There's so much I want to write about, I decided I needed to reduce the time I spend on content creation. Use of speech recognition is one part of achieving that. This post was going to be about a very different topic - but it morphed along the way! I'll write a second post today to make up for it.

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So - this is the next update on my business blog which is recording what I do as I go about developing the business which you see on this site.

There's certainly no shortage of material to write about. In fact each day I think of about three different topics I'd like to cover, but right now I don't have the time to write content at such a fast rate.

But having said that, I've just changed my mind about the subject matter for this post. What I'm now going to write about is how to create content fast. More specifically, a technique for creating content much faster than normal. It's what I'm using right now...

Speech Recognition

Talking to a number of colleagues recently, I was surprised to learn how few of them realised that speech recognition technology is now many times more efficient than it was just a few years ago.

What I'm doing right now is speaking into my smartphone and creating this post in an Evernote note using the built-in speech recognition facilities of Android. I just click on the microphone button on the keypad and the input mechanism switches from keypad to microphone.

The quality of the speech recognition is quite amazing. It works at its best if you speak at normal speed because as you complete a sentence the system looks at the whole structure and goes back and changes words which it might have misunderstood initially.

The only annoying factor is that the speech recognition doesn't always recognise punctuation commands.

For example - if I say full stop new line it very often just insert those words - exactly as it has right now (!) instead of actually putting in a. And starting a

Ha! In that instance it actually put in the punctuation!

Because you can't be sure whether it's going to put in the punctuation or not, it ends up being quicker to always switch into keyboard mode to do it.

The fastest way to change words or phrases

For some types of change the best way is to switch to keyboard mode. But often it's fastest to stay in speech input mode and do the following :

  • Position the cursor just after the incorrect word or phrase.
  • Click the back icon - which is to the right of the microphone (on an my phone at least). In speech input mode this deletes a complete word rather than just a character - which is exactly what you want.
  • You can then, of course, just re-speak that word or phrase - and the change is done.

Practice to improve your speech

To begin with you may find that using speech recognition is hardly any faster than simply typing in the text. But keep experimenting for a while and you're likely to find you get a very significant speed improvement.

You will need to get good at articulating the words clearly, but don't fall into the trap of thinking you need to speak slowly and pause between each word. That will actually give you worse results.

Also don't be put off if you have a strong regional or foreign accent. You may be surprised at how well this technology handles strong accents.

Practice to improve verbal and semantic structures

( I'm almost certainly using the wrong terminology here but I'm going to assume that not many linguistic students (at most one, probably) are going to be reading this.)

There are two points I want to make here .

The first is that the way you think when you're speaking is somewhat different to when you're writing. And your sentence structures end up being somewhat different.

You may need to get used to seeing your spoken sentence structures preserved in text as opposed to disappearing into the ether as soon as you finish speaking.

But with a bit of care and practice you can create more than half decent sentence structures that you're happy to preserve in print.

The second structure point I want to make is that I personally end up with a slightly different attitude to how I structure the complete article when using speech input.

If I'm speaking the article I'm more likely to make a start without a clear idea in my head about how the whole thing will be organized. I'm very unlikely to create an outline beforehand.

This can mean that the article ends up being a little bit meandering - perhaps like this one! Sometimes that matters and sometimes it doesn't.

You just need to make a judgement and adjust accordingly.

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So if you've not already started using speech recognition I do encourage you to give it a go - and let me know your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

Regards

 

Alex

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