Dictate blind

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The best way for me to dictate is without looking at the computer.  Watching the speech recognition program convert my ramblings into words and get them wrong every single time… No.  If I watch the computer try to recognize words and piece them together, I get this urge to jump in there and start correcting it .  As you may remember from reports that you had to do in high school or essays that you needed to write in college, editing while you’re writing is a very bad idea.  So instead of watching the words scroll across the screen, I close my eyes and dictate.  I just trust that the computer will get it right.

Once I get the key idea out of my hand, then it’s time to go back and look at all the misspellings and the incorrect translations.  And then I take my writing hat off to put my editing hat on.  I’m not yet any faster than I would be if I were just typing.  Part of it is due to some corrections I need to make, and I hope they’ll be fewer and fewer as the computer gets more used to how I say things.

Most of the advertising for speech recognition programs like Dragon NaturallySpeaking talks about the difference between the number of words per minute that you can speak and the number of words per minute that you can type. Although that speedup is interesting and I hope that I eventually get into it, that’s not what my first goal is.  I know that I’m going to start out slower.  I know that I’m going to spend time editing, I’m going to spend time correcting. I’m going to spend time just thinking what to say.  I’ve got all these habits to unlearn.  I’ve gotten used to typing.

The benefit that I’m really looking for here is increased immediacy.  Intimacy.  Conversation.  When I write, I sometimes find myself falling into a writing voice.  Granted, when I speak, I’m a little formal.  But maybe if I switch to mainly talking things out, I’ll give my blog posts, my articles, this book that I’m writing, just that extra touch of making things personal.

Maybe I’ll also learned how to speak in a way that makes sense.  Maybe I’ll learn how to structure the entire sentence before I start saying it, for one.  Maybe I’ll find myself dropping all those “you knows”, “likes”, and other verbal crutches I sometimes use.

And who knows?  Maybe this will be the thing that gets me to slow down when I’m speaking.  Maybe if I become more comfortable with the idea of dictation, I’ll get used to it, and I’ll just be speaking at my regular excited rate and then I’ll be pouring 200 words a minute into it. That would be interesting . =)

But it all starts with baby steps.  Training the recognizer to understand my words, training myself to think of sentences before I say them, learning how to say the punctuation, thinking of what I have to say…  Well, I’ll give it a try.  We’ll see what happens.  And if it works, it’ll be an awesome tool in my kit.  We’ll see.

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