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Speech-to-text and text-to speech software

Ernest Bywater

Can those of you who use such software please name what you use along with their good points and bad points. Another author / reader (wordytom) has eyesight issues and needs to get advice on such software. see thread

http://storiesonline.net/d/s2/t3683/just-a-quick-hi-yall

Replies:   Not_a_ID
StarFleet Carl

I've used Dragon in the past myself for speech to text. It's just that making edits and corrections were a hassle, and since I'm still a much better touch typist than I am speaker, I simply reverted to typing.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son
Updated:

@StarFleet Carl


I've used Dragon in the past myself for speech to text. It's just that making edits and corrections were a hassle, and since I'm still a much better touch typist than I am speaker, I simply reverted to typing.


I've also used it. I didn't have that much problems with making edits in general.

My big problem was that I was using in for computer programming(broken arm), so I was constantly having to spell things, which was slow, but still faster than typing one handed, and with my off hand no less.

https://www.nuance.com/dragon/dragon-for-pc/home-edition.html#standardpage-mainpar_container_sharedhead

I found it to be fairly easy to install, configure and train.

Replies:   John Demille
John Demille

@Dominions Son

I use my Mac's built in dictation function. Works very well if you have a good microphone. It can dictate into any word processor. Its accuracy exceeds 98% for me, which is better than typing. Since it relies on sentence context, it minimizes homonym problems.

Slutsinger

I posted in the other thread too, but thought I'd answer the specific question asked here. Most of the discussion in this thread has been focused on speech to text. As someone who is blind, I haven't found speech to text very helpful on computers. I can type fast enough on a full-sized keyboard that I'm going to be happier than dictating. I can control the errors I make better that way.
I do use Google Voice on smart phones. While I can type on an on-screen keyboard with accessibility enabled, I find that voice typing and then going back to correct errors works better than my typing speed on those devices.

With regard to text to speech, I think the native accessibility tools in the operating systems are good enough that I wouldn't see a need to look beyond them. On Windows there's Narrator. In my opinion, that's good enough for most tasks starting with Windows 8 that I'd no longer recommend buying JAWS, Window Eyes, or any of the hugely expensive screen readers that we tended to have to get in the past. On MAC there's Voiceover (also on Apple phones and tablets). On Linux there's Orca for graphical environments, and YASR/Speakup/Emacspeak/a few others for text environments. Android phones come with Talkback and Chromebooks come with a version of Chromevox that is better than the one you get on a desktop browser.

All of these are good enough to get work done including reading and writing stories. None of these are perfect.
None of these are great at giving you information about visual layout of what you're producing. I mean you can in general ask if text is bold, capitalized, etc. But understanding table alignment, kerning and multi-column layouts tends to be fairly tricky.

All of the above require some real dedication to learning the tools and understanding how they work. A lot of people who become blind later in life find the frustration of learning a new environment more than they can handle. It all depends on how much you value being able to use a computer, on how bad your vision is, and on what tradeoff you make between doing something the way you're used to slower vs learning something new.

In the past I had some very helpful tapes and classes that helped learn the basic concepts behind screen layout and behind how screen readers present information.
Today I can pick up a new screen reader in minutes or hours, but it all depends on that initial information basis.
Unfortunately, all those classes talk about technologies that no longer exist and I wouldn't know where to find them anyway.
The expensive Windows screen readers (JAWS and window Eyes) probably do have reasonably good training material. They might be worth buying just for that. I've used both over the years, but it's been a long time and I don't remember their training.

Not_a_ID
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


Can those of you who use such software please name what you use along with their good points and bad points. Another author / reader (wordytom) has eyesight issues and needs to get advice on such software. see thread


My primary means of "reading" these days is via speech-to-text by way of Amazon's Kindle Reader on their Kindle devices. Which moves it slightly out of your requested realm, but you can get new Kindles from Amazon for $50 or less here in the United States without really trying.

Con - Requires you to have one of the Amazon Kindle Devices in order to use their speech-to-text system.

Pro - Numerous voices to choose from, and it sounds human. At least until the content being read provides something to trip it up(like something it thinks is an abbreviation).

Pro - Kindle devices are dirt cheap.

Pro - "Send-to-Kindle" is dead easy, and the browser extension works on sites that are otherwise "protected" from being saved for offline reading. (Such as on certain other writing sites)

Pro - Paid users @ storiesonline also have a "Kindle button" they can press which will normally(except the super-long stories) e-mail the story to your Kindle's email address. Amazon then handles it much like a send-to-kindle entry. Only you get the entire story in one file, rather than one screen at a time. (Edit to add: Send to kindle via email also means that you can authorize a 3rd party(or as many as you want) to email "properly formed" content to the device for you. Thus potentially lowering the "tech factor" even further after initial setup)

Con - Using Send-to-Kindle or the e-mail option means Amazon gets to see what you're reading.

Pro - You can use other options (higher tech factor) such as Calibre to "side-load" stories onto the Kindle.

Pro - Adjustable font size, font type, color, and background colors(Well, so long as it is one of 4 for the color tablets)

Con - Amazon Kindle devices are dirt cheap because they're a "gateway" to your buying other Amazon devices, services, and products. Which means they're not particularly useful as anything other than a e-book reader unless you're going to spring for one or more of their "Prime" services. Which it will be rather forcefully pushing at you.

Pro - It isn't bad as a web browser either, but a full-function tablet the Kindle Tablets are not. Paperwhite is probably a better option in general.

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