I’m not ready and neither is the FREE software.
Are you curious about speech to text software? I am definitely curious. I have this idea that it will give me freedom. I can get my ideas down while moving and working with my hands – see laundry. And I hear other authors use dictation to write their books. So, it can work for me. The prospects are positive.
And I’ve downloaded some free software to try it out called Speechnotes. Well, I downloaded it on my phone a few months ago. Since last year actually. I tried to use it with my last set of Bluetooth ear buds. Due to the age of my ear buds the microphone did not work. I ditched it and talked into my phone speaker. Disaster.
I want to be able to use speech to text while working. Either driving or folding clothes. I gave up on the project. Recently I remembered that I have a new set of Bluetooth ear buds and a new Bluetooth set up in my car. (I was slumming it with an AUX cable for years. Welcome to the future Lucille.) So, I tried it again…
While driving. Now I know that people suggest doing this kind of dictation while driving in slow traffic. I am extremely fortunate to not have much slow traffic coming home from work. The timing is just right. So, I just started talking to my speech to text software going 80 down the highway.
First, I tried re-writing a scene from my current work in progress (WIP). It starts with my character Jesi coming home to her apartment and her love interest knocking on the door a few minutes later. I had to take many deep breaths. I was nervous and losing my train of thought.
Then I just talked about where I grew up. I have this essay idea to discuss the benefits of spending time in the woods, even if you don’t specifically live in the country. This went smoothly in terms of talking. It was just easier. It could be that I was warmed up by talking through my WIP or I didn’t have a real goal at the moment. It could be a little of both.
And I didn’t use any punctuation words. I know that it makes it easier in editing if you throw in a ‘period’ and ‘open quotes’ key words while you talk. Honestly, this experiment of using the speech to text software was spur of the moment and I don’t know those key words or if the software recognizes them. It is free software.
Just take a look at the paragraph below. This is the first part of my speech to text from my WIP. Or it’s supposed to be from my WIP. No punctuation. No spacing. No breaks. It reads like some of my school friends Facebook posts. (Dude, we grew up together. Did you not pay attention in class? Do you know how to use a period? Comma?) So, I want to show you my comparison of what the software heard vs what I was trying to say.
What the Software Heard:
Jesse Capen it’s just a test to see how well this program and hearing record everything so I really want to say is cleaning up the magic shop for body with Ford Excursion she was tired and wanted nothing more than to lay down at all times I knew how hard ever and ever go back to you would have to be able to hold their hands. Immensely ocean in one of the books power strip all the Sportage power according to the coven last forever curtis Tire yourself I’m driving she got out set auction stores for Abbotsford concentration smiled at her grandma says hamster’s hair clips smile sentinel I said I like your apartment I don’t know why don’t you do that I don’t have one or lawyer that your client is lying chuck Naughton sure so she said what brings you by shuffle. You wanted to see me yes I wanted to see you what else to say sucks to be back in the morning we’re still the kids right now hopefully we can well I think we’re going to have to single speed works how will you or how wells work about years
What I was Actually Saying:
Jesi opened her front door.
This is just a test to see how well this program will hear and records everything.
Jesi closed the door after a long day of cleaning up the magic shop and her body hurt from exertion. She was tired and wanted nothing more than to lay down at that time. She knows however that she had something she needed to do. She needed to make the potion she made once a week. It was a potion to strip her of her powers. She wanted nothing more than to go back to being a lawyer, but she couldn’t with the power she possessed. She found the spell six months ago while learning how to control her ability. And since she discovered the potion, she’d had it close at hand at all times. Some potions once made would last a life time. This one lasted a week before it began to degrade. She went to her kitchen and began to take out everything she needed to make the potion when she heard the doorbell.
She peeked through the hole in the door and saw it was Chuck. Detective Chuck. Detective Massey, she reminded herself, even though he told her several times to call him Chuck. She smiled despite herself and opened the door with the chain still on.
“Hey,” he said with a smile.
“Hey,” she said back.
“Can I come in?”
She opened the door before she thought better of it and led him to the living room. He looked around the room and smiled at her.
“I like your apartment.”
“Thanks,” she said, “I might not have it much longer if I can’t get a job as a lawyer again. Won’t you have a seat?” she said as she sat on the other end of the couch she motioned to.
“So, what brings you by?”
“I wanted to see you,” Chuck said.
“You wanted to see me?”
“Yes, I wanted to see you.”
The software missed some of my words. Big chunks to be honest. This is most likely my fault. I tend to mumble at times. Just ask…well anyone in my life. I was also driving and road noise is another reason for the lack of record. And as I said before I was nervous. So, it is highly possible that what I was thinking never made it out of my mouth. Either way the AI transcription is a jumble of nonsense.
My take away from this is:
- To not use this while driving. Getting rid of the road noise should help.
- Be closer to the microphone when speaking (use the Bluetooth head set/ear buds)
- Try it more often. This will get you accustomed to telling your story out loud.
- Maybe use a program that is not free. Don’t be cheap like me. Invest if you are serious about using a speech to text program.
I will update if I try any of my take-aways in the future. I have also found another software app to use called Otter. I might give it a shot.
And you can always comment below and let me know what I’m doing wrong, what I can do better, and/or what software is worth the money.