Dragon NaturallySpeakingThis is a test using Dragon NaturallySpeaking to dictate a blog entry.

Language recognition technology has been seen as promising as long as I can remember.  When I started studying in the United States in 1990, one of my fellow students came from IBM, where she had worked with language recognition technology for 12 years.  Six years later, I purchased my first language recognition system myself, IBM’s ViaVoice.  It cost the whopping sum of $ 89, and you had to pause between words when you dictated.  I used it for a few weeks, but the slow pace of dictation and the frequent errors, partially a result of not having enough computer, was frustrating.

Now, 10 years later, I read about Dragon NaturallySpeaking on Kevin Kelly’s blog Cool Tools. Apparently, language recognition has progress, thanks to more powerful computers and better software.

I have now fiddled with Dragoan NaturallySpeaking for about an hour, and I must say some progress has been made.  You can now speak rapidly and fluently, and there is an autopunctuation feature, which inserts commas and periods as best as it can.  It kind of works.  I could see myself using this for instance to record speeches I give on telephone conferences, or to dictate blog entries and essays if my carpal tunnel syndrome flares up again, a friend of mine has used language recognition technology to meet into the computer long reams of text and data without having to type them.  

Nevertheless, the technology still has a way to go before it can do it very hard task of taking dictation.  Correcting errors is rather cumbersome, you have to select words, and then laboriously tell the computer what you want to do with them.  Also, the system has problems interpreting what I say occasionally.  For instance, I tried to say laboriously, and it came out labor asleep.  Hopefully, dictation will do for my diction what Graffiti did for my handwriting — train me to make the computer recognize it.

Whether this works or not remains to be seen.  I will report back when I have learned how to insert a Colón cola call on….