How To Improve Dictation On Mac
Optimizing Your OSX Voice Recognition SessionThere's a few things you can do to make sure your Mac OSX dictation experience is optimal. Here we provide a few Apple dictation tips, suggestions and insights to get the time-saving and typing-saving results you hope for.
Enable Enhanced Offline ModeApple provides TWO methods of Mac speech to text translation: BASIC MODE requires a live internet connection to capture short snippets of your voice recording, send it to Apple's servers for translation, then return it to your application window after a delay of a few seconds. It understands common punctuation and 'new line' to advance the cursor to a new paragraph - but not much more.
ENHANCED MODE requires you checkbox it as an option and downloads an 800MB file onto your Mac. Once you've done this, you can use dictation offline anywhere at anytime without an internet connection. It allows CONTINUOUS dictation without restrictions or delays. And, it supports additional Character and Formatting commands. If you're serious about fully using voice features of your Macintosh - enable Enhanced Mode in System Preferences > Dictation & Speech pref pane.
Check Your Audio SettingsAny time you're using speech recognition on a Mac, taking a moment to verify and adjust your headset or standalone microphone input levels is wise. In OSX's System Preferences > Sound pane, adjust the sound input level slider as you speak both softly and deliberately loudly to find the optimal setting. A slight tweak up or downwards might improve your voice recognition accuracy significantly.
Up Your Mac Audio Hardware QualityThe microphone built-into your MacBook laptop, iMac or Apple Cinema Display may seem 'good enough' for casual dictation and voice command uses. But if you're really serious about getting consistent, spot-on results, consider investing in a dedicated Mac speech recognition headset or Apple compatible dictation microphone to give you the utmost in transcription accuracy.
Control Your Sound EnvironmentBe aware of external environmental factors that might continuously or intermittently impact your speech recording session. That could be a ringing telephone, a barking dog, an unexpected notification Beep! from a concurrently running computer application, or the constant hum or drone of a fan or air conditioner degrading your audio waveform quality.
Review Your Dictation CommandsReally knowing your Apple speech recognition software's keystroke and voice-based editing commands matters alot. There's both a BASIC and ENHANCED as well as an ADVANCED mode you can optionally take advantage of when you get more serious about using it's full features.
You can review a list of which Advanced commands are supported by Enhanced Dictation Mode by going to to System Preferences > Accessibility > Dictation category > Dictation Commands... button. You have to explicitly checkbox 'Enable Advanced Commands' to take advantage of them.
Have A Topic OutlineIt's a lot easier to talk than type - at least on a physical and mechanical level. The mechanics of typing typically involve frequent pauses, then it's on to the next phrase or sentence. Dictating well has it's own challenges that occur on two levels: Mental organization and execution. Preparing a written topic outline in advance helps you stay on track and present sections of content in a logical opening introduction, deeper explanation sections, then a final summary style.
Be Clear-Headed And Clear VoicedMaintain a critical awareness at all times on delivering clean and clear diction - enunciating each word distinctly and clearly. Good enunciation does wonders for accuracy and is a skill you can quickly master with practice. On a second level, its about being able to organize your thoughts - on the fly - in a continuous flow.
Proofread and EditEven if you achieve 99 percent voice recognition accuracy, your Mac speech to text sessions aren't going to be flawless. 99% means even in a typical 100 word paragraph you're likely to find some aspect of interpretation, capitalization, punctuation or grammar that's off the mark. The bulk of the work is done, it just needs refinement.
Use Mac Word Processor ToolsOnce you've proofread your dictation output and corrected any glaring mistakes, you're still not finished. Proof the article again, this time focusing on your grammar, sentence structure and general readability. You can use a full word processing app like Microsoft Office for Mac or Apple Pages which have more sophisticated grammar and spelling dictionaries, word count, or other Gunning, Fleisch, or Fog readability assesments to help you finalize your dictated document for optimal readability.
Restructure Dictated Content If NeededDid you convey what you needed to in a clear, logical and easy to digest manner? It may be appropriate to manually reword certain phrases, reorder sentences, dictate additional content, or reorganize paragraphs to prep your document to fully optimize it for final publishing.
Tags: Improve Mac dictation, Mac dictation tips, Apple speech recgonition, Mac dictation accuracy tips, voice recognition guide