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4 Tips to Start Using Speech Recognition in Your Daily Life

The global voice recognition market is expected to reach about $ 127 billion by 2024 according to a report by Grandview research.

For me personally, speech recognition has made it possible to attain a degree of independence despite my disability. A few weeks ago, I had to travel to another place to seek medical care. I spent some time teaching the health care professionals around me me on how to use speech recognition to reduce the workload in their tech tasks. I'm summarising some of the tips below for absolute beginners to get started with integrating speech recognition in their daily life.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking premium version 13Choose the most compatible applications to start with

On the desktop computer, Dragon NaturallySpeaking is most compatible with Microsoft Office applications. This means that if you use Gmail, it will probably be much easier if you use Microsoft Outlook and link it with your Gmail account via IMAP or POP3. At a later stage, you can continue with Gmail within the browser to some extent by enabling keyboard shortcuts and using the mouse efficiently. The same holds true if you are using Google Docs. It is probably easier to start using the corresponding Microsoft office applications first and then go back to Google Docs once speaking out voice commands comes more naturally to you.

On the mobile, messaging on Whatsapp or SMS using Google voice on android is perhaps the best way to start. At the time of writing this, you can use Google now to send a message by voice on either Whatsapp or SMS. Once you get comfortable with these applications, you can explore sending email or manipulating android application by using Google voice access.  

Choose appropriate hardware and software

Andrea noise cancelling USB external soundcard
Andrea noise cancelling USB external soundcard
On the desktop, the two most commonly used applications are Dragon NaturallySpeaking and Windows speech recognition. Dragon NaturallySpeaking holds a bigger market share as compared to Windows speech recognition even though the latter is free along with the Windows operating system. 

Personally, I found Windows speech recognition to be much less accurate in Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Also, there are several third-party products which are built on top of Dragon NaturallySpeaking to automate certain tasks. I use Knowbrainer. So once you start using voice recognition more frequently, you can perhaps purchase these third-party applications to become more productive. Version 13 and later for Dragon NaturallySpeaking will help you navigate the web and click on links so it is best to use those versions. For the hardware, you will have to spend money purchasing a noise cancelling microphone. I use a wired one from Andrea. With that, I am able to work in a room where a TV is turned on about 5 feet away.

On the mobile, you do have to make sure that you have at least a 3G mobile connection or are on a broadband wireless network with a phone that has at least 2 GB of RAM. With this kind of setup, you will be able to speak naturally and get your voice transcribed. Otherwise, you will have to speak truncated sentences and voice recognition becomes much more difficult in that case.

Anticipate a few weeks of loss of productivity

As in learning any new habit, there will be a learning curve. On the android, I had to learn to pause before saying any punctuation. On the desktop, I had to resist the urge to start using the mouse with my hand and instead push myself to find faster way to navigate.

If your work consists of typing a lot of English text, you will perhaps be able to get back to your usual productivity levels within a week or so. Eventually, if you get it right, you should see more productivity in dictating English sentences. Speech recognition works best when English sentences are spoken in a natural way. If your work involves using mouse, you can probably combine using the physical mouse along with voice recognition commands. With the third-party applications, you can automate certain task which you think are our normal part of your work so that you will be using less of mouse.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking for dummies
Dragon NaturallySpeaking for dummies
Watch or listen to video tutorials

Video tutorials on YouTube are an excellent way to keep yourself updated about tips and tricks on using the various speech recognition programs. If I do not have the time or energy to watch the video tutorials, I simply listen to them. That itself gives me some pointers at times. Nuance , the company that makes Dragon NaturallySpeaking, has got a list of video tutorials for which I have provided a link to at the bottom of the post. I have created my own free list of tutorials which is also a appended. 

If, however, you really like to read books the old-fashioned way, you can consider referring to the Dragon NaturallySpeaking for dummies book. I have only looked at the excerpts and I found it really useful during the initial period of learning to work with speech recognition.

With this, at the very least, I hope you will be able to use voice along with the mouse and keyboard and eventually be more productive with your computing efforts.

Please feel free to share your progress with integrating speech recognition in your life in the comments section below.


  1. An excellent introduction to speech recognition! Just yesterday, someone was asking me how WSR compares to Dragon, so it's nice to see that your blog post reinforces my own opinion regarding the two.


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