Monday, June 1, 2015

Voice-to-Text, a primer

I love Voice-to-text (V-t-T). As the technology improves, conducting business via V-t-T becomes  easier and more accessible. Business and communication become more portable and that creates more flexibility in how and where we manage our affairs.

For example, I can now write emails and texts while walking my dog. I can give quick answers to questions on my phone without having to get to a keyboard (or use my thumb typing to give answers on my phone).

In fact, I've gotten so accustomed to using this method of communication, that I am guilty of leaving voicemails with spoken punctuation. (e.g. "Hi [period]. This is Izolda [period].")

Although this method of communication has become ubiquitous, I believe few utilize its full, robust capabilities.

So, here's a quick primer on what to say to get the desired results.

First of all, you need to know how to access the feature. I am not sure how to do it on android devices, but on iOS devices, select the microphone button to the left of the space bar on your phone's keyboard. The bottom part of your screen will become gray and a white sound wave line will move in accordance with your voice and what you are saying.

Once you are done speaking, select the done key. Please note: voice to text only works for snippets at a time. You can record a few sentences, but then you have to select done or you will run out of memory for the phone to be able to make the translation from voice to text. You don't want to lose any of what you have said, so make sure you select done and restart the microphone every 5 to 7 sentences.

Common punctuation must be said by its name. So, if I want to say the following sentence via V-t-T:
If we are going to the movies tonight, we will need to leave by 7:00pm.

I can say it like this: The V-t-T version is in green below. (Don't say the [ ]. Just say the words inside them.)
If we are going to the movies tonight [comma] we will need to leave by seven pm [period]

If you want to incorporate a quote and/or a question mark, try this:
And then he said, "I'll see you later." Can you believe that?

And then he said [comma] [quote] I'll see you later [period] [close quote] Can you believe that [question mark]

Here are two more quick ideas.
If you want to start a new paragraph or a new line, just say the words [new line] before the sentence that you want to begin the new line/paragraph.

For example.

Do you want to go? 
Anyway, I do, so I'm buying tickets.

The V-t-T version

Do you want to go [question mark] [new line] Anyway [comma] I do [comma] so I'm buying tickets [period]

Here are two that you will find useful. To make a :-), say "smiley." To make a ;-), say "winkie."

And the last tip is a tricky bugger. It's when you want to capitalize something. The V-t-T word for capitalizing a word is "cap." But, you have to say it and the word you want to say quickly. If you hesitate between the word "cap" and the word you want to capitalize, V-t-T will just type in the word "cap" and then not capitalize the word you want to capitalize.

So, if you want V-t-T to write, "Let's go get French Fries tonight." you will say it like this:

The V-t-T version:
Let's go get [cap]French [cap]Fries tonight [period]

I hope these have helped you get a grasp on how to use this fantastic tech to communicate more effectively.

Remember, you have to have a good idea of what you want to say, because pauses mean something in V-t-T. It's an interesting point to ponder. To use this tech, we must think about what we wish to say. We need to have it planned out, and we must be efficient with our language.

I believe this method of communicating might help us better prepare how we communicate because if we don't plan it and we hesitate, things will get mucked up. The tech does exactly what we tell it to do, no more no less.

I will be curious to see how voice-to-text and other technologies evolve the way we communicate.

How about you? Do you use voice-to-text? Do you like it? How has it changed how you communicate?

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