Speech to Text UsersUsing the computer without touching it, and why you might need to do that
Reasons a person might use speech to text software.
- You broke your arm
- You have limited or no function of your hands
- You had a head injury and can’t remember how to type
- You are dyslexic
I have a friend who is quadriplegic and has only very limited use of one hand. For 20 years he had a full time job which required lots of work on the computer. Text to speech software was the way he was able to do all the report writing and record keeping necessary in his job.
While Apple has done a commendable job of making all of its newer devices (Mac computers, iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad) fully accessible to users who are blind or have low vision, Microsoft has focused its accessibility efforts in the speech to text area. Most users of Windows Vista and Windows 7 have no idea that really good Speech to Text software is built into the operating system. This lack of awareness extends to the people who could benefit most from the speech recognition software. The disability specialists with whom I have spoken, eschew the built-in software in favor of spending hundreds of dollars for Dragon Naturally Speaking, which is not one whit better.
One can use a Windows Vista or Windows 7 machine without ever touching it. The software can be accessed through the Ease of Access control panel, and with the addition of an inexpensive headset, mine cost about $3.00, you can control everything on the computer. Tell it to click here or there, speak all your documents and emails, write web addresses in the browser with your voice. All this is possible without buying anything else.
Not all software worksMicrosoft Works does NOT function with the speech to text built into Windows. Microsoft Office works very well, as does Wordpad. You’ll just have to try each piece of software to see if you can control it by voice.
Dragon Naturally Speaking comes in several versions and the Standard version may be just perfect for your needs if the built in software is not adequate. I’ve seen Dragon 13 Home version for $46 on Amazon.
For people who have limited hand movement, and this can be anyone from a stroke survivor or someone who broke an arm to those with life-long disabilities, speech recognition software can enable them to get or keep a job. Step #1 is to turn on Sticky Keys which is an accessibility feature of Windows, Macintosh and Linux operating systems. It lets you type keys in a sequence instead of holding down multiple keys. You can type ctrl then alt then delete, one at a time and then enter. This is very useful for the one-handed typist.
The only real option for Macintosh users who need Speech to Text is Dragon for Mac 5 It’s not cheap at $199, but it's very good software. Amazon has the previous version called Dragon Dictate for Mac 4.0 for $61. as of Jan 1, 2016.
The speech to text built in to iPhone and Android smart phones is absolutely great. Even if your voice is not clear the software gets almost everything you say.