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Addressing 9 Common Pitfalls in Dictation and Speech Recognition

By Philips Speech Blog

Dictation can be learned quickly and being aware of common pitfalls right from the get go will save you time and avoid unnecessary frustration. We have collected 9 tips to follow which will make dictation and speech recognition a breeze. Keep these in mind and working with your voice will become an indispensable tool in your daily work life.

1. Set your mind to ‘Dictation mode’

One of the most common misconceptions is that dictation and speech recognition works like a normal conversation – just with yourself. But it’s more than that. Approaching a voice recording with the intention in mind that the end result is a text document, helps to get into the right mindset. You can stop a recording when you need to think to avoid long gaps that potentially will only record background noise. Think before you speak and then speak fluently in full sentences. As a next step you can start the addition of saying punctuation out loud and the software will recognize those as ‘commands’. Practice speaking out loud as you would type text and you’ll soon get the hang of it.  

2. Invest in professional recording devices

Especially if you would like to work with speech recognition, it is crucial to use quality recording devices for satisfactory results. Professional dictation recorders, microphones and headsets are designed to achieve ideal voice recording quality. The industry-leading microphone – the Philips SpeechMike Premium series – for example is equipped with a decoupled microphone that allows for interference free recordings. Using your smartphone to dictate is certainly an option for shorter messages, but limitations are met quickly. You will likely need to save your smartphone batteries for phone calls and other functionalities without interrupting your recordings.

3. Eliminate background noise

Besides obvious distractions like conversations, radio, TV, etc., things like chewing a gum or rustling a piece of paper can be very disruptive while recording. Eliminating any possible background noises will not only make for better speech recognition results, but will also make anyone happy who has to listen and/or transcribe your recording.

4. Learn voice commands

Voice commands such as “period”, “new paragraph” or “comma” are very important to provide structure in your texts and will help format your document as you speak. As you learn more of those commands they can also be used for other formatting, for example making words or headlines bold. Voice commands save an enormous amount of time whether you create text with speech recognition and then correct it yourself or someone else types the recording for you.

5. Know the preferred end result

Many people have become familiar with speech-to-text technology in their everyday personal lives. You might be dictating your chat and text messages on your smartphone for a while already. However, in professional context a simple text message is rarely enough. So consider the following: What would you like to do with the recording? Do you need to create a formatted document? Is the text needed elsewhere, like a CRM or document management system? Professional speech-to-text solutions such as Philips SpeechLive offer a variety of options for efficiently processing voice files and text documents.

6. Working as a team matters

You might find a lot of apps that offer some kind of speech-to-text functionality on your smartphone. But what happens next? In our professional lives the vast majority of us are required to collaborate with team members. This is particularly true when it comes to dictation and document creation. Having a solution that allows you to collaborate seamlessly with others brings a lot of efficiencies to the process, allows for workload distribution and proper handling of all files.

7. Try to just talk 

Gestures and facial expressions work well on stage, but they are impractical while dictating. If you gesticulate a lot, the distance between the microphone and your mouth changes constantly which affects the recording quality. For those who need their hands free to express themselves, we suggest using professional headsets, like the Philips SpeechOne wireless headset that lets you talk while you pace around.

8. You speak in a dialect or have a strong accent

Dialects are unique and make our languages colorful and lively. Accents are also common in the increasingly international working world and even desired by many companies. However, when it comes to speech recognition strong accents aren’t software’s best friend. Try your best to pronounce words as clearly and accurately as possible. This might also be a reason why saving the voice recordings with any speech recognized text is so important, so you can re-listen to what was said at any time.

9. Stick with it

A mistake by dictation newbies is that they don’t give themselves time to learn. To get the most out of your dictation and speech recognition solution be patient with yourself and your work processes and approaches will significantly improve with time.

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Is Your Dictation Microphone Browser Ready?

From Philips Speech Blog

Working with cloud solutions in professional environments is on the rise. Simply put, cloud computing is the delivery of computing services – including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence – over the Internet (“the cloud”) to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale. Many applications that were previously installed on a computer are now only accessible through a web browser.

There is no doubt that cloud solutions are the future, but are we sure all hardware products we use with our computer work just as well with browser-based applications? Make sure your hardware is future-proof and ready when you decide to “go cloud”.

Philips is always on the forefront of staying in touch with new technologies and makes sure that current and and new hardware products serve new and upcoming customer needs.

We call it “Browser Mode”, but what does it mean?

The latest Philips SpeechMike dictation microphones in the USB-connected and wireless versions as well as the brand new Philips SpeechOne wireless headset are ready to work with your browser-based applications. The biggest advantage is that this will enable authors to utilize their SpeechMike Premium Touch as well as the SpeechMike Premium Air in browser-based recording and speech recognition applications without the need to install any specific drivers on the computer.

“Browser Mode” means that the hardware devices send joystick events to the PC to control the web-based application. Browser Mode also allows the use of hotkeys and therefore is a perfect solution to integrate the Philips SpeechMike into cloud solutions.

The browser feature for the SpeechMike microphones is, for example, needed if clients are working with Philips SpeechLive – a cloud-based dictation workflow solution – and are using the new online recorder within the web browser.

Settings for Browser Mode

With the latest SpeechMike firmware version 3.52 and 4.50 , Browser Mode can be enabled in the Philips SpeechMike Premium Touch (SMP3700/3800 series) and the SpeechMike Premium Air (SMP 4000). These SpeechMike models can be easily switched to Browser mode on the device itself:

  1. Initialize the button switch operation by pressing EOL and INS/OVR simultaneously for 3 seconds.
    The LEDs that are close to the buttons will start flashing yellow
  2. Select F3 for “Browser Mode” to set the intended button mode.
    The LED of the selected button will breifly light up
  3. To check the selected button mode briefly press EOL and INS/OVR.
    The LED of the corresponding button mode will light up in yellow.