Voice dictation is a powerful tool but can sometimes be finicky in practice. Luckily, there are techniques and tricks you can use to get the most out of dictation on mobile devices.
1. Speak Clearly, Slowly and Consistently
This is probably the most important tip to follow if you want high-quality dictation.
Speaking too quickly or varying your cadence of speech can confuse even the most modern dictation software. By keeping your language clear, slow and consistent in pace, you can help your device produce a more accurate transcription of your words.
2. Include Punctuation
If you want punctuation to appear in your transcription, you’ll need to say it out loud — “comma,” “period,” “colon,” “open quote,” “close quote” and so on. Otherwise, your voice dictation software will guess where sentences should begin and end or simply leave out punctuation altogether.
You will also need to say a command like “new line” or “new paragraph” if you want to format your text as you speak.
Punctuation can be manually added to the transcribed text after you’re done speaking if you find this way of dictating hard to get used to.
3. Advanced Dictation Features
In a similar vein, there are several advanced dictation features you can say aloud to help you format and organize your words. For example, saying “cap” before a word will capitalize it in most dictation software.
If you plan on dictating long pieces of text, or if you use your dictation software frequently, you should memorize a few of these dictation features. This will help you cut down on the amount of editing you need to do.
4. Proofread Your Dictation
Some dictation software, like Dragon NaturallySpeaking, will allow you to edit your dictation as you speak. With some dictation software, like iOS’s dictation feature, you won’t be able to change your dictated speech with voice commands.
This can be a problem, especially if you realize you’ve made a mistake as you were dictating. Once you’re done talking, you can quickly proofread and edit what your device has transcribed. This will help you make sure there are no errors left over from the transcribing process.
5. Consider a Standalone Microphone
Mobile devices almost always come equipped with a microphone you can use for dictation. However, while the quality of these microphones has improved significantly over the past few years, they lack features like noise cancellation. They don’t record as clearly as they could, which can reduce the quality of your transcription.
Investing in a standalone microphone or headset, like the Audio-Technica PRO 8HEcW, can improve the quality of the speech your phone records. This will help your device more accurately transcribe your words, ideally reducing the number of errors in the transcription and allowing you more flexibility in your tone and cadence. Be sure to purchase a microphone that is compatible with your mobile device. Ideally, choose one that is capable of Bluetooth connectivity or comes with a cable that can connect to your device.
While it is good to be able to talk to your phone and have it convert your speech into text, it doesn’t work if it can’t decipher what you are saying. The above tips will help you improve the dictation on your mobile device.