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What is Speech to Text Software, How Does it Work?

By: Andrew Carr - Updated: 21 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Speech To Text Software Speech Text

Text to Speech software is often used by writers or people who do not wish to use their keyboards to produce written text. In order to use it you need a good headphone, with a microphone and software to understand what you are saying so that it will type it out for you.

You Can Tell the Computer What To Do!

Good text to speech software allows you to perform computer commands in addition to the typing out of text. In other words, you can actually tell the computer to "shut down", or "minimize that window", or "copy that" i.e. it can provide you with the same functionality as you would use in normal operation via the keyboard.

It's Available in Windows

Speech to text is available on most computers, and is built within the windows operating system. You can usually find in the Control Panel in windows. The windows version is not as good as purchasing a specific text to speech software package, because companies have spent time and effort in optimising the speech software to be as good as, if not faster and better than typing. The windows version at least gives you an idea of how it all works and if you find it useful consider purchasing a professional text to speech software package.

You Have To Train Your Computer To Understand You

However, if you think that you can just talk to the computer it will work, then you would be wrong. The computer has first to recognise your voice. It does this by you training it to understand certain words and how you speak. It works by recognising "waveforms" in the computer which belong to your speech. These waveforms form the basis of understand in the software so it knows how you speak generally and good software also takes care of the nuances in your speech, such as an accent.

If you are serious about using speech to text software, you must first train it to understand your voice. You do this by going through a series of exercises and by correcting the mistakes over a period of time the computer learns how you speak and what you are saying and (hopefully) produces the correct text in your document. Any kind of document can be used for speech to text software, including notepad, Microsoft Word documents, wordpad or anything which accepts text.


Like anything else, some speech to text software is better than any other. Dragon claim their software is amongst the best. Reports indicate that Dragon 9 and 10 are indeed superior products for this kind of activity. The benefits of speech to text software are that it can type documents in approximately one third of the time it would take you to type them on the keyboard.

Text to speech has not taken off in industry yet for obvious reasons. There are enough headphones in the call centres but when you need to concentrate on a document and need peace and quite you don't want to be listening to your colleagues as well! The interference from other sounds could also be a problem.

Speech to Text Software Can Make You Highly Productive

In general, speech to text software is great for the home user and the small office. It can make you highly productive. The downside is the time it takes to train the software to understand your voice. Like anything, the best software comes at a price.

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