Have you tried speech-to-text or voice-typing software?
Of course, you have. Me? As usual, I’m late to join the trend. But I’ve found a great use for the app.
Last summer, I overheard someone dictating an email into her phone. She spoke out loud the commands for punctuation and paragraph formatting and all that, and I thought – huh. So that’s a thing, is it?
A few weeks later, while using my tablet, I opened an email pertaining to an ongoing and frustrating issue. I was peeved and ranted to Reiner.
My mini-tantrum included hand gestures and I waved the tablet about.
Rant over, I returned to the tablet to close the email. But what’s this? On the screen I found a long, rambling, word-for-word account of my entire tirade!
What I hadn’t realized was that I had accidentally hit “reply”. Not only that, I had hit the little microphone icon!
You can imagine that I breathed a great sigh of relief that I hadn’t accidentally hit the “send” button, too!
That was my first adventure with speech-to-text software.
Last week an author observed how her diction had improved while dictating her novel for an audio-book. The conversation turned to favourite apps, and that’s how I stumbled upon speechnotes.
The freeware is a godsend for transcribing a collection of 100-year-old letters that were donated to the Cobalt Historical Society. Since the letters are in their original envelopes, the pages are permanently creased and do not lie flat. These artifacts must be handled as little as possible, with great care, and with gloved hands.
But I don’t have enough hands to hold the documents open and type at the same time. That’s where the speech-to-text program is incredibly helpful.
The output, of course, requires fine tuning to correct errors. Some are caused by my poor diction. I am learning to enunciate and to dictate slowly.
The illegible handwriting and florid speech make for some bizarre translations, too. One letter written by a lawyer contains legal jargon, in Latin, and a biblical quotation for good measure!
You can imagine what the software had to say about this paragraph where the writer instructs his law partner to keep the story to himself:
Friend of mine of former days arrived here on Friday via North Bay Redwater and Ben Palmer’s sleigh. He is a shoemaker of nomadic propensities – much addicted to the habit of praying in public places and preaching in Baptist churches and Country School houses. He arrived half frozen in a normal condition of bankruptcy and brought nothing in with him but his nerve. He struck a job immediately upon his arrival for which I am truly and indecipherable droontly [?] thankful. However, this is tab rosa [?] “Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Ashkelon…”
It occurred to me last night, though, as I transcribed another of the lawyer’s letters, that binge noshing on licorice allsorts at the same time was probably not a good idea.
Especially since I am greatly annoyed by folks who talk and eat at the same time!