Monday, July 9, 2012

Typing With Your Voice using Google Voice Typing

This would be the first time I've ever tried to write a blog posting without ever typing. This is also third time that I've ever tried use Google Voice Typing. It's all a little bit like 'Star Trek'.  Instead of sitting at a keyboard, you are staring at a small screen speaking clearly to the program, I'm sorry everyone calls them apps see that didn't work omation point delete. See it's not quite perfect yet.

That was because for about 5 minutes while I try to convince this machine to do some basic editing that I could of done with keyboard. Still, all in all, it works fairly well. It has a little bit of trouble with my accent, whatever accent it is that I have at the moment.  I have found that I can't speak in a normal fashion, I'm doing what the Voice of America used to call Special English.

For those of us who didn't have a shortwave radio, Voice of America had programming where they would speak slowly. Each word would have an audible gap between, and sentences would be spoken in discrete words, one after another. It made for a slow listening experience, but it would make for an easier learning experience for a non English speakers.

I can't say that it's perfect but it's better than nothing. I'm finding that Google Voice Typing is good for getting rough text in that I have to go backwards and re-edit.  It also works better with some programs than others. Having seen voice recognition software progress through the years as programs got better and computers got faster I could say that this would be a lot worse in your situation certainly would of been a lot worse a few years back.

It also would help if I had the documentation so I could read the manuals and figure out how to make it do simple things like a new paragraph or a blank space, you know very basic editing. I think this is basically the pig has already been taught to sing but not terribly well, like in the Robert Heinlein quote: “Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig.”

Or something or other like that.  Clearly the pig that has to be trained is the one trying to make it sing, in this case, me.  I will have to go into the settings and tell the program to try to learn my voice.   It should be an interesting exercise of reading nursery rhymes into it and speaking. slowly. into. the. microphone. one. word. at. a. time.

If you do have an Android device, find Settings, then click Language and Input, Voice Search, Personalized Recognition.  That promises to make it a little better at predicting your "turn of phrase".

I'm rapidly learning that I'm not going to be able to do list without hitting the keyboard here and there, and this text will have to be edited on a different machine. I never learned how to use on screen keyboard with any efficiency.  I am a touch typist and I'd strongly would prefer to use a clicky key keyboard that annoys the neighbors in the room any day to touching a dead cold glass service. If you saw some of the errors this was making you be laughing along with me.

I've been told that it's better on an iPad then it is on my Android tablet. I'm not that concerned about the comparison since I don't have an iPad, and the software will only get better as time goes on.  I was told that by an Apple fanboy (you know who you are!) that Siri on the Apple platform is pretty much hands free and you can do anything you wish simply by talking to the machine but that Android is not there yet.  Android is fairly good at what it's doing here, that is other than an occasional mistake it is able to put in text. I'll learn how to use the software better as time goes by.

After all I never did find that manual!  I guess they really haven't replaced the good old keyboard yet for some of us.  I see people hunting and pecking on their smartphones all day long, it just seems slow and a kludge for me, but then again I don't have to use that.  I can be entertained by talking at my phone and my tablet and when I make a mistake I can also watch the tablet type in a dirty word.  Remember, the first words you learn in a foreign language are typically the swear words!

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