How does it change the writing process? Any suggestions on the various dictation software available?


4 Answers 4


I have tried to use dictation software for nearly twenty years: I have spent hours training specific programs -- Dragon, Microsoft, etc. They don't work as they should.

Recently I have found that Android speech recognition on my phone, backed up by Google but appearing in various formats, is very accurate as long as you have a data connection. I can speak and it will, usually, turn what I say into letters.

However, what holds me back from seizing on this modern technology is this: I can type quickly and there are always mistakes in speech recognition. I can write more accurately and quickly using a keyboard.

When typing I am not held back by my speed of typing: I am held back my speed of thinking what to type.

I have recently gone back to handwriting anything I think is worthwhile before editing and then typing it -- there are extra steps here that improve the quality of what I write.

  • I've got to confirm - not much experience with speech recognition, but generally the headaches outweigh the benefits. It's okay if you're on the move and need to enter a sentence or two, say, for a search service, but when you're writing prose, first thinking up the text in form as close to final as possible, then correcting the voice recognition mistakes and editing is more of a bother than just typing and editing as you write.
    – SF.
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 11:40

I use dictation to create first drafts as well as major re-writes. The only effect that I notice is that the drafts are light on description and heavy on dialog. That is OK with me because the drafts come out fast and I tend to edit the hell out of any draft (first or not). Pro tip: cannot edit a draft if it does not exist. Dictation gets me there quicker.

The quality is rougher in the sense that I often will say the same thing in different ways with the thought that the editing process will fix things. Works for me. May not work for anyone else.

  • Faster sounds good. Does hearing your own voice put you off at all? Which software do you use? Commented Apr 12, 2017 at 22:38

I have no problem with hearing my self. I have trained myself to do punctuation, again, no problem. I use Dragon Naturally Speaking on Windows 10. I have used it for well over a decade.


I haven't used it in years, and it may be better now, but my experience was that it would periodically misinterpret whole phrases. The problem was not that it made more errors than I did typing -- my typing has never been good. The problem was that when I made a mistake it tended to be misspelling or mistyping a word in a way that made it obvious what the intended word was, but when the dictation software made a mistake, it substituted a completely different phrase from the on I had intended. It didn't make spelling mistakes or typos. It typed something different from what I had said. And the problem with that was that in reading it over I often found that I had a very hard time figuring out what phrase I had actually spoken. Even if the phrase it had inserted did not make much sense, it still got in the way of remembering what the original phrase was. The results were therefore very confusing and hard to correct. I gave it up for this reason. With my poor typing I had a typing problem. With the dictation software's imperfect recognition, I was actually losing my intended meaning, not merely on the page, but in my head.

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