Speech-To-Text Dictation Software for Mac OS X

Speech-to-text software also known as dictation software, is nothing but the interface that lets you communicate with the computer and let the computer react accordingly to whatever you command to it. It is completely different from what you call text-to-speech software.

Usually the functionality of Speech-To-Text Dictation Software depends on many things including:

  • How good your microphone is
  • How much your accent matches the “standard” accent the program expects
  • Whether your voice changes a lot through the day, and so on

There are actually two options for dictation software that are supported by Mac OS X known as basic dictation software (built-in software of OS X) and Dragon Dictate for Mac which has been developed by Nuance. Here are some general steps which will help you turn the dictation tool and use it accordingly for dictation purpose on Mac machine.

Steps to turn Dictation on or off:

  • Go to the Apple menu and choose “System Preferences” option.
  • Next, go to the View menu and select “Dictation & Speech” followed by Dictation preferences.
  • Now, select “On” to enable Dictation, or “Off” to disable the same

In case you want to go for a shortcut key, you can just change your language, and select a microphone from Dictation preferences. If your system does not have a built-in microphone, then you can even connect an external microphone in order to use Dictation.

Steps to start dictating:

  • First of all, click on text field or document window where you want to start typing.
  • Then, press the fn (Function) key twice, or select “Edit” option followed by “Start Dictation” option.
  • Now, speak whatever you want your system to type.

Once the process gets completed, click on “Done” option or press the fn key once again. Your spoken words will then appear in the selected text field.

You will find an input meter which indicates the strength of your voice. If it’s too low, then just stick closer to your microphone and speak louder for better communication. If you find that the input meter is not working appropriately when you speak, then check whether your microphone and sound input are set up correctly or not. In case, there is any noise at the background, the input meter will fill more than half of the microphone icon. Such noise can affect your dictation thereby making it less accurate.

Basically, your computer listens for up to 30 seconds at a time and then reacts for the spoken words. If you want to dictate longer sentences, then you have an option called Enhanced Dictation for that also. This option allows you to dictate continuously and it automatically stops listening when you switch to another window or press the Fn key again or click Done.