Another Attempt at Dictation

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Don Draper from AMC’s Mad Men

Recently, I’ve had to use my arms limited. There’s nothing wrong with them but I didn’t have to hold the small creature in them. This makes it difficult to type. It’s been a few years since I’ve been in such a situation. Fortunately, this is giving me an opportunity to test out the current state of voice dictation.

Yesterday, I dictated my post using Google Docs. The interface was as I remembered. One are the tools available is dictation in different languages and the dialect can be customized. I set mine up for Canadian English. While I am in denial that I have a Canadian accent, some American colleagues might have some doubt “about it.”

Today, I’m trying out Microsoft word. So far, I found a huge leap forward in the quality, accuracy, and speed of the interaction. There are also a few small nuanced changes. For example, when correcting a mist transcription, the microphone remains on and responsive. This makes it easy to use one freehand for fixing a document.

Both Google and Microsoft seem to be good correcting for the uhm and ah that are part of normal speech. They are also a little more forgiving for when you need to correct for something mid word.

It still is a bit awkward to write a document through dictation. I find myself channeling Jean Luc Picard and wanting to say, “captain’s log, supplemental.” It also causes me to look pensively into the abyss and pretend like I’m thinking up something profound.

Just seeing the progress over the past few years with dictation, I’m excited about what lies ahead. It might make much more sense to use voice as a primary input especially for longform writing.

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