VoiceTyping Apps
May 10, 2005 4:36 PM   Subscribe

What's the state of the art in Voice Recognition as a typing substitute?

What's the best application for Windows? Do you still need a special microphone? What kind of accuracy do you get after training? Personal experiences are more than welcome.
posted by signal to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
 
I've just started using Dragon Naturally Speaking. It comes with the headset/microphone. You go through a brief training session when you load it up but you can train it further as you go. Having done no further training (short of what it learns as it goes), I'd say I'm getting about 80% accuracy after three or four uses. My difficulty so far has been with improper punctuation - commas where there shouldn't be and no periods where there should be. There's an option to turn off the automatic punctuation and just speak it but I've not tried that. I also apparently cannot properly say the number 8 so that it does not come out as "eat."

I have hope for this program. I think with a bit more work on my end, it'll improve enough to make it rather useful.
posted by undertone at 5:00 PM on May 10, 2005


If you're outside of the US/Canada, don't bother. No one is producing stuff to cope with other accents.

Also, it's pretty hard on your voice to be talking all day. And it's hard on your co-workers' ears. The keyboard is a much more work-friendly input device.
posted by krisjohn at 5:48 PM on May 10, 2005


Unless you're Russian, then look for something based on Microsoft's engine. Had the hardest bloody time training it to recognize almost everyone, but the three or four Russian guys? Not a problem at all.

I did some project work for my undergraduate thesis advisor on voice recognition platforms, and while I'm hardly an expert, you should be able to expect greater than 95% accuracy with a well trained piece of software in a relatively quiet environment. The problem with using it as your default input device is that very few of us, by default, work in quiet environments. Other voices are all around us, we play music, the phone rings, we want to multi-task while we talk on the phone. The other problem is that 95% accuracy just really isn't all that good. Finding and correcting the mistakes in a long document can add much more time than just typing it correctly in the first place - especially as the software never "spells" anything wrong, everything it writes is a word, just not necessarily the word you want, so you can't just spell check your work.

For people who naturally type slowly, or are unable to type at all, voice recognition is a good alternative. For people who naturally type quickly and well, you're unlikely to find voice recognition faster or easier.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:19 PM on May 10, 2005


If you're outside of the US/Canada, don't bother. No one is producing stuff to cope with other accents.

Actually, I'm in Chile, and I sincerely doubt they take into account all the spanish accents.

Thanks for the information.
posted by signal at 6:55 AM on May 11, 2005


The other problem is that 95% accuracy just really isn't all that good. Finding and correcting the mistakes in a long document can add much more time than just typing it correctly in the first place - especially as the software never "spells" anything wrong, everything it writes is a word, just not necessarily the word you want, so you can't just spell check your work.

Hear hear. I have voice recognition as part of WinXP Tablet Edition. It's pretty good in a "wow, it's amazing that voice recognition is that good" kind of way, but I don't use it for exactly the reasons jacquilynne notes. (Now, handwriting recognition is good enough to use as a substitute, at least when it's not more than a few sentences--that is, it's easier to use handwriting recognition than trying to remember where the last place I left the USB keyboard is.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:08 AM on May 11, 2005


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