Speech dictating “Give me big, chunky and processed any day” can earn you funny looks

You’d be surprised at the looks you get in any office if you say those words out loud at volume. Sadly as my RSI is now back with a vengeance, I’m back on the speech dictation. This means that many of the things I have to write, including this blog, are dictated out aloud.

Whilst give me big, chunky and processed any day’ is fine if you read it in the context of the last blog (i.e. the one about pizzas), it’s not quite as good if someone just looks over and hears just that. Worse still the speech dictation software can often make mistakes, for example the phrase ‘buffet pizza’, always seems to come out as ‘fake pizza!’ not the best thing for accurate journalism.

Of course thankfully the blog goes through a sub-editor before it goes up so (hopefully) those mistakes are caught, even if I don’t notice them when doing it. Even so, (and I just had to say ‘even so’ three times before it typed it right) it’s just a little odd to be saying everything you type out aloud in a quiet office full of people!

I should point out here, that whenever I write about my RSI, many people then kindly e-mail with suggestions of ways to help. Actually I’ve had it on and off for seven years. I’ve tried to do pretty much everything under the sun, so have heard all about copper bands, acupuncture, special typing equipment, cranial osteopathy, biomechanical equipment and various wrist rests. Some of which have provided temporary relief, but nothing has cured it. I still find the best thing for it is simply going to my osteopath.

The other question that often follows when I write about RSI is: what speech dictating software do you use? The answer is Dragon Naturally Speaking 8. For the generation it isn’t particularly bad, though it does still make, as you can tell from the above, quite a number of mistakes. Yet it does enable you to talk and it’ll simply type down what you’ve spoken, trying to get the words as right as it can. The problem with this type of software, is it’s fine writing something from scratch, but it really isn’t usable when you’re trying to edit a document, and it’s the mouse and keyboard work required to edit that really does trigger the RSI.

So I suppose my swollen hand and tingling fingers are here to stay.

PS. As a classic example of the dangers of speech dictation, when aiming to write a quick note about buying a new car the phrase “and whilst emotionally it’s very satisfying to feel the ultra newness” became “and whilst emotionally it’s very satisfying to feel the ultra new nurse!”, in some ways I think the speech dictation version is better!

Discuss this blog