Progress Update 1/25/16

More experimentation with dictation

I’ve had a great week. Among other things, I’ve made some progress in my experiments with dictation. While I’m not sold on my approach, I’m getting closer to a useful method. If you’re like me and have a long drive to work, using some of that to dictate is a great way to get some writing done.

I’ve settled on using an iOS app called Dragon Dictation. I’d heard of Dragon before trying it, but the reviews I read were mixed. I’m glad I gave it a shot, because it’s been the best solution I’ve used. 

Let me share some tips that have made the process work more smoothly for me. 

First, if you happen to use the app while driving, you’ll probably want something to hold your phone so you can have your hands free. I purchased a magnetic mount for my phone that makes this easy. 

Also, I’ve found that the road noise can make it difficult for the app to hear my words clearly. I improved the clarity of my voice by plugging in the earbuds that came with my phone. (The factory earbuds have a built in microphone to help with making phone calls.) Using the microphone significantly improved the clarity of my voice, and as a result, made the app much more functional. 

I’ve been impressed with how long I can talk to the app before pressing the button that transcribes my speech. With the other apps I tried (including the speech to text function native to my iPhone), I was forced to stop talking at frequent intervals to allow the app to catch up. This was frustrating for obvious reasons. Maintaining my train of thought was extremely difficult when I continually had to give the app a chance to catch up. I haven’t needed to do this with the Dragon app. To be honest, I don’t know just how long I could talk before pressing the button to record and transcribe. Every few seconds, I push the button to let the app transcribe what I’ve said. 

When I’m done driving, I just copy and paste the transcription into my Evernote app. Later, I work on it in Scrivener on my computer.

I’m looking forward to making dictation a more regular part of my commute and making more progress with my daily writing. If you’ve had luck with dictation, I’d love to hear what you did. Also, if you decide to give it a try, let me know how it works!