10 you know that these applications are very popular and in some cases can save time, especially on small devices such as smart phones. I like to use Siri when I am driving to find directions and respond to texts.
Now it seems that speech recognition can be used to help writers dictate instead of typing on the keyboard. It is suppose to save time in the long run but in order to get to the time saving part, you have have to set it up and have it recognize your voice so that it can interpret what you are saying and write out the words.
In order to use any of the speech recognition software tools on the market today you will need to purchase a good set of bluetooth headphones with a microphone. This will allow the software to listen to your voice and write out the words that you are saying.
One of the things that you will need to do in order to get it set up is to practice speaking into the software. You have to train it to understand you and understand how you talk. This can take some practice and I haven’t totally mastered that yet.
You also have to be somewhat consistent in the way that you talk. If you say words differently each time you say them, the software has a hard time understanding that those words are the same.
Here are a few things that have helped me get started in training the software for my voice and my environment:
- When you create the user profile, make sure that you do it in the same environment that you will be in when you dictate. Ambient noise can interfere with the process.
- Make sure that you specify the right dictation source. If you are using a usb microphone, choose that one. If you are using wireless bluetooth microphone, choose that one. It really does make a difference so choose this wisely.
- Make sure that you have the proper microphone placement. I have found that having the microphone about a thumbs space away from the corner of your mouth is optimum.
- Consistency is key. Make sure that you place the microphone the same distance each time you use it. Also, practice dictation when it doesn’t matter. In other words, just practice when you aren’t trying to create something like a paper or article.
- When you speak, try and use the same pace, tone and speaking volume. Again, consistency is key when training and using the software.
So far I really like the hands off approach of dictation. I do have to go back at times and make corrections, but all in all it is pretty cool.
You need to understand that speech recognition is not 100% accurate and it will make mistakes that you will need to go back and correct. Right now, I am not so sure that it is helping me save time, but hopefully once I get it setup and working properly I can use it to check off another item on my bucket list.