Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Why I Care About Voice Recognition

As an editor and writer, I know the importance of using my hands. Day after day I pound the keyboard and sometimes I even wear out the keyboard. The letter E on my current keyboard is about to disappear (the most frequent letter in the English alphabet if you follow such trivia—so I’m not surprised).

What would I do if I had something like carpal tunnel or strained my hands so I couldn’t use them? It’s a question I considered since I make my living using my hands on the keyboard.

Several years ago I purchased and tried Dragon’s Naturally Speaking—I believe version five. You have to spend a bit of time “training” the software to your particular voice. I spent a number of hours on the project but it didn’t work well and I spent more time correcting the errors than it seemed worth it.

One of my colleagues in the American Society of Journalists and Authors spent more effort on the program and it’s been a life saver for him and the use of his hands.

During the last few weeks, I interviewed Frank Peretti--in preparation for the April 12th release of Monster--with a release of 400,000 copies from Thomas Nelson (WestBow). You can watch for my full-length piece about Frank on Faithreader.com later this month.  For several years Frank had tendonitis and has taken all sorts of measures to compensate--including using Dragon's Naturally Speaking--Version 8. He told me the latest version (8) is quite accurate for voice recognition software. He has to make little corrections from what he does with it. Frank speaks highly of this particular program and how it’s helped ease the tension on his hands.

Do I have the answer to my questions about voice recognition software and the importance for writers and editors?

Not yet but I’ll keep reading and keep my eyes open. From my writing life, I know one thing for certain—there is always more to learn.  If you grow complacent and figure you’ve “arrived” and learned everything there is to be learned—then be concerned—very concerned. It’s a dangerous path and I’ve watched a number of writers fall into it.

1 Comment:

At 7:03 AM, Blogger C.J. Darlington Left a note...

I'll be looking for that interview, Terry. I really respect Frank and look forward to hearing his thoughts - as well as reading Monster in a few days!


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