Free Online Dictation

Our web guru recently discovered this free online dictation software, which seems to work quite well. Warning: it's no Dragon Naturally Speaking, but it is free and seems to be a good option for short messages. Perhaps you want to try it for your annual Christmas letter? We do a tremendous amount of typing, and any sort of relief we can get is great, so we took Online Dictation for a spin.

Here's a brief overview of our very informal software testing:

  • There's no need to install any anything. Just click on the link and start speaking after you click on the microphone symbol.
  • It only works in Chrome, which happens to be our browser of choice, but we realize that this is quite limiting for folks who use other browsers.
  • We tested the system with several sentences. First, we tried: "The chicken laid an egg today" in honor of the very first egg that a friend's chicken produced today. The transcription was flawless. If anything had been incorrect, we could have clicked on the word in question to correct it. The system allows you to copy and paste the transcribed texts, and it looks like this: The chicken laid an egg today.
  • We then tried another sentence. Again, perfect. The system was batting 1000.  I really don't feel like going to the gym.
  • The third sentence was harder and was purposefully spoken in our best Austrian accent. Here, the system produced hilarious results. What we said: "I can't believe this dog is hungry again!" (referring to Luna, our always-hungry mutt), and the system came up with this, so clearly there's some room for improvement: Hey get a pizza target how to get.
  • The final test was a comment about today's work load: "The work is piling up on my desk." Again: perfect. The work is piling up on my desk.
  • Our humble opinion: this system works quite well as long as you speak in short sentences, enunciate well and don't try to mock your own accent, as we did in example #3. It's a great tool for short e-mails, tweets and perhaps even blog posts!

Again, here's the link to Online Dictation.


Anonymous said...

For anybody who uses a Mac the latest version of Mac software, Mountain Lion, has inbuilt dictation software that works in Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean and Spanish, all with regional variations. It's not totally free as overall the software update costs about $25, but it works out pretty cheap. It can be used straightaway (doesn't need any training to get used to your voice) and results are good: very little correction is needed. Best of all it works anywhere where you need to type text (word processor, e-mail, internet search engine etc), including in CAT tools!

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on December 5, 2012 at 9:00 AM said...

@Catharine: Thanks so much for the recommendation. We are personally not hip enough to be Mac girls. It sure sounds like a fantastic deal --$25 and no training needed? That's cheaper than lunch! Fantastic that it even works with CAT tools.

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