Monthly Archives: August 2009

Tip: Beat the heat

Here in Boston right now it’s ridiculously hot outside. If you’re using speech recognition on a computer in a room that’s hot, you might have a fan going and/or the computer fan might be going continuously rather than occasionally. And if this is the case, you’re probably getting worse than usual recognition.

There something you can do about it, however. Dragon NaturallySpeaking does an audio check when you initially train a user. The audio check adjusts sound levels and checks for background noise. If your background noise changes, it’s a good idea to do an audio check. This includes if it’s a hellishly hot day out and there’s extra fan noise around.

To do an audio check say
1. “NatSpeak Accuracy” to open the NatSpeak Accuracy Center window
2. “Under c” (or “Under Charlie”) to click “Check your audio settings”, which brings up the Audio Setup Wizard dialog box
3. Now follow the instructions to go through the wizard

Unfortunately the Audio Setup wizard is not hands free. Log a complaint to NaturallySpeaking maker Nuance about this (see the UC Exchange page on NatSpeak Utilities and Resources for ideas about where to do so.)

Remember to run the Audio Setup Wizard whenever the general noise around you changes, or when you take a laptop to a new space. Accurate audio settings make for faster, better recognition.

Keep cool.

What are your speech pet peeves? Tell me about them – reply here or let me know at info@ this website address.

Tip: Not my mistake

One thing that the Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech engine could do better is hyphenation. I don’t mind so much when I say something that should be hyphenated and it’s not. I can always say the NaturallySpeaking command “hyphenate that” or the UC command “1-10 Hyphenate” after the fact if the NaturallySpeaking engine leaves out the hyphenation. I can also specify hyphenation when I want it, e.g. “on hyphen the hyphen fly” will type “on-the-fly”.

If I have something that’s not hyphenated and should be, it’s either a mistake or something I accidentally left out.

But if NaturallySpeaking puts in hyphenation where I don’t want it, there are two problems. First, there’s not an easy way to remove hyphenation after the fact — I have to select the phrase, then say it again in two phrases so it won’t be hyphenated, which is 3 steps. Second, there’s no way to specify no hyphenation.

If NaturallySpeaking over-hyphenates and I don’t notice, it looks like I’m consciously adding hyphens where they shouldn’t be. There’s nothing more annoying than having another entity introduce mistakes into your work.

Because the minuses of over-hyphenation are larger than the minuses of not hyphenating enough, when I see a phrase hyphenated when it’s not supposed to be I remove the hyphenated version from Natspeak Vocabulary so it won’t happen again.

For instance, I removed “follow-up”, which I often put as a stand-alone tag in my todo list. It’s a clunky workaround, but it’ll have to do until speech engines get better at analyzing hyphenation.

To remove a vocabulary word say “NatSpeak Vocabulary”, say the or phrase you want to delete, “Under d c” to delete and close the window, and “Enter” to confirm the change.

I think Nuance could mitigate this problem with a pair of in-line commands: “no-hyphen that” would remove hyphenation in the last phrase and “no-hyphen” would specify that something not be hyphenated, parallel to the “no-caps” command. I’m adding this to the Nuance wish list.