Speech to Text (For Free)
by Ashley Claudy
Maybe you’ve heard of Dragon Speaker. Maybe you’ve even looked into it but the price tag deterred you, I know it did me – especially since I wasn’t even sure I could write by talking out loud. Words have always seemed to flow from the tips of my fingers, not my tongue. But then I discovered free options for converting speech to text!
Why would you want to use speech to text?
I’ve heard from other writers that swear speech to text was the key to increasing their writing speed. Besides being beneficial physically (can help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome), it’s can also help mentally. Using speech to text software might be something you wish to try if you need to “think out loud.” It can especially help with dialogue.
It’s important to remember this doesn’t need to be an all or nothing thing. It’s just one of the many tools us writers may utilize. I still mostly type, but pull out the speech to text when I need to be hands free, or when I get stuck at typing. I’ve found I’m less careful when speaking and sometimes that’s just what I needed to get through a difficult scene – of course, a careful edit is needed after, but it’s still worth it.
Where can I find the free versions?
I use apple products, but it also exists for Microsoft as well.
For instance, Google docs has a speech to text option, with the added benefit that you can use the free app and then access your work in progress across multiple devices, including your phone.
Evernote works the same way.
On Mac’s hitting the fn key twice starts speech to text once you’ve clicked on the text field you wish to type.
On an iPhone you simply press the microphone on the keyboard. Mostly I use speech to text on my phone and it allows me to “type” directly into Wattpad or my notes.
How does it work?
Speak clearly and the microphone will type it out. You will need to speak punctuation commands though such as “period”, “comma”, etc. In place of the return button you say, “new paragraph.”
Of course, edit carefully afterwards as sometimes it will place alternate words or make mistakes—but overall, it’s pretty accurate (at least the apple version is). I can’t say how well it compares to the paid versions, but it works well enough for me, for now.
Ashley Claudy is a mother, wife, teacher, proud UMD Terp, and perpetual learner with a wild imagination fueled by coffee. She’s also an occasional runner, a late night book junkie, and a daytime dreamer.
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