Question

Do you use dictation tools, or transcription services, instead of typing?

There’s dictation built into every modern operating system, powered by the same speech recognition behind Siri, Google Now, and Cortana. It’s reasonably good at least for short text. Then there are still professional dictation tools like Dragon Dictate, along with transcription services to turn your voice into text.

Do you use any of them in your work? Do you use voice actions to control your computer? Or do you still find it faster to type (and perhaps speed up typing with text expanders)?

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MorganJLopes's avatar
a month ago

Otter (https://otter.ai/) is great for voice transcription. It's a great way to kickoff an article or quickly organize thoughts. I use their 'Export to Dropbox' feature often, though wish it happened by default.

I use voice actions (life Siri) most often while driving. When I'm in front of a keyboard, I stick with typing.

5 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @MorganJLopes )
a month ago

Oh neat, do you find it's accurate enough to publish without editing? And does it let you "teach it" new words such as product names?

2 points
MorganJLopes's avatar
@MorganJLopes (replying to @maguay )
a month ago

No, I've always had to 'tighten up'.

2 points
maguay's avatar
a month ago

Personally, I use dictation often to text while walking, and find it great for short common phrases, hit-and-miss for longer messages. And if it gets one word wrong, the odds of everything after that going off track are much higher.

I also find dictation handy as a bilingual person (English + Thai), where my Thai typing skills are poor so dictation helps fill in the gap. What is even better there for messaging though is voice messages, which feel like an increasingly common way to chat.

From a work perspective, a few years back my team had tested a handful of dictation tools, and the built-in dictation in Google Docs actually came out the best. I'd assume that's similar to the dictation in Android, but in Docs it also supports some editing commands which made it rather handy.

4 points
Vlachbild's avatar
a month ago

Used Dragon Anywhere for quite some time, and it was nice. But limited export-options and slow software made the whole package to expensive for me, especially since they wanted to charge extra for desktop. Now occasionally searching for some nice toll that does mobile and desktop well, and understand my German with Austrian accent ;) [Otter would probably be great, but sadly doesnt understand German]

3 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @Vlachbild )
29d

Dictation that could handle any language with a non-native accent, and then also let you combine languages in the same sentence, would be amazing. Alas: Somehow I doubt we'll ever see dictation software that good.

2 points
Avi's avatar
a month ago

Have been trying this for decades. Really. I think I can provide interesting input here because I'm trying to dictate in either Hebrew or with English with an Israeli accent :( True story - I found out I do have an accent only after having an American born team worker to check whether I.B.M. Via Voice really doesn't work. For here - it did :)
iPhone etc. works great. Speak and correct, speak and correct. In both languages.
Windows doesn't work for me.
Nuance (Dragon) - tried many versions. Not worth the hassle.
Transcription - Listen by Code is great. Even for transcribing multi-users meetings in Hebrew! But - needs many corrections. I'm using Sonocent Audio Notetaker for this.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @Avi )
a month ago

Fascinating, thank you for sharing!

Surprised to hear Nuance/Dragon didn't work well; I would have assumed it would perform better based on its price tag and positioning.

On the latter, accurate transcription for multiple people at once would be awesome.

1 point
Avi's avatar
@Avi (replying to @maguay )
a month ago

Nuance does not work with Hebrew, which iOS does. I almost never use the iPhone's keyboard except for correcting my dictated email messages, whatsapp ones and so on.
Additionally, Nunace was "heavy". I had to invest in a best-of-breed microphone, it took many resources on my computer, and its integration with Windows applications never "flowed", at least for me.

2 points
pendolino's avatar
a month ago

Mostly iphone dictation for some messages and short notes but I've really not utilised its full abilities I think. I use Otter for recording meetings and calls (integrates with Zoom) sometimes and the transcription could be better though workable. I think voice tools still have a long way to go to smoothly integrate with workflows but there's progress.

2 points
hjevans's avatar
24d

Used IBM's ViaVoice back in the day and was a long-time Dragon user in the past as well. Both had issues but were good for extended dictation sessions.
Currently, I actively use Siri on my iPhone and iPad and they work well and are fast and accurate when speaking clearly (as a male, native English speaker).
The Mac built-in dictation works fair, I find that it is slow to turn on & off, maybe that's related to the speed of my MacBook Pro 2016 but it's really not that usable for quick dictation imho. And for longer sessions it's not as accurate.
I tried using voice control on all devices and it didn't work too well imho. And on the iPad it was putting in my text two times when dictating (a known bug).
Long story short, when I want to do more dictation, I pick up my iPad and do it on there vs. using my laptop.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @hjevans )
22d

Fascinating how older dictation tools were better for long sessions, and modern dictation tools are better for short sessions. Perhaps it’s what each were built for—modern dictation is generally tied to voice assistants like Siri, while older dictation software was aimed at desktop work. Would be interesting to see more of a focus on the latter.

I use dictation for texting and other short text entry tasks on iPhone all the time, but almost never use it on Mac.

2 points
DCasha's avatar
a month ago

We trialed Gong for 3 months (this is a standard offering) and it worked great.

1 point
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