Thursday, April 18, 2024

Speech to Text and Me


Speech to Text and Me

Speech to text has been around for a while. This amazing technology, when it works properly, can enable us to do more things since we can give voice commands rather than stopping what we are doing in order to type away at a keyboard.

Most people don’t really use this feature, even if they have access to it. For example, we know that Google has had the speech to text feature for some time. Most phones have it. I’ve used it and yes, it gets stuff wrong all the time. It’s often easier to type than use voice talk or SIRI.

Now, let’s add one more degree of difficulty. Try repeating everything another person is saying while he or she is speaking, dictating it into your speech to text program. How well do you think you will do? Yesterday I experienced how difficult it is to speak clearly, almost simultaneously with another person while repeating what they just said. My brain understood what they said and it was easy to repeat most of it but some words or phrases got lost or changed when I actually tried it. Man, it was tougher than I expected it to be!

Can’t picture it? Think of watching a film for the first time in another language. Now, you are the person dubbing one of the characters in front of a LIVE audience. There are no re-takes. No rewinds. No do-overs. Take a deep breath and … go! Good luck!

speech to textI passed the initial test but I definitely wasn’t happy with my performance. Since I wasn’t happy with how I did on that test, I decided to try it at home. My computer has Speech to Text capability so I didn’t have to worry about typing.

How is it going? I’m on my sixth attempt, in the first 30 seconds of the same video and the darned document has an error on almost every other line. And I thought I spoke clearly!

Thankfully, the program can be taught to understand my particular way of speaking. However, I know that I need to work on making my speech clearer since the machine can’t get it and that means trouble unless I improve faster.

Thinking of it positively: this is a great practice! This will be useful if I do dubbing or translation work. In the meantime, practice, practice, practice.

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