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Speech Recognition Top Tips - Part 1

by Allan Wilson

on Wed Mar 19, 2014

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[This is the first blog in an occasional series considering different aspects of the use of speech recognition]

We had some interesting feedback today from a school about a recent loan of a laptop with Dragon NaturallySpeaking software installed for trial use by one of their pupils:

"J had copious notes to write and with time we had thought that the Dragon Naturally Speaking would be the answer but J found it difficult to slow his speech down and would forget to say 'go to sleep' and hilarity would break out as his comments were recorded.

"Although this was an excellent resource J became frustrated as whenever he saw an error on the screen he would make a comment and of course this would then appear on the screen - he was happier to go back to writing!"

This illustrates a couple of key issues about using NaturallySpeaking (and other speech recognition programs::

Image showing Hot Key options in NaturallySpeakingFirst of all, it is important to have a key on the keyboard set up to act as a 'hot' key that can be used to turn the microphone on and off, provided that the person using the system does not have a physical disability which means they have to rely on their voice to control the computer. Using a hot key is usually faster than a voice command and you don't have to worry about a 'go to sleep' command being misinterpreted and appearing as unwanted text. The default is to use the NUMkey +, which is very hard to find on a laptop. We usually suggest using something easy to find, like the Right-Arrow-Key, which is on the bottom right corner of many laptops. In NaturallySpeaking, go to Options and Hot Keys to make the change.

Secondly, it is good to get into the habit of switching off the microphone when you are not dictating. When people are learning to use speech recognition, we encourage them to adopt a strict procedure for dictating:

  1. Think of the sentence you want to dictate.
  2. Turn on the microphone.
  3. Dictate the sentence.
  4. Turn off the microphone.
  5. Check the sentence and decide whether you need to make any corrections.
  6. If you are making corrections by voice, switch on the microphone, correct the text and then switch off the microphone.
  7. Go back to Stage 1 for your next sentence.

Over time it is possible to be more flexible, dictating longer pieces of text, checking as you are dictating, but remember that speech recognition takes a lot of concentration!

Using Speech Recognition to produce text is a serious writing task - you're not having a friendly chat with a computer. The computer tries to interpret anything you say, so avoid laughing and making comments on mistakes.

Tags: Speech Recognition

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