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Writing Blog Archive 2014







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Dictation Software - September 2014 - First Draft




     Recently there have been a lot of threads about purchasing dictation software. I wanted to save people money by showing them that in most cases it part of their OS (Operating System). With very few exceptions every computer out there has dictation software installed on it from the factory.

     On the Mac/Apple side if you have Mt. Lion (10.8) or Mavericks (10.9) you are good to go. To find out what you are running CLICK on the Apple icon at the top left hand side of your screen and CLICK “About this Mac.”

*Apple Operating Systems
    CLICK on System Preferences (should be in your dock, if not its in your Application folder). You will see an icon “Dictation and Speech” listed under System. (Sometimes it is listed in another group.)

CLICK on the Dictation tab at the top, CLICK On.
     You can change the default Shortcut key to be anything you want.
(As a side note I recommend that you setup the Text to Speech function while you are there. Very handy for reading back what you’ve written.)
     Microphone - Do you have a laptop with a built in camera? If so you are covered. If you are using a desktop you will need to attach a microphone.
     Open the word processing program of your choice (Scrivener, Word, Nexus, Text, etc.) activate your shortcut, and begin speaking. Even with background noise it works great. :)

     On the PC side if you have XP or anything newer you are covered. (Let me just say if you are still using XP PLEASE don’t have it connected to the internet!)

*Microsoft Windows XP
    CLICK on your Start button (bottom left), CLICK on “Control Panel,” DOUBLE CLICK “System Properties.” You will see the OS listed under System, mine says Microsoft Windows XP. (NOTE: You must have a microphone attached and installed in order to use speech recognition.)

Steps to activate dictation:
  1. CLICK Start, and then CLICK Run.
  2. TYPE: control mmsys.cpl sounds in the Open box,


    Image

  1. and then PRESS enter. The “Sounds, Speech, and Audio Devices” window is displayed.
  2. CLICK Speech in the “Sounds, Speech, and Audio Devices” window.
  3. NOTE: If you do not have a “Sounds, Speech, and Audio Devices” window, but have a “Sounds and Audio Devices”

    Image

  4. window instead, the speech component may be in a separate window. In this case, follow these steps:
    1. CLICK Start, and then CLICK Run.
    2. TYPE: control in the Open box, and then PRESS Enter.
    3. DOUBLE-CLICK Speech.
  5. LOOK for the “Speech Recognition” tab. If the “Speech Recognition” tab is available in “Speech Properties,” the speech recognition engine is installed. If it is not available, the engine is not installed.

Install speech recognition engine
    1.CLICK Start, and then CLICK Run.
    2.TYPE: control appwiz.cpl add new hardware in the Open box, and then PRESS Enter. The “Add or Remove Programs” window is displayed.
    3.CLICK “Microsoft Office XP,” and then CLICK Change. (This assumes you have MS Office XP installed, look for any version of Office.)
    4.CLICK “Add or Remove Features,” and then CLICK Next.
    5.Under “Features to install,” DOUBLE-CLICK “Office Shared Features.”
    6.DOUBLE-CLICK “Alternative User Input,” CLICK Speech, CLICK the down arrow, and then CLICK “Run from My Computer.”
    7.CLICK Update. Speech recognition is now available in all Office programs and other programs for which it is enabled, such as Internet Explorer.

If you receive an error when you install speech recognition, or if you cannot install it, go to the "Next Steps" section.Which is Microsoft speak for you’ re screwed. :(

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     Train the speech recognition engine
     To determine whether your speech recognition engine supports training, and to start the training if it does support training, follow these steps:
  1. CLICK Start, and then CLICK Run.
  2. TYPE: control mmsys.cpl sounds in the Open box, and then PRESS Enter. The “Sounds, Speech, and Audio Devices” window is displayed.
  3. CLICK Speech in the “Sounds, Speech, and Audio Devices” window.
  4. NOTE: If you do not have a “Sounds, Speech, and Audio Devices” window, but have a “Sounds and Audio Devices” window instead, the speech component may be in a separate window. In this case, follow these steps:
          A.CLICK Start, and then CLICK Run.
          B.TYPE: control in the Open box, and then PRESS Enter.
          V.DOUBLE-CLICK Speech.
4.CLICK the “Speech Recognition” tab, and then CLICK the Speech Recognition Engine that you want to use in the Language box.
5.CLICK the Profile that you want to use from the Recognition Profile” group. Training is specific to an engine and a profile. Therefore, if you train one engine or profile, this training does not affect any other engine or profile.
6. CLICK “Train Profile,” and then follow the directions in the Voice Training Wizard. If your engine does not support training, Train Profile” is not available. For additional information click on this article on "how to use speech recognition in Windows XP."
  • *Microsoft Windows 7

    1. To find out if you are using Win 7 as your OS follow these steps:

    CLICK the Start button, TYPE: Computer in the Search Box, RIGHT-CLICK “Computer,” and then CLICK Properties.
    Look under Windows Edition for the version and edition of Windows that your PC is running.

    Activating Speech Recognition:
    1.Open Speech Recognition by CLICKING the Start button, CLICKING “Control Panel”, CLICKING “Ease of Access”, and then CLICKING “Speech Recognition."
    2.CLICK Take Speech Tutorial.
    3. Follow the instructions in the Speech Recognition tutorial. (NOTE: You must have a microphone attached and installed to your computer>in order to use speech recognition.)

  • *Microsoft Windows 8

    1. To find out if you are using Win 8 as your OS follow these steps:

    CLICK the Start button, TYPE: Computer in the Search Box, RIGHT-CLICK “Computer,” and then CLICK Properties.
    Look under Windows Edition for the version and edition of Windows that your PC is running.

    Activating Speech Recognition
    1.CLICK Start button
    2.CLICK on “Control Panel”
    3. CLICK on “Speech Recognition”
    4.CHOOSE your microphone type (NOTE: you must have a microphone in order to use dictation)
    5.READ the sentence allowed, so the computer can get the right volume on your microphone.
    6.CHOOSE which activation mode you want
    7.PRINT out the list of commands if you desire
    8.Have dictation activate on start up 
    9.You should see a small window at the top of your desktop if everything went correctly.
    10. When it says LISTENING you can start to control your computer.  
    11. Open your word processing program and start speaking. :)

         There is a bit of a learning curve with Windows, the better the microphone the better it “hears,” and the less mistakes it makes. I have to admit though I couldn’t get it to understand “return” and I was using a professional recording microphone. :( Also the “training” of your computer is a bit on the tedious side - and you may have to do it several times and even then its less than perfect. I found that my environment had to be completely quiet in order for it to work.

         Apple on the other hand takes no “training” and the more you use it, it will understand you better and better with fewer mistakes. It “listens” for thirty seconds at a time, then it will display what you have said. If you want to see what you have dictated without waiting, simply CLICK the Done button and all of your words will appear on the screen.

         So there you have it, an inexpensive way to use dictation with your computer. In fact I wrote this using dictation and some cut and pasting - it was easy!



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