For those of you who want your computer to just write what you say

I’ve been keeping an eye on the search keyword list for this blog. The hits are typically from search phrases like “technical writing” “masters degree” and “agile documentation.”

But one phrase that I found interesting was “just write what I say.” I would guess that the person is seeking voice recognition or speech recognition software, specifically verbal transcription tools. I suppose Dragon NaturallySpeaking is the first product that comes to mind, but there are OS-based options as well. I like their product’s tagline, “Turn talk… into text!” so props to them and a link.

Speech recognition can be integrated into certain programs on Windows XP SP1, such as Microsoft Word and Notepad, as this article from September 2003 describes, but you need Microsoft Speech Recognition Engine v5.0 and naturally, a microphone and hardware that can take in the speech sounds.

Mac OS X has speech recognition integrated as well, and you can even play chess with the computer giving it voice commands, according to this web page.

So, I’m writing this post to gather some traffic but offer useful information while collecting those hits. Give back, I say. Let me know if you found this information useful.


  • September 24, 2007 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    I ‘ve used Dragon Naturally Speaking for several years and am using it now. It is only recently, however, that it has passed a tipping point of being actually useful. That is, extensive training is no longer necessary, and the number of mistakes has been so reduced that correction no longer takes longer than simply typing.

    I have always viewed having an electronic typewriter as being a killer application for the computer. That is, if one could simply talk to the computer and have it type, everyone would have to have one.

    That day is not yet here, but is rapidly approaching. Now, if the computer could only tell me what latchkey children did while I was away from home…

  • September 25, 2007 - 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for commenting!

    I love that you used the voice recognition product to comment. It’s great to read something that was “written” using Dragon Naturally Speaking and see if I could detect the text as spoken word rather than written word. In the case of your comment, the only oddity I noticed was that the first apostrophe in “I’ve” appears as a backwards single apostrophe, and that is a nit pick of astronomic proportions. Otherwise it’s undetectable, although I do wonder if I would tend to “write” differently if I had to speak it aloud all the time. There’s a stylistic difference and most of us couldn’t detect it.

    As for those latchkey children, there’s always the creepy teddy bear nanny cam product with the web cam installed in its eye. Spooky! 🙂

  • September 26, 2007 - 10:10 pm | Permalink

    wow, you’re really tearing it up with both AuthorIT and Joomla at the same time. How do you keep your head from exploding from all the new knowledge you’re taking in!

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