I decided to check out a feature I never considered using on Microsoft Word. The Dictate feature is the same concept as speech-to-text on phones and other devices. The test was conducted by using the built-in microphone on my laptop.
How accurate is it?
I am not fluent in any other language other than English. I can not comment on how well it picks up on other languages. It picked up everything I said in a normal conversation volume. At a whisper, it didn’t. That’s to be expected.
Even when I spoke faster, it was still accurate. This impressed me; I was waiting for it to mess up. Every word was there. Though some longer words, it may not pick up so clearly. I tested the word ‘onomatopoeia’ it came out as ‘automatic pia’.
This said you’ll need to proofread what you dictate afterward for spelling. Another goof it made was ‘next in line’ took me to the next line in the document.
Testing the limits
While brainstorming for this post, I decided to see if I could get it to format words as I went. I tested it with the word ‘Kitty’. I tried these phrases to see if any would work:
- Bold kitty
- Bold font kitty
- Highlight kitty
- Underline kitty
All phrases ended up with nothing added to the document. It only showed what I said in the Dictate bubble.
I can see this being a time saver for people that talk faster than they type. A good use for this feature would be if you describe a person, place, or thing better when talking about it. This would be another good tool to write shorter pieces like quick notes or flash fiction.
It takes me out of my train of thought to say ‘period’ to get a period to show up. This goes the same for ‘new paragraph’ and ‘indent’. This may not be the case for everyone. Not recommended if you want to format your words as you go.
I don’t know if I can see myself using this often. With some practice, it could be a time saver. I was impressed by its ability to pick up what was said when I spoke faster. This feature may not be for everyone but give it a try. You might find that is useful to you and your productivity levels. Especially if your hands cramp up and you still want to keep writing.