Use Voice Dictation to Type on Your Smartphone

I have been using various types of voice recognition and voice dictation applications for many years. The early applications were difficult to use and didn’t save much time.

voice dictation

Today, voice recognition applications work much better and are available for many different types of devices. I currently use (and have used for many years) Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium. This is an installed software application on my laptop. I am using it right now to dictate the contents of this TechTip. It is amazingly accurate.

Because smartphones have become more powerful and capable, the hope of being able to speak to your phone and have your voice transcribed into text is better today than ever before.

Siri for the iOS platform, Google Now for the Android platforms, and Cortana from Microsoft are a couple of examples of voice recognition processes that work quite well.

Voice Dictation could be one of the most underutilized functions of an iPhone.

Today’s TechTip will highlight the functionality available on the iPhone for dictating both emails and text messages. Similar functionality can be found on the Android platform. I also realize there are a number of third-party applications that may provide similar (or better) functionality.

Use Voice Dictation to Type

iPhone Voice Dictation Keyboard

I have to admit; I have a love-hate relationship with Siri on my iPhone. I have recently discovered, however, that the Apple dictation available using the built-in keyboard is not bad at understanding what you are saying.

The button to use the built-in text-to-speech functionality is prominently displayed on the default iOS keyboard next to the spacebar. If you are like me, you may not have tried using this method for creating an email or text message.

To activate, just press the microphone button, and a small window will open displaying an audio waveform of what the microphone hears you say.

Follow These Tips to Maximize Voice Dictation

Following are a few tips to maximize the iPhone dictation capability:

Turn it on: Siri has to be activated for this dictation to work. You can make sure it is turned on by going to Settings > Siri.

Be aware of data usage: This dictation service uses a remote server to process the audio and sends back the recognized text. Just be aware that this process will use up your cellular data.

Learn the commands: If you are old enough to remember dictating letters, similar commands are available as you speak. For example, to insert a comma within a sentence, simply say “comma” at the appropriate point. Most of the other formatting commands are self-evident. It will even recognize a “smiley face” and insert the appropriate emoji.

Speak clearly and not too fast: The faster you talk, the less likely the recognition will be as accurate.

Make sure to proofread: As good as the recognition is, you need to make sure that you reread what was transcribed. You do not want to send something off that is not accurate.

The built-in voice recognition capabilities on current smartphones go a long way to improving your ability to get an email or text message completed and sent quickly.

Which voice dictation tools have you found to be effective for converting your voice to text?

Steve Anderson provides information to insurance agents about how they can use technology to increase revenue and/or reduce expenses. He speaks professionally to hundreds of agents each year on the future of technology, the social web, and how insurance agencies can establish their Internet presence.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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6 thoughts on “Use Voice Dictation to Type on Your Smartphone

  1. Everything in this world is about input and output. Our input is fantastic with readings video and all other types of avenues and channels that we can input information into our brain. The problem comes with our output. It is so slow it’s nothing more than a couple kilobytes a second.

    This is the first step in speeding up that output. But for it should be properly done there must be a spot on the phone where we can put our finger and it reads our mind. You’ll see this coming very soon.

  2. Phil, I use Dragon NaturallySpeaking professional virtually every day to write articles and answer email. My experience is that it is astoundingly accurate and personal. In fact, I’m using it now to dictate this response. When you first start out the accuracy may not be quite as good because the software program learns as you use it and it’s more accurate the more you use it. I highly recommend trying it.

  3. What is the state of desktop speech to text dictation. Years ago I tried dragon dictate but never really got off the ground with it as seemed like all the corrections took longer than just typing (I’m pretty fast. Plus inconvenient to done separate headset from my phone and weird feeling wondering what others in office think as they overhear me talking to myself.

  4. I agree, Steve – Voice recognition can be powerful. While I don’t currently have the budget to install Dragon NaturallySpeaking on my Surface Pro 3, I do use Google voice recognition on my Android phone a great deal. Your tips are spot-on! ESPECIALLY proof-reading – Sometimes inteded wods are misinterpreted in the worst possible ways!