To B or not to be.
March 11, 2013 1:22 PM   Subscribe

This might be a very simple question, but it falls into the sort that you cannot seem to Google. Can anyone tell me how, using Apple dictation, it is possible to differentiate different responses to asking for the letter B?

B. (Spoken: "letter B".)
The letter B. (Spoken: "The letter B".)
Let her be. (Spoken: "Let her be.")

Birmingham's best local radio station is BR and B (Spoken: ... "is B R M B")

Birmingham's best local radio station is letter be letter our letter MB. (Spoken: "is letter B letter R letter M letter B").

Is it doing some kind of context aware transliteration? Help!
posted by cromagnon to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
I'm not sure a human being could resolve those differences.

Unless you state "letter b" and then do a global replace for "letter b" to "b".
posted by musofire at 1:37 PM on March 11, 2013

Have you tried this out yet? When I say "the letter B" I tend to get "The letter B" and when I say "I would like to be a superhero" I get just that. In my quick experiments it seems to use the keyword "letter" to resolve ambiguity; I just had it transcribe "Why do I hate the letter Y" (spoken) as "Why do I hate the Y." It's similar to how you can say punctuation out loud to it - "I am not a crook exclamation point" gets you "I am not a crook!"
posted by Tomorrowful at 2:51 PM on March 11, 2013

Yes, I've tried it out. I'm just trying to work work out why the resulting transcription is sporadic. For example, up above I said I got:

B. (Spoken: "letter B".)
The letter B. (Spoken: "The letter B".)

On a second go around, I got:

Letter B (Spoken: "letter B".)
The B (Spoken: "The letter B".)

What I actually need to do is dictate a bunch of correspondence with a lot of uncommon acronyms in them. I was asking about the contextual translations because well-known acronyms transcribe perfectly: BBC NBA PDQ CIA FBI NFL but less well known ones don't work at all.
posted by cromagnon at 3:39 PM on March 11, 2013

Have you tried "capital B" to get just a single letter b? If this is a paid-for program, contact the developers. But I'd bet somewhere in the help files there is a way to call out things like this.
posted by gjc at 3:46 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

That works much better than anything else so far - the capital bit seems to prevent it from trying to interpret an acronym as a word. About 90% effective.

The only help file I have found so far is the obvious one at Apple (it's part of the OS, rather than a standalone program);
posted by cromagnon at 4:29 PM on March 11, 2013

Would adding the acronyms to your contacts list help? My iDevices seem pretty smart about that.
posted by hwickline at 6:35 PM on March 11, 2013

I noticed fairly recently NATO Phonetic Spelling capability went away in Dragon Dictation (for example), but I used to spell things like "Gob Bluth" (for example) like "GOLF OSCAR BRAVO SPACE BRAVO LIMA UNIFORM TANGO HOTEL STOP" and it would get it.

Now, it tries to spell the words out. I kind of wish you could, with Siri, voice recognition, or Dragon (or whatever else comes along), use military voice spelling protocol. Maybe a language setting? *shrug*

Maybe someone knows of something like that. If they do, I'll be able to send my texts from the car again. An that'll be Bravo Zulu, as far as I'm concerned.
posted by phoebus at 11:57 AM on March 12, 2013

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