Last week I wrote about my quest to master Swype. I briefly mentioned the built-in DragonDictate voice recognition system which you can use as an alternative to actually typing, and that I’d had a lot of fun making it fail. Since then, however, I’ve found that if I make it easier on it to hear what I’m saying, it’s actually accurate enough to be useful.
Both when set to English and Norwegian, it’s fairly accurate at getting what I say. Given a quiet environment and some effort to enunciate, I can often write paragraphs at a time with no errors. That’s quite revolutionary in my mind, as other voice recognition engines seem to be rather spotty. Part of that is of course my Norwegian accent when speaking English, but not only does Swype support Norwegian voice to text, it’s also able to understand my English better than Google’s voice recognition, Siri, and all those others.
I’ve found this to be particularly useful in situations where I need to type a lot of text but can’t really do so very well with my hands, like when I’m walking somewhere. As long as no one is nearby to hear me talking in a semi-robot voice to my phone, I now tend to just recite whatever I want to type and correct the mistakes, if there are any. It does make mistakes, but it’s at the point where it’s quicker to fix the few mistakes than to type by hand.
People I’ve shown it to have also shown great interest in this. A voice recognition system in Norwegian is rare enough, one that actually works is unheard of. At this point I’m definitely sticking with Swype, but that this would be one of the reasons is something I hadn’t expected.