June 9, 2014

Speech to Text Software for Blogging

For those of you who are bloggers, have any of you tried using speech to text software when you write blog posts? I'm not quite sure why I have been thinking about it lately; it might just be the opportunity to try something different. I am using the dictation capabilities built-in to the Mac operating system to dictate this post. It works fairly well for what it is, but I have been thinking about trying one of the more advanced products from Nuance.

I have never been able to type very quickly or accurately, and there is something appealing about being able to write a post as fast as I can speak it. The accuracy of even this basic speech to text function is fairly impressive. I expected I'd see a few errors by now, but nothing yet. Adding punctuation as I speak - even though I am not at all used to doing so - is proving to be much easier than I thought it would be. So far I have to say that the experience of speaking a post aloud rather than typing it is fairly different than what I'm used to. I wonder if I'd be able to write more in less time if I got used to it.

I believe the name of the software that I'm considering is Dragon Dictate 4, as I think that's the product that is designed to work with the Mac OS (the PC version is called Dragon NaturallySpeaking). The reviews of Dragon Dictate 4 on Amazon.com are mixed, but I have read several positive reviews by those who review software for a living for various magazines and websites. The consensus seems to be that it is quite accurate and runs well on modern computers.

From what I can tell so far, the primary limitation of the speech to text software built into the Mac operating system is that there's no way to train it. And yet, so far it seems to be working well enough that I'm not sure how big of a deal that would be. Of course, the more full-featured version of the software does other things like open programs by voice command and transcribe audio files. The first of these does not strike me as being terribly useful in my case; however, I can imagine that being able to transcribe audio files could be quite useful for work.

If you have any experience using either of these Dragon programs or any other speech to text software, especially if you have tried it for blogging, I would love to hear from you and see if you think it is worthwhile.

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