Saturday, April 24, 2010

Speech to text

Summer has officially arrived in the UK. There are birds chattering away as if they'd just awoken.

A makeshift team of footballers bludgeon each other on the pitch that underlooks where I live.

And then as only the Brits would do the sun worshippers are out in force.

Me, I'm stuck in my office devising a book chapter, new research and questionnaires I need to send out, and thinking about any number of presentations I need to produce in the next couple of weeks.

But the real revelation this Saturday is my new toy. In fact it's nothing of the sort.

For the post you are reading is being written without me touching a type pad. After weeks of searching, I have finally come by the device that will make my workload easier.

It's called dictate a voice-to-text system in which as I roam around my room speaking on a wireless mike it translates what you're reading.

Saving Time

To say this has cut down on the enormous amount of time it would have taken me to write, sullen by the lack of motivation hopping from one thing to another is an understatement.

In fact I'm beginning to think why anyone should want to type copious notes documents or e-mails ever again.

Occasionally the programme gets a wrong it wrong. And I have to issue a command for it to delete the word.

But most of the time it's a mixture of surreal meets wonderment as I watch the words unfold on the screen. Text-to-speech program have come a long way.

The big difference is you have to learn how to speak in the written form, as well as in intelligible sentences, rather than streams of consciousness.

Relearning how to Speak.

In many ways I'm relying on the previous skill as an on-screen reporter when I only had a couple of minutes to devise a stand-up or piece to camera.

Apart from that I found what helps is to surround myself with things that prompt me to write in a particular way.

That said, I still have to go back on this, proof, re think like a writer, and insert paragraph breaks and collect correct the odd spelling.

But that's nothing compared to my aching fingers after a marathon write.

It's taken me as long to write this as I have spoken it and as I look outside its as if time has stood still; the footballers are still there, as are sun seekers and the birds are still giving it wellie.