Speech Recognition

A quick and easy guide to keyboard dictation on Mac

Guide to Dictation on Mac

If you’ve ever been in a situation where you had to continue working or writing on Mac when you were unable to type, what did you do?

Your Mac offers a nice dictation feature for these times, and it’s easier to use than you probably think.

This guide will help you enable, use, and disable dictation on your Mac. So if you find yourself with an injury preventing you from typing or simply want to give dictation a try, here’s how to use it on Mac.

Turn iMessage, WhatsApp, and Line voice messages into text with Textify

Sending your friends voice recordings on messenger platforms such as iMessage, WhatsApp or Threema is surely not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s hard to overlook its rising popularity in certain circles. Be it for faster communications or text weariness amongst younger people, voice messages are rife in chats today and that is despite the one clear downside they have: unlike texts, they are not very discreet, which makes them basically unobtainable in a host of potential situations.

Understanding the (circumstantial) issues with voice messages, Apple were the first to offer voicemail transcriptions in iOS 10 and now Textify joins the cause to bring a similar service to an even wider audience. The speech recognition app provides spoken word-to-text transcriptions for all your favorite messenger platforms including iMessage, WhatsApp, Threema, and Line. And suffice it to say that it wouldn’t be on iDB if it was not surprisingly powerful at that. Here’s how it works.

How to enable Enhanced Dictation in OS X for streaming speech-to-text with live feedback

OS X includes a nifty Dictation feature which allows you to control your Mac and apps with your voice. You can use “speakable items”, basically a set of spoken commands, to open apps, choose menu items, email contacts and convert whole spoken sentences to text, wherever you can type text.

This is much like iOS’s Dictation feature as both iOS and OS X use the same Nuance-powered technology that turns speech to text. iOS devices have limited computing power so the Dictation feature on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad requires network connectivity in iOS 7 (iOS 8 supports streaming voice recognition and 22 new languages).

On the Mac, computing resources like CPU power, battery life and RAM are not of paramount importance as on mobile, Therefore, OS X Mavericks provides a new Enhanced Dictation feature which converts your words to text without utilizing Apple’s servers.

In other words, server-based Dictation lets you dictate without an active Internet connection. Because voice recognition processing runs locally on your Mac, text appears instantly as you speak. That is: continuos, streaming dictation with live feedback is made possible.

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to turn on Enhanced Dictation in OS X and take advantage of speech-to-text, even when you're off the grid...

Apple purchased speech recognition firm Novauris last year to bolster Siri team

Just a day after Microsoft unveiled its digital assistant 'Cortana' to rave reviews, news has surfaced that Apple has been making moves to bring its own assistant up to speed. TechCrunch is reporting this morning that the Cupertino company has purchased speech recognition firm Novauris, and the group is now working on the Siri team.

Novauris is highly-regarded in the world of speech recognition. Founded in March 2002 by well-known speech researchers and ex Dragon Systems engineers, the firm's technology is used in a variety of products by companies like Verizon Wireless, Panasonic, Alpine and BMW, and can be operated in both the embedded and server space...

Nuance unveils Nina, the virtual assistant for iOS and Android apps

Nuance, the voice recognition engine that powers Siri, today announced a new kind of digital personal assistant aimed at mobile customer service apps. Called Nina, she "transforms iPhone and Android mobile apps into powerful engagement tools that allow customers to serve themselves". Nina promises to cover everything from paying your bills to getting answers to your questions to changing or adding service on the fly.

Built on the same voice recognition engine from Nuance that Apple licensed for Siri, Nina can be added to iOS and Android apps via a software development kit (SDK) issued today as part of the announcement. What's best, Nina doesn't require that you tediously type in your password for various services and instead recognizes your voice to provide secure authentication...

Taiwan university sues Apple over Siri speech recognition

A university in Taiwan has sued Apple over its use of dictation feature in Siri and the underlying speech recognition engine, claiming Apple's implementation violates its patents. National Cheng Kung University has on Monday launched a lawsuit against the iPhone maker and is seeking undisclosed damages, though its lawyers noted that any calculation would be based on Apple's U.S. sales of devices that use Siri, quite possibly amounting to millions of dollars in damages...

AT&T opens up its Watson speech engine via SDK for iOS and Android

Realizing Apple and Google are moving swiftly to mainstream speech recognition on mobile devices, U.S. carrier AT&T today announced that it is opening up its own Watson speech engine to iOS and Android platforms via a software development kit (SDK), now available on the AT&T Developer website.

Much like Apple's Siri or Google Voice Actions in Android (and Google Now), Watson takes input, analyzes it, performs one or more services and returns a result. Input can be audio files, speech, gestures, face recognition and text. Here's a video of Watson in action...

How to Enable OmniFocus Siri Reminders on iPhone 4

OmniFocus for iPhone4 Siri

OmniFocus for iPhone is a great productivity tool. With Apple’s new iPhone OS came integration with Reminders and Siri. When enabled, OmniFocus will check the Reminders app for new tasks, add them to your Inbox, and remove them from your Reminders list. This holds true for Reminders created using Siri in addition to those entered manually.

However, for some reason, The Omni Group limited the powerful new iOS 5 integration to iPhone 4S users. The good news is if you’re an iPhone 4 user, you can enable Reminders and Siri integration with a little bit of preference file editing. This trick does not affect the OmniFocus app’s performance, stability or existing functionality. Here’s how to do it…

Nuance to Buy Natural Speech Competitor Vlingo to Take on Siri

It seems Apple's introduction of Siri to the world of smartphones has had an unexpected affect – it has stopped the ongoing legal wrangle between two competing natural language software development companies. So much so that the pair are now in cahoots.

Both Nuance and Vlingo have been at each other's throats over perceived patent infringement, but the pair are now best buds after Nuance announced that it was to buy Vlingo, the same firm it took to court not that long ago.

The reason for the sudden turnaround? The pair seem to think that they need to join forces against a common enemy, namely, Apple...

ESRA: A Siri-Like Assistant For Older iOS 5 Devices

Let me preface this by saying that ESRA will be a disappointment to those who are expecting it to compete with Siri.

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, let's talk more about this jailbreak app. ESRA stands for Experimental Speech Response Application, and as you can see from the video, it more than lives up to the "experimental" portion of the ESRA acronym...