Speech to text: dictation technology improves

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Dictation technology
Speech to text is a useful tool which is becoming more accurate. Photo: Philips SpeechLive

Dictation technology such as “speech to text” is becoming more advanced and more useful. Bundaberg Now technology guru Geoff Augutis from Queensland Computers shares his thoughts.

It may be hard to believe that technology-based dictation systems have been around for almost 70 years, first coming to light with the “Audrey” system in 1952.

For many of us even in the last couple of decades, our first experience with this software was less than fantastic.

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This caused users to abandon the idea early in the piece and honestly many never looked back.

Fast forward to 2019 and the opportunities that today’s technology have in store are quite a different story.

There are subtle differences between the brands and versions of your device. Having said that if you own a smartphone it will most likely have a fully-fledged dictation system built in and ready to go.

Namely “Dictation” on Apple devices and “Google Keyboard” on Android.

Some things to remember when delving into dictation technology:

Speak clearly: You only get out what you put in. Don’t change your voice to sound fake but try to speak clearly and well-paced in your own voice.

Fiddle with the settings: Within the settings area of your device there will be specific settings around voice and text. This is also relevant when having your device read back to you.

Where possible try to select the voice that works well with your background/accent.

Punctuate: Just because we are not typing doesn’t mean we can ignore punctuation. Don’t forget to use words to say, “full stop”, “new line”, “new paragraph” etc.

Be patient: dictation software learns.

When you first start using it you will find that it will make some errors.

Ensure that you correct these errors and persist.

Your hard work will be rewarded with improved accuracy as the system gets better and better.

It will never be 100 per cent but neither is our typing.

While you can deep dive into your chosen device or tool, the key thing is to keep using speech to text.

It may take some time to get it right but once it is functional you will never look back.

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