Mac Speech To Text Dictation Services
Filed in: OSX Software
Mac Speech To Text is a new feature of OSX Mountain Lion. Apple voice recognition and Mac speech recognition has taken a huge step forward in OSX 10.8 and higher. OSX has had some degree of Mac voice recognition capabilities with VoiceOver assistive software in the Speech preferences pane. But now, Mac dictation services take Apple speech recognition to a new level. It allows you to simply say what you want to type in any application that supports text input. That includes not just word processing and text editing apps, but also inside of any web pages which have text fields as well. For example, Apple speech to text capabilities are very handy for filling out online forms, composing a Twitter tweet or FaceBook status update, or dictating a new blog post.
Apple dictation services are not on by default. To enable Mountain Lion speech recognition and OSX speech to text features you must explicitly turn it on in System Preferences. You must also have an active internet connection since your spoken words are transmitted to Apple servers for translation and the resulting text is sent back to your OSX application.
Unlike other standalone speech recognition programs for Mac, dictation in OSX doesn't require any training sessions to recognize your unique vocal patterns, and supports native translation of over a half dozen spoken languages, not just English. Once activated, simply press the FN Function key twice to begin recording your voice pattern, tap the FN key again to transmit it to Apple's servers. After a few seconds of processing, the interpreted text is sent back to your Mac application.
OSX speech recognition isn't perfect, and really supports just a very basic set of punctuation commands. But it can save you a ton of typing once you get the hang of dictation Apple style. It's important to speak with diction and clarity - and have a good quality sound recording mic or USB headset for Mac to insure the highest recognition accuracy possible. I've found dictating just a few sentences at a time works best. Don’t expect Apple's speech to text translator servers to interpret long, long paragraphs. Just give it small, digestible sentences and sequences to process.
Macbook dictation presents a few challenges. Unless you own a very recent MacBook like the Retina display model that has a directional beam-forming microphone array built-in, the built-in microphone under they keyboard on most Mac laptops aren't ideal for speech to text recording. The MacBook's internal mic also has a tendency to pick up keypress sounds and hand movements as you use Mountain Lion text to speech, which isn't desirable. Use of Mac compatible OSX dictation headset or external Mac compatible microphone can improve Macbook speech recognition and minimize any errors. The more accurate the speech pattern recording is, the less editing that will be needed to correct any misinterpretations.