Android apps that type what you say

How-To Geek

Use Voice Dictation to Save Time on Android, iPhone, and iPad

Touch-screen keyboards can be slow, especially on phones with small screens. To enter text more naturally, you can use your phone or tablet’s voice dictation feature. Just speak — punctuation included — and your device will convert what you say to text.

Android apps that type what you say

This works in other languages than English. In fact, it can even be more useful with non-English languages. For example, you can speak a language that requires accents or a larger alphabet of characters to save time over tapping them in.

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To use voice dictation on Android, open any app and bring up a keyboard by tapping in a text field you want to type in. Tap the microphone icon at the bottom-left corner of your keyboard.

Just start speaking to use voice dictation. Android will insert the words as you speak them.

Bear in mind that it won’t automatically insert punctuation for you. You’ll need to speak the punctuation mark you want to use. For example, if you’d like to type “I’m good. How are you doing?”, you’d need to speak the words “I’m good period how are you doing question mark.”

Unfortunately, Android’s list of voice dictation commands is very limited compared to the comprehensive set available on iPhone and iPad.

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Android’s voice dictation is good for conversational messages, such as text messages, searches, emails, tweets, and quick notes. Attempt to use it for documents with complex formatting or symbols and you’ll have some problems. There’s no voice command to go back and delete a word, so you’d have to tap the Delete button or go back and edit your text afterwards.

We used the Google Keyboard here, but you can install other keyboards on Android to get different voice dictation engines. For example, the Swype keyboard includes integrated Dragon Dictation features.

iPhone and iPad

On an iPhone or iPad, bring up the keyboard in any app and tap the microphone icon to the left of the space bar to start using voice dictation. Because it interprets your voice, Apple refers to this feature as part of Siri.

Android apps that type what you say

You’ll see a Siri prompt and you can start speaking immediately. Words won’t appear as you speak. Instead, you’ll need to speak  your message and then tap Done. After you do, the words you spoke will appear in the text field.

Just as with Android, Siri won’t automatically insert punctuation marks. To enter “Hello, how are you? I’m doing well.” you’d have to speak the words “Hello comma how are you question mark I’m doing well period.”

Here are the voice dictation commands that work on an iPhone or iPad. We tried to arrange them in a quick list you can easily skim, but you can also find the list in longer form on Apple’s website :

iOS also gives you much more control over formatting:

  • Say numeral or roman numeral and speak a number. For example, if you say “nine,” it will appear as 9 or IX.
  • Say no space on. say something, and then say no space off. For example, if you say “hello how are you,” your words would appear as “hellohowareyou”.
  • Say caps on. say something, and say caps off. The words you spoke will appear in Title Case.
  • Say all caps on. say something, and then say all caps off. The words you spoke will appear in ALL CAPS.
  • Say all caps and say a word — the next word you speak will appear in ALL CAPS.

Compared to Android, iOS offers much more fine-grained control over voice dictation. However, there’s still no “backspace”, “delete”, or “undo” command that you can speak to undo any mistakes you make while speaking. You’ll have to go and edit your message afterwards to perform any corrections.

Android apps that type what you say

Remember that speaking clearly is very important. Obviously, voice dictation will work best in a quiet room and very poorly on a noisy street.

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There are hundreds of apps that let you search, write emails, take notes and set appointments with your smartphone. But, for some people, the small size of a phone's keyboard or touch screen can be limiting and difficult to use.

If you have trouble seeing the small type, have a lack of finger dexterity or just think better out loud, you might benefit from a tool that allows you to convert spoken words to written words. Here's a look at three different speech-to-text apps that can help you get things done with a lot less hassle :

1. Dragon Dictation. This app has only one button. Simply tap it and start talking. Dragon Dictation handles the rest. The text appears after you finish dictating, so it might take a little getting used to. But once you get the rhythm, you can process lengthy emails and other documents with a high degree of accuracy in one of 30 different languages or dialects.

Once the app has transcribed your speech, you can send it out via email or copy and paste to another application. You can also post directly to Facebook and Twitter, or save your text to use later on. Best of all, the app is free for the iPhone and iPad but it does require a network connection to work.

2. Evernote for Android. Evernote was designed to help you keep track of ideas and inspirations. You always could use the app to record audio notes such as lectures or meetings, but now it also allows you to turn those audiofiles into text.

Unlike Dragon Dictation, Evernote saves both the audio and the text file together so you can use the app's search ability to find a recorded note. The app can be a handy tool for recording all your thoughts at the end of each day. Say what's on your mind, then sort through the data later.

The app is free, but because Evernote uses Google Android's text transcription service, you do need to be online to use it.

3. Voice Assistant. This newly redesigned app has a fast access feature that makes it even easier to post to Twitter, Facebook or email. Switch on your preferred option and Voice Assistant converts your transcriptions to the proper format without additional clicks.

Use the auto copy feature to send your transcriptions to other apps such as Google Search, YouTube, Evernoteor Pages. You can also send your transcription straight to a wireless printer.

Voice Assistant uses intelligent speech recognition so it learns with every use. It also has grammar correction and on-screen editing with suggestions for corrections.

The app costs 99 cents and is available for the iPhone and iPad.

For reprints and licensing questions, click here .

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