Time to make a confession: I use voice recognition software. Not always, but often.
Technically it should be ‘speech recognition software‘, but – as often happens with language – the most common usage seems to have become the norm.
Maybe some readers are considering the pros and cons, in which case this post might be helpful.
Which software do I use?
- Dragon Dictate for Mac. I have a friend who uses Dragon Naturally Speaking for PC. Most reports suggest the latter is less buggy.
- Inbuilt Voice to Text with Android OS on my Samsung Galaxy phone.
What do I use it for?
- Constructing SMS or other text messages.
- Writing emails.
- Blogging – initial ideas drafts. It’s not good for hyperlinking.
- Writing fiction – again, for first drafts.
In a nutshell: when it is easy to think and write in a linear fashion, I use it. When I need to creatively edit and engage the Right Hemisphere of my brain, I write differently. So the software becomes cumbersome and any errors interrupt my train of thought. And then I start swearing. Which the program doesn’t recognise because I haven’t trained it to recognise expletives.
- It takes time to train the program to recognise your specific speaking style.
- You have to take time to train it to recognise specific names. But, even then, sometimes it gets stuck in a little loop, determined that you write, e.g. Japan instead of Dupin, for instance. (More mis-spelled swearing ensues.)
- It takes time to tear yourself away from the patterns of work you’re used to: sitting rigid in the chair, staring at the screen while you type (or fingers, if you can’t touch-type). I have to occasionally envisage myself pacing the room with a commanding, corporate air about me. I can live with that.
See a pattern?
Time. For someone of my idea-a-minute brain, the time it takes to train this beast is more than tedious.
On the other hand, it’s a sobering thought – for anyone who relies on their body to work and create – that we can easily wear out our shoulders and necks and arms from this affliction we call creative writing.