Want to be more productive in the office? Want to get those reports written as quickly as possible?
Or maybe you’re a writer, and you can’t seem to type as fast as you can think.
Dictation tools can help.
As the name suggests, dictation tools allow you to speak what you want to write. The tools then put your words on your computer screen. Best of all? Dictation tools have improved immensely. You won’t struggle to get them to recognize the words you are saying.
Mashable recently ran an interesting post about just how much more productive workers can be with dictation tools such as Dragon Naturally Speaking and Windows Speech Recognition.
The Mashable story includes an infographic from the blog Accounting Degree showing that the average worker spends about four hours every day writing email messages and other forms of communication. The infographic also says that the average typing speed is just 33 words a minute, or about one word every two seconds.
But dictation tools? They can record an incredible 100 words a minute. As the infographic clearly spells out, the tongue is quicker—far quicker, actually—than the fingers.
Think, then, how quickly you’ll be able to send email messages, write memos and summarize reports with dictation tools.
The dictation tools
PC Mag understands this. The publication recently ranked Dragon Dictation as one of the best business apps for the iPad.
And why not? The app boasts accurate voice transcription and the ability to share messages through email, Facebook and Twitter.
Here are some other dictation apps, ranked by the ZeroPaid tech blog that you should investigate.
Dragon Dictation is a free app that lets you translate your speech into documents or email messages. The app also provides direct links to Facebook and Twitter, meaning that you can record verbal updates that will then appear on these social media sites as text. There is a downside to the app, though; as ZeroPaid says, you’ll need to be connected to the Internet to use it.
Voice Dictation, which costs 99 cents, is another app that ZeroPaid recommends. This app includes automatic grammar correction, a nice feature if you are dictating work-related documents.
Google Translate, which is free, not only turns your spoken words into text, it also translates them into whatever language you prefer. Be careful, though—ZeroPaid says that this app works best with short phrases and individual words. If you try working with longer, complex sentences, you might end up with odd translations.
Dictamus isn’t cheap, costing $14.99. But ZeroPaid says that is one of the highest-rated dictation apps in the App Store. If you want to make sure that this app is for you, you can download Dictamus Free. This version doesn’t cost you anything, but has limited functionality. It will, though, give you a good idea of how the app works and whether it is one you want to invest in.
Making voice dictation work
There are some tricks that you’ll have to master no matter which type of voice-dictation software in which you invest.
For instance, you’ll need to speak slowly and clearly. If you mumble, speak too rapidly or run your words together, you’ll end up with odd translations on the page. This will negate the efficiency you’re shooting for by installing dictation tools on your computer or mobile device in the first place.
Secondly, you’ll need to insert your own commas, exclamation marks, questions marks and other punctuation as you speak. For example, you might have to say, “John comma our first vice president comma completed the sales reports yesterday period the news was great exclamation point.”
That sounds weird but with a bit of practice you will get the hang of it.