Voice Recognition Applications
The Translator’s Tool Box - © International Writers’ Group, LLC
Which texts are well suited—or better, which texts are not well suited—for
speech recognition? The answer to this depends partly on your particular
translation subject. In mine it is mostly texts with a lot of proper names and/
or loan words. This does not mean that you can’t teach the program to
recognize the proper names and loan words, but it’s one of those judgment
things: If you want to use speech recognition (or anything else for that
matter) to become more effective, you’d better make sure that you truly are.
If you have to spend an hour to train it to recognize a bunch of new terms
before translating for an hour and a half on a job that would otherwise have
taken you only two hours, that seems like wasted time to me. Plus, while I
enjoy translating, I can think of better things to do than training speech
recognition. On the other hand, if I can expect that these proper names and
loan words will also occur in future projects, I may just as well spend the time
My first rule for success with speech recognition software will probably have
the "purists" shaking their heads in agony. After having used the software for
some time, I know some of the weak spots of my speech engine (or my
pronunciation). Rather than using the "correct" function again and again, I
prefer to type those problem terms even while dictating the rest.
My next rule: Take some time to get used to not "thinking with your fingers."
Instead, try to preformulate longer segments and then speak them coherently
for better results.
This goes right along with the next kind of texts that are not well suited for
speech recognition because it’s hard to say them naturally: texts with a lot of
formatting. Depending on what kind of translation environment tool you’re
working with and how formatting is handled by the tool, it may be easier to
use the keyboard shortcuts for those that you are used to. If there is really a
LOT of formatting, it may be easier to just type the whole thing.
Now, technically, there is no formatting function or other fancy maneuver that
your speech recognition can’t do. That is, if you have the right version. When
it comes to Dragon NaturallySpeaking, the Preferred version comes with all
basic formatting in environments like MS Word or its own editor, DragonPad.