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New Word Dictation Tool

by Shirley Lawson

on Thu Jul 20, 2017

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Microsoft has a new speech recognition plug-in which can be used in Word, Outlook email and Powerpoint. It can even translate your words to different languages which could be a useful practice tool for students with English as an Additional Language.

It was easy to download and install Dictation as an Add-in.  I have done a bit of testing on a Windows PC and laptop using a Word document, email and a presentation slide and found it to be surprisingly accurate.  I have never really had much success with Windows in-built speech recognition but this Cortana browser powered version seems better.  Once activated the Dictation tab replaces the previous Add-In tab so if you have Word Talk installed it will now appear under the Dictation tab (which could be confusing).

On one Windows laptop we had zero success. The Dictation tab appeared on the Top Ribbon, Dictate appeared as an Active Add in, microphone was working but not one word appeared in the document. After much testing and re-installing, still nothing would appear so the team decided this was an isolated device issue not the Dictation tool.)

08 August update: We are getting further reports of this tool not working on certain devices with different versions of Word. As Dictate is a Microsoft Garage project it is not formally supported which means there is no technical support or advice offered by Microsoft on these issues. We are looking into it further and will report back shortly.  I have had success on a PC running Windows 10 Pro using Word 2016 and on a laptop running Windows 10 Home also using Word 2016.

Using Dictation for Translation

To use the translation tool, click on the Dictation tab and set the dropdown menu to the language you want to translate into.   I dictated this in English with the English – French translation on.

Pour le petit dejeuner, j’ai eu quelques toasts et café . Et quelques fruits.  À midi je vais aller faire un tour dans les magasins. Et je vais obtenir le train maison à 06:00.  Cette traduction de l’anglais au Français semble bien fonctionner.

Actual spoken text

"For breakfast I had some toast and coffee and some fruit.  At lunchtime I am going to go to the  shops.  And I am going to take the train home at 6 o’clock. This English to French translation seems to be working well".

Google Translate

Pour le petit-déjeuner, j'avais du pain grillé et du café et des fruits. À l'heure du déjeuner, je vais aller aux magasins. Et je vais prendre le train à la maison à 6 heures du matin. Cette traduction de l'anglais vers le français semble fonctionner bien

Accuracy of dictation versus accuracy of translation? A discuter!  .......to be discussed :)

Tags: speech recognition, word, learning tools

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