Dictating to your Computer

Why dictate?

Voice recognition has come a long way in the last few years. You can now dictate your notes, judgments, letters, and other documents to your computer at your normal speaking pace. In fact, dictating too slowly may degrade your accuracy because the program selects words based on their context as well as on your voice waves. (If you say, “dear,” the program will not know whether you mean “deer” or “dear.” If you say “Doug,” the program will not know whether you mean “Doug” or “dug.” If you say, “Dear Doug,” this provides a context for the program to select the correct words. So does, “As I dug my waterline, a deer jumped over it.”

Although you can dictate quickly, you must enunciate each word clearly and ensure you do not you run your words together.

The following two sentences, which I will dictate, demonstrate how the program deals with homonyms by looking at words in context:

  • Two boys went to see the doctor because they ate too much food.
  • They’re going to park their car over there.

Your computer types the words as you speak, and, if you have the right program, it can play your words back to you in audio.

Because of the speed and accuracy of the newest programs when combined with powerful computers, after a couple of weeks training the program (and yourself), you may be able to get more done in less time. It only takes a few minutes to get started if you have a new program and a powerful computer.

I have found that dictating frees my hands to sort through exhibits and other material.

Some time ago, after a long day of typing my notes in court, one of my hands was sore. Although I had been dictating to my computer off and on, I then started dictating to my computer on a regular basis to prevent repetitive stress injuries to my hands and wrists.

Dictating to your computer can turn tedious tasks into more enjoyable ones. For example, I took a fact-laden paragraph from a child protection report and quickly dictated the points into a list that automatically numbered itself in Word. It was then much easier to comprehend. Besides, it was fun to do.