Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Speech recognition and creative writing

Having a bad back (temporarily, I hope) that won't let me sit down for long periods, I have been unable to type as much on my computer as I would normally like. This has driven me to try out the speech recognition software built in to Windows Vista.

My first impression was amazement. I spoke, it wrote. The tutorial system had me reading out a text which said how great speech recognition was - how it is the future of computing. Perhaps I was being brainwashed. But it seemed to work. Anything I said on the subject of speech recognition software it had a good go at transcribing. At the end of day one I was hugely impressed.

Day two wasn't so good. By this time I was starting to stray off the subject of speech recognition software and it was having a hard time interpreting my words. The system needed training. That was what the tutorial system told me. I must persevere.

But the things I wanted it to type, it decided to interpret as commands. And my commands, it decided to type. I tried to go back and edit my mistakes - as this should train the system better to understand me. But my attempts to edit were also misinterpreted. Perhaps it was the edge of stress in my voice, but eventually it stopped understanding me at all. Even when I shouted at it - which I am ashamed to say I did.

Persevere. Yes. That is what I will do. Tomorrow perhaps. Or the day after. As for this blog entry - I'm going about it in the old fashioned way. Keyboard.

But if you are a writers with experience of using speech recognition software in creative work, I'd be glad to hear of your experiences. Should I press on?

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