The challenges of using speech-to-text software
I’ve always written all my articles by hand. But now I’m trying something new, using Dragon Naturally Speaking to dictate my articles. It’s an interesting challenge and I’m going to share my experiences with you.
I can’t tell if it’s because I haven’t had enough sleep, or because this is just so new to me, but the first thing I’m noticing is that it’s somewhat difficult to sit here talking to the computer. Maybe there’s just something about it makes me feel odd. I suppose for some people, including myself, it can feel a little odd just sitting and talking to a computer screen. There’s something about it that just feels wrong, like you’re sitting around talking to yourself. It makes me feel a little bit crazy, even though I know it’s not. I wonder if I’m the only person who’s ever felt this way the first time they use dictation software.
I decided to get the software and start using it because I have trouble with my wrists and typing for long periods of time can be very painful. I wanted something that would save me from the discomfort of typing. I also wanted something that could get my thoughts out on into a document faster than I could write by hand or type. Dictation software seemed like a fantastic idea. Unfortunately, it’s not turning out to be as quick as I thought it would be. Hopefully over time my comfort will increase and so will my speed.
I think part of my problem also lies in the fact that I have to keep looking at the screen to make sure the software is properly typing what I’m saying. I’ll give Dragon credit for one thing though; it’s far more accurate at this early stage than my old ViaVoice ever was. I suppose I probably need to give it a bit more training and then I won’t have to worry so much about reading the screen all the time. Right now I spend a lot of my time saying “correct that” and “delete that”. Part of that might be due to the fact that I keep stuttering and stumbling. This is only my second day with the program, and I’m not very comfortable expressing my thoughts to the computer yet.
I’m hoping that as I get more accustomed to the program things will come with a greater deal of ease. I know that I can speak and think far more quickly than I can type, so if I can get this program really working, I should be able to increase my productivity. Other than saving my wrists from the pain, increasing my productivity was one of the major reasons why I got the software. Currently I do about 14 to 20 articles a week and I was hoping that with this software I could increase that to 30 or more per week. Since I’m supporting myself by working from home, producing more content and earning more money is very important.
I wonder what it is about sitting here talking to the computer like this that makes me feel so odd and causes my thoughts to stop in my head. I’m sitting here creating this article with the software just so I can get used to it and hopefully increase my level of comfort. When I was looking around on the internet last night, reading articles by people who were using the same software, I didn’t see anything that suggested anyone else was having this particular issue. Maybe I’m the only one.
One of the other difficulties I’m facing is that the software is just a little bit too good. Well, either that or my bird is too good. I keep seeing “cheep cheep pretty baby” appear on my screen. My pet bird seems to enjoy having his mommy in the room talking, and so he’s talking back. Unfortunately, the software is typing everything he says to me. In a way it’s annoying, but in a way it’s also rather cute. I guess it means he speaks quite clearly. Hopefully he won’t be too much of a chatterbox, or else my articles are going to come out looking very odd. On the up side, at least he’s never learned how to say any bad words.
I guess I just have to keep working with the software, and get more used to talking to the computer. I suppose in time I should be able to talk to the computer with as much ease as I think. When that happens, I know I’ll be able to rattle off many articles each day. I’m sometimes amazed at the number of article ideas that run through my head over the course of the day. If I can get used to chattering my ideas into the microphone on a regular basis, I’ll soon have more articles than I even know what to do with.