Speech to Text

Screen shot of digital keyboard showing grey microphone buttonIt’s patient. It sits on the digital iOS keyboard to the left of the space bar. Anytime that keyboard flashes up, the microphone icon appears, too, alert but unassuming like a trained foot soldier waiting to be activated.

Do you know what the simple black icon does? For me, a person with a vision impairment, it allows me to complete tasks more efficiently. The microphone icon offers the service of speech-to-text, automated dictation. Want to try it?  It’s simple to use:

  1. Tap the screen within any text field to see the digital keyboard.a new notes page cursor blinks on the text field.
  2. Tap microphone icon. You will hear a ding.screenshot of notes page with digital keyboard up
  3. After the ding, a gray dictation box appears with white soundbar icons. Say your text.Screenshot of dictation software running as a person speaks, gray box at bottom of screen with white soundwaves moving when sound occurs.
  4. Hit Done and you will hear another ding as the software processes. The gray dictation box is replaced with the keyboard.Screenshot of notes page with line of text evident and cursor as the circle icon to indicate the software is processing.
  5. Complete text appears in field. The original cursor line is back as well.screenshot of the page with complete tet and keyboard appears at bottom of screen again.

I use dictation to create grocery lists, notes, some of my blog posts, text messages, and many other things. It’s fun, it’s kind of like having a free personal assistant at all times.

The only drawback is when I’m in public and off wifi. Sometimes the translation lags. Also, I get slightly self-conscious about talking to my phone when others are around. I don’t want to be sharing anything personal aloud so I use dictation only when I feel comfortable.

Dictation is another way for me to get things done as I live with low vision. Whether or not you have vision loss, accessible technology like speech-to-text software offers everyone increased productivity.


Do you use dictation? If you’re an android user, how does dictation work on that system? Have you had a funny experience while using speech-to-text in public? Tell me about it.

Note: Siri has to be on for the microphone icon to appear on your keyboard. Settings >General > Siri

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Casee says:

    The speech-to-text from Google on the Android phones is outstanding. It learns your vocabulary and manner of speaking and gets better as you use it. You can also go into your Google account and hear your “Ok Google” searches if you want to know just what Google has about your searches. It doesn’t keep your dictation of notes and or documents. At least I can’t find that. I am also self conscious using voice dictation in public. It may be because I hate when people talk loudly on their phones and I judge them harshly in my mind so I don’t want to behave like that. It is wonderful technology that makes like easier when it works and can be so infuriating when it gets things wrong but I find I don’t want to live without it.

  2. Very useful informatio. Thank you. Am a bit nervous of iPad after Ihad it updated and Voiceover kept switching itself on at the drop of an eyelash and when I tried to switch it off kept intoning ‘ but-ton’! It is now silenced for ever! Luckily I don’t really need it at the present time, but it was infuriating.p

    1. Yes I hate it when an option activates or sticks and I didn’t wish for it to do so.

  3. Trisha says:

    I don’t use it because I like typing so much more than talking. I can think of so many situations when it would be very useful though. I should try it to get over my fear of it. So far, my experience with it is it turning on accidentally and me panicking, like it’s just going to go crazy and start calling and texting people without my permission!

    1. Let me know if you try dictation. Siri can definitly do more complex things before you know it, over sensitive touh screens drie e nuts.

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