Tools I Use: speech to text

In the tool kit of accessibility functions most computers have today that I use often is speech to text.

Once enabled with a quick command, all you do is annunciate and the computer will write what it hears you say.

I have to emphasize that you do need to annunciate, not simply mumble what you say to the computer and expect it to understand what you say, including syntax. Period. Editing comes later anyhow.

Thanks to advances in speech recognition, speech-to-text works quite well now. If the speech recognition is trained on your voice and the way you say things based on a script you read to train it, the speech-to-text function can work even better. The best speech recognition tools can learn based on your edits and corrections.

In the past, I wrote about text to speech to save time reading/reviewing electronic documents and articles. Speech to text is just another productivity superpower you can use on a daily basis.

Most of us can speak rather than type since our hands are already quite occupied. This computer function can save you time and energy by potentially making you more productive like it does for me.

Do you use speech to text daily?

Tools I Use: Text to Speech

text to speech

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Previously, I wrote about dictation and transcription services I use for speech-to-text.

Now imagine getting anything on your computer read back to you.

There is a little-known tool available on most computers called text to speech.

Why do I use this little-known tool meant for accessibility? I am not illiterate nor blind, but I do use this often because my ears are available more than my eyes are.

This is the same reason I listen to audiobooks and podcasts. Ears can take constant input. Eyes are needed for many things to see around you, guide you and also read.

If I need to “read” an online article, email or document (like an ‘exciting’ contract), this will read aloud all text as-is. Your computer may have multiple voices to choose from to read this text Verbatim.

  1. Find ‘text to speech’ in your system preferences.
  2. Select a voice you want to read the text and the rate of speed for the machine to read it to you.
  3. Memorize the hot keys to hit to activate this function
  4. Select some text on your internet browser or within a document.
  5. Hit the hot keys.

It will read just about any text to you so you don’t miss it.

Yes, you can control the rate of how fast or slow you want text read to you.

I use this text to speech to do the first passes of editing and proofreading of my eBooks.

Audio is faster than typing or reading (I speak fast too). This is the same reason why I recently adopted and use an Amazon Echo Dot. I can ask Alexa any of its 15,000+ different ‘skills’ which includes continuing an audio book from Audible.

Some apps call it ‘read aloud’ feature. Adobe Acrobat has this feature to read PDFs back to you as well.

Have you tried using text to speech to save yourself time?