Great dictator

If you’ve never had a chance to try out text input via speech recognition, Jon Udell has captured his own attempts at using the latest release of Dragon – NaturallySpeaking 8. He was pretty upbeat about the experience and you can see why here – just wait for the text to unfurl and self-correct or propose word solutions. He concludes:

It’s been a couple of years since I tried dictation, so what you’re seeing in that video is basically a new user of the product learning not only how to dictate but also how to edit with voice commands. Training, prior to this video, was minimal. I spent a few minutes reading a prepared text. But I declined the offer to have Dragon absorb samples of my writing, and just dove right in. The result was, by far, the best out-of-the-box experience I’ve ever had with this technology.

Subsequently I let Dragon read all of the weblog postings I’ve written in the last couple of years. Following that, I dictated and sent an email message, reasonably efficiently and in a completely hands-free manner. That’s something I’ve never done before.

Will I become a regular user? Probably not. I’ve learned to manage my RSI problem with a regime of stretching and exercise. I can still produce correct copy much faster with my fingers than with my voice, and much of the editing I do involves constructs (XHTML markup, programming-language punctuation) that aren’t (yet) open to voice command. Still, it’s great to know that if I want to give my hands a rest now and then, there’s an alternate way to produce prose.

Andrew Joscelyne
European, a language technology industry watcher since Electric Word was first published, sometime journalist, consultant, market analyst and animateur of projects. Interested in technologies for augmenting human intellectual endeavour, multilingual méssage, the history of language machines, the future of translation, and the life of the digital mindset.

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