Voice Recognition Technologies

Dictation apps have a variety of use cases. They are to assist a student where they find difficulty getting ideas down on a page and feel their spelling and grammar are not up to scratch.

A person writing in a book

You might be more inclined to get all your thoughts out first and review them later, rather than revising ideas as you form them.

If you need further support please let us know at askds@tcd.ie

TCD Supported Software

Listed below are the most commonly used voice recognition technologies. Voice recognition software lets you dictate documents, search the web, e-mail, and more on your computer quickly and accurately just by using your voice.

Dragon Naturally Speaking

Dragon Naturally Speaking Logo

Voice dictation software can allow complete hands-free access and control of a computer. Such control requires an investment from the student in time to train the software to recognise the user’s voice. Once complete, it can be an incredibly enabling technology particularly for users with keyboard difficulties e.g. people with dexterity and mobility problems. When used in conjunction with a keyboard this software can help users word-process more effectively. At Trinity we have opted for natural speech recognition called Dragon Naturally Speaking.

Please note that Dragon is used to take dictation from a single user's voice and cannot take multiple voice inputs and tones to dictate into a single document.

There is no free trial in the use of the Dragon software as the user must be willing to spend time with the software for it to recognise the voice and to become familiar with the commands.

There are many different version of Dragon available, please consult with the Assistive Technology officer before purchasing such software.

Product Overview: See Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13 in Action

Dragon transforms the PC experience by turning your voice into text and actionable commands much faster than most people can type.

How to setup a new Profile

Dragon NaturallySpeaking Tutorial 1: Getting Started   

Improving your accuracy

Dragon 13 is highly accurate speech recognition software right out-of-the-box; however, there are still ways you can improve its overall accuracy.  

For more on Dragon software, see their website at: https://www.nuance.com/dragon.html

Free Resources

If you already own a laptop that runs Windows 7/8 or you own an iMac or MacBook, these systems come with inbuilt voice recognition available for you to use:

Apple iMac - MacBook voice recognition

Apple Imac -Macbook voice recognition Logo

Speech Recognition in Mac OS X enables your Mac to recognize and respond to your voice. The only thing you need to use it is a microphone, and all laptops and iMacs have a built-in mic these days. To start using Speech Recognition, launch System Preferences and follow these steps:

  1. Open the Speech System Preferences pane.
  2. Click the Speech Recognition tab, and click the Settings subtab.
  3. Click the On button for Speakable Items.

Apple Mobile

In addition to Siri, the "personal assistant" that has received much fanfare since it's release, your Apple mobile OS includes the "keyboard dictation". Both Siri and the keyboard dictation use cloud-based speech recognition.

It is important to understand a few things about all speech recognition:

  1. The quality of the end product is dependent upon the quality of the signal it receives.
  2. Speech recognition depends upon statistics of which words tend to occur with each other, so it is very context based. In other words, the decision it makes on a specific word is dependent upon the words it believes it heard before and after the word it is deciding upon.
OSX mobile keyboard

Optimizing Accuracy

  1. Speaking clearly (enunciate carefully)
  2. Avoiding extraneous noise (this has the effect of contaminating your otherwise clear speech)
  3. Speaking in phrases or sentences (this may require thinking ahead before you initiate dictation)

5 Tips to Master Dictation On You New iPad or iPhone

The new iPad supports dictation, so you can talk to it and have your words turned into text, complete with punctuation and formatting. Here are tips and tricks to better dictation.

Microsoft - Voice Recognition

To start in Windows 10:

  1. Open the Control Panel and type speech into the Control Panel search box, then select Start Speech Recognition from the search results.
  2. Windows will take you through a quick set-up to make sure your PC is ready for accepting speech. For best results, use a USB headset, although desktop microphones and other input devices will also work.
  3. Simply follow the instructions as you click through the set-up wizard. You'll be asked to read a few sentences to test your system, and whether you want to allow Windows to scan your documents and store e-mail to improve speech recognition.

Windows 8 Speech to Text

Microsoft speech to text is alive and well in Windows 8. We're still not sure of the status of speech to text in Windows RT so this tutorial assumes that you are using either standard Windows 8 or Windows 8 pro. Speech recognition software can be used to not only dictate but to control both desktop and Start Screen (Metro) programs and applications.

Academic Support help

For further help gaining strategies to help you take effective notes please view our academic support page, which will give you information on:

  • How to use your lecture notes effectively
  • Strategies for taking notes in a lecture
  • Introduction to the Cornell method of note-taking