Friday, January 4, 2013

Dragon Dictation Experiment. Oy!

So my new Macbook Pro comes built in with voice recognition dictation. Cool, right? Apparently you have to be online, then hit the dictation button. It sends the recorded voice stuff to a server in North Carolina, where Dragon Dictation transcribes it, and voila! It shows up on your page.

So. We are going to do an experiment! First, I'm going to listen to some stuff on YouTube and see if it can dictate. Then I'll read a few lines from some books. Fun, fun!

Sweet Child O Mine, by Guns 'n Roses
Lyrics: She's got a smile that seems to me reminds me of childhood memories
Comments: Didn't work. I guess Slash's guitar was too confusing. Or maybe Axl Rose was too Axl-y.

Walk on the Wild Side, by Lou Reed
Lyrics: Holly came from Miami, FLA. Hitchhiked her way across the USA.
Dictation: The bathroom she was advised dog in the code to do 
Comments: Uh. What dog? What code? What bathroom? 

Let's try Lou again. This time, it's Perfect Day 
Lyrics: Just a perfect day. Drank sangria in the park. And then later, when it gets dark, we go home.
Dictation: Chest of drinks and then later went if it still legal
Comments: Whoa. Apparently this song is going into nefarious territory, involving coolers of alcohol 

Darth Vader big reveal scene with Luke
Movie dialogue: Darth Vader: "No. I am your father." Luke: "No. NO! It's not true! THAT'S IMPOSSIBLE!"
Dictation: Not at the student union
Comments: I can't can I respond to that interpretation? Dragon Dictation, haven't you ever seen this movie? I mean, really????

Me, reading the first line of Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
Text: It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. 
Dictation: It is a truth universally acknowledged the single man in possession of the good fortune must be in want of life.
Comment: HAHAHA. Because rich, single dudes live a marginal, semi-solid existence that can only be fixed by permanent matrimony. Obviously. 

Me, reading an excerpt from Skippy Jon Jones in the Dog House, by Judy Schachner
Oh my name is Skippito Friskito
And I heard from a leetle birdito
That the doggies have fled
From the gobbling head
Who goes by the name Bobble-ito!
Oh my name is keeping the depot 
and I heard from an Eatonberg people 
that the doggies have fled from the gobbling head 
who goes by the name Bubba beetle
Comment: Dragon Dictation doesn't like my lame accent. I also sang this one, which explains why the Eatenberg people are telling tales about Bubba. Also, I'm going to introduce myself as "Keeping the Depot" at the next cocktail party I attend.

But seriously. I think that if you got the hand of speaking your punctuation, saying your sentences clearly, this could be a great thing. If I ever had any physical issues with typing, this would be a god send! It's good to know this technology is out there. 

I know that Kristen Cashore (author of Bitterblue and Graceling) uses this type of program. Here's a great blog post about how she uses voice recognition software.

So. Have you ever tried dictating your writing projects?


A Lady's Life said...

Ah no.
If anything I use a tape machine.
Old fashion but it does the job. lol

Donna Hole said...

That was hilarious. I've been wondering about the Dragon Dictation thing.I do a lot of "writing in my head" and it would be neat to have this.

I'll wait until you perfect it though :)


Lesann Berry said...

Thanks for the snorky laughs! Oh my...once upon another life I did transcription and had similar experiences. Too funny!

Shelly said...

i just started using the voice text feature on my phone, and apparently my Texas accent (although I didn't even realize I had one) renders most everything into gibberish.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

WELL, cross that off the list of things I need to try!

I have never tried to dictate my writing. I'm not sure I could. My sentence creation is kind of disjointed and fluid. I backspace and retype as much as I type forward, I think.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That is hilarious! You could really have some fun with that.

mooderino said...

I've tried using dragon. It does get better with repeated use as the software learns your voice, but it's still a long way from Star Trek where computers don't need to keep asking you to repeat yourself (would make for some very long episodes).

We're probably still a good few years away from a decent voice recognition app.


shelly said...

I seem to lose my train of thought when I use Dragon. But I usually speak out loud when I'm writing. Weird, I know.

Hugs and chocolate,

Connie Keller said...

I've never tried it, but my mom (who has a physical disability) has tried using a voice recognition program. But she hasn't had a lot of success.

Em said...

Okay, this was hysterical. It's obvious to me that Dragon is related to Siri. No question at all.

Does it let you spell out words that you would need spelled out? (I'm thinking of the old days of dictation where words would be spelled out that were too technical, for instance.)

Personally, I need the physical action of writing or typing. Dictating doesn't work well for me, although I would try it if I couldn't type for some reason.

Angela V. Cook said...

Oh my, that was hilarious. Seriously, I almost spewed coffee all over my laptop ;) Thanks for the early-morning giggles!

B.E. Sanderson said...

OMG, too funny. I've never used dictation software. I think I'd need a lot of practice because what I have in my brain comes out my mouth in a different way than how it comes out my fingers.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I get the oddest messages from my husband who uses the iPhone app to text.

Slamdunk said...

Looks like a funny experiment Dr.

I used to mess with the old Dragon Speaks software. I learned that if you could survive the hours of prep work (getting the computer used to your voice) and speak clearly, the results were much improved.

And, happy New Year by the way.

Clarissa Draper said...

Oh, I have tried and ended up deleting so much stuff that it turned out to be faster typing it.

Along These Lines ..... said...

Funny. Have tried it too, and it was a hopeless drag. Product should be called Draggin' Dictation.

Carol Riggs said...

Ha, oh wow. Great experiment! Love the original Skippy verse--cute. No, I haven't ever experimented with voice recognition. I suspect it wouldn't work well, because every time I call an automated line, the system can't tell what I'm saying! I must speak garbled...

Southpaw said...

I got the Dragon software when it was on sale (a huge sale). It has a learning phase where you read what it tells you so it can learn your accent and speaking style. I did all that and then tried it. It was fun, but the headphones that came with it were too small and gave me a headache. I haven’t picked up a new set with a mic in it yet. It’s sorta way down on my to do list.

Bathwater said...

I have seen the dragon software advertized on TV. I think that all computer work should get to the point we don't have to type sometime in the future.

Your experiment makes dragon not look like it is ready but I suspect it is closer than you make it seem.

Krispy said...

See, I think this stuff is pretty cool, but I don't trust it to accurately transcribe what I'm saying. I mean, my phone has trouble understanding me when I'm just trying to tell it to call someone, and that's just two words! "Call Lydia!"

Matthew MacNish said...

Hah! I've used this in the past. I'm not surprised it wouldn't work well with music, but I didn't expect it to be quite this funny.

nutschell said...

Hilarious, Lydia! This makes me want to stay away from any kind of dictation device :)

Leigh Covington said...

LOL! This is hilarious! Maybe I won't worry to much about investing in dictation software! hahaha.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. It's nice to meet you!

Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha ha! Oh, this is too funny.

This swanky new dictation service might make for a great writing prompt. If you get stuck in your MS, tell the Dragon Lady a story and see what she comes up with!

JEFritz said...

Those are hilarious. It sounds like dictation programs still have some work to do, though.

Kimberlee Turley said...

I have no patience for those phone reception centers that just want me to state the nature of my problem or to say "Yes" or "No."

They never seem to hear me correctly.

Rachna Chhabria said...

I have never dictated a writing project. Envy you, Lydia!

Jillian Schmidt said...

Very interesting and entertaining post! I haven't ever dictated my writing, and it seems like the inaccuracies would get too distracting. Then again, I've had some finger joint issues recently, so on the days when I go all hypochondriac and imagine losing the ability to type when I'm older, it's nice to know that this technology exists (and will hopefully be better by then!)

Sophia Chang said...

The voice dictation on my phone has changed my life. I use it ALL the time to text message/facebook/send emails and my wrists have felt a decrease in pain by like 90%

Caveat: I speak like Diane Sawyer when I dictate, and often I mimic Siri.

Romance Reader - Nas said...

Youtube spoils you for choice. There is too much choice, how do you choose what to listen to?

C.J.Flood said...


Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

I've never tried using voice recognition software, but I have two writing friends who did, and with very funny results. One said that when a door closed or she sneezed the hardware tried to spell that sound. The other said his sentences were spelled as if he had a British accent!

DL Hammons said...

Hmmmmmm...apparently there are some bugs in their software. Huge, hairy ones! :)

Anonymous said...


Nicole Murray said...

LMAO. Ahhh technology. ;-)

LTM said...

Lydia! LOLOL!!! It didn't even get YOUR reading right! I mean, I could understand the rock lyrics getting all messed up, and Lou Reed sort of mumbles, but I'm sure you spoke clearly! :D

Sometimes I think I ought to bring one of those little mini recorders when I jog b/c that's usually when I solve my plot problems.

but I always forget. :P <3 *hugs*

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