Monday, April 22, 2013

Mobile Monday – Recording Textual Notes

[Editor's Note: Today's post was written by Richard Hanson.]

I so dislike transcribing from a recording. It invariably plays too fast which means I have to listen to it ten times before finishing my typing. From almost day one, smart phones included a recorder app which I never used for anything beyond a brief message. But with voice recognition technology recently becoming a built-in feature for both the newer-model iPhone and Android phones, the situation has changed.

I use an iPhone 5 and its included Notes app allows me to verbally create textual notes. Upon creating a new note (page in the virtual tablet) I press the microphone icon on the presented keypad and start talking. Nothing happens at first, except for a microphone icon displaying the fluctuating volume of my voice.

At this point the app is simply making a record of my voice. Not until I stop talking and press the "Done" button does the phone send the encoded voice to the Apple's servers in North Carolina for translation. The resulting text sent back to the phone and displayed on the Note app's page. You've now deduced that an Internet connection is needed for all this to work. Accurate voice translation is far too complex for the phone to do on its own.

I've found the text translation to be extremely accurate, even with proper names. In the event it makes a mistake, you must fix it using those tiny little keys on the screen's displayed keypad. You cannot issue verbal editing commands. Getting the text back to your main computer can be done by email, messaging or Cloud-based syncing. I use that sync option.

Android-based smartphones have the same built-in capability. And they too need an Internet connection, to Google's servers.

See also Ron Setzer's Mobile Monday blog (Root Cellar Sacramento Genealogical Society) dated October 24, 2011 that discusses a 3rd party app, Dragon Dictation. That app also turns your spoken words into text. While Dragon Dictation also requires an Internet connection, it has the advantage of being compatible with older smartphones.

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