I have only recently discovered Google’s speech to text solution and although I can type fast, this is even faster, and there are a number of other advantages
Choose the most suitable language — it is important
First, you need a Chrome browser and a Google or YouTube account (these two are nowadays the same). After logging in, click on Google docs, then on “Tools” and on “Voice Typing”.
Now you have a little box on your left with a grey microphone inside and at the top, you can change the language.
Make sure you choose the right option, otherwise you will not get good results.
English is not my first language and I have a foreign accent, but I have lived in the UK for a long time and UK English works fine for me, whereas US English does not. Whenever I am not writing in English, however, I need to switch to German or it won’t work at all.
After you have chosen the right language, click on the grey mike. It will turn red and you are ready to go. Any texts that you create now, will be saved in the “Google Drive” cloud.
By the way: my laptop’s built-in microphone works fine and there is no need to buy expensive gadgets.
If you want to know more details, you can look them up on this info website.
Another tip: punctuation marks work best if you say them quickly after the last word, otherwise they might be turned into text.
I guess speech recognition will work better for some accents then for others and if your experience is different from mine, I would love to hear about it.
You could avoid writer’s block by speaking instead of typing
“Writer’s block” is an issue for many, but I have never heard of “speaker’s block” – and speaking is what you are actually doing here.
Speech recognition can be helpful for anyone, who like me tends to over- analyze, which sometimes made it difficult for me to finish anything in the past.
You can still go back and edit after having created text via speech recognition, but I have noticed I am not double-checking as much as I used to and I get a lot more writing done like this.
It is also often said it is best to “write as you speak” and what better way could there be to do just that and speak?
Preventing monotony and repetitive strain injury
Another thing I like about speech recognition is that it gives me more variety.
I have found that it inspires my creativity and prevents boredom.
In addition, too much typing can lead to wrist problems, eye strain, back and neck pain and other physical problems.
Speech to text even allows me to occasionally close my eyes while I’m talking whenever I feel like it.
You will get correct spelling straight away, at least as far as Google’s dictionary permits and so far, I have not found any problems with this.
There will, of course, be natural limits, for example with proper names and unusual words. A few errors will always occur, but I never worry about them and simply correct everything manually as I go.
One of the biggest benefits is the simplicity.
I guess there is more sophisticated software out there, but I am neither up for a steep learning curve nor can I afford to spend a lot of money for something that might not even work better than this.
Speech recognition can also help people with certain disabilities, who would otherwise not be able to type texts on their own.
Last but not least, I have my own, special reason for using the speech to text option: when I was younger, I sometimes worked as a typist, because I thought it might allow me to develop skills that would come in handy later —fast touch-typing is indeed helpful for translators as well as writers.
During my work as a typist, however, I noticed that only seemingly “really important” people were allowed to have their texts typed by somebody else and when I started writing myself, I had this vague feeling I wasn’t important and good enough to write.
Having my texts typed for me has done wonders for my self-esteem and it has brought my writing to the next level — especially because my typist is not a human being, but a machine.
In my opinion, we should all get rid of menial, repetitive tasks as much as we want and need so that we can focus more on our creativity.
Coming up with more creative solutions will become even more important in future. Just think of all the jobs that are being made redundant — not just those of typists — and there will definitely be more, especially the unskilled ones that require us to follow someone else’s orders.
We need more new, creative solutions in various areas of life, not just to develop more meaningful jobs, but also to deal with the many challenges we are facing in the world.
Unfortunately, most people fear nothing more than change. So why not start by changing something rather simple like speech to text?
I am enjoying it a lot, and this doesn’t mean I am using it all the time. Instead, I prefer a mixture of dictating, my own touch-typing and sometimes handwritten corrections on a printout.
It is this freedom of choice that I love most.