Typing is now a way of life. However, some people type so much that their hands hurt, others have physical disabilities, and others still have a myriad of other reasons as to why typing is not (always) a possibility for them. This is where voice to text software, or voice recognition software, comes in. Essentially, this means people can speak to their computer, rather than type. This can be in order to dictate text, or in order to give commands such as pulling down menus, opening programs or saving work. The software is designed to allow people to write things quickly. This is highly beneficial for people with disabilities or for those who, for whatever reason, have difficulties using keyboards. Furthermore, those who find it difficult to put their ideas into written words can really benefit from voice to text software as well. This is because the mechanics of writing, such as sentence structure, spelling and grammar, are taken out of their hands, quite literally. However, not all software packages are created equally when it comes to their ease of use, capability and function. Hence, it is important to do some research first.

Old Voice to Text Software Vs New Models:

In an old software package, every word would need to clearly be separated from the other by inserting a pause. Without this, the software doesn't know where each word starts and ends. Using this requires what is known as 'discrete speech'. However, today, we have models that use 'continuous speech', which is much better. It is, in fact, very difficult to still find discrete speech packages out there. Thanks to continuous speech, users can dictate to their computer in the same way as they would have a regular conversation. Some voice to text software packages can handle as many as 160 words per minute.

How It Works:

All these software packages need a microphone and a sound card in order to work. A number of brands and models are recommended by software developers as these have been tried and tested. The microphone captures what is being said, which is then converted into digital form through the sound card. This representation is then compared to the users' speech, which they must set when they first install the software. When installing, a number of tests will be run, asking a user to speak specific words and sentences. This user profile is the blueprint of any further speech that is received. The software will generally also use general profiles, which is based on speech of many people and it can apply grammar rules to improve its recognition. Voice to text software is becoming better and more accurate, but some people still find that they cannot get away with it. This can be because of the way they speak, or their accents, for instance.

Oftentimes, people will use digital voice recorders alongside their software. This is basically an old fashioned Dictaphone and what was said can later be fed into the software. This is particularly beneficial for working on the go.