I just finished two back-to-back deadlines. Normally, when I finish one book my body hurts after a marathon at the keyboard. This time, technology saved me. I’ve been using the voice recognition software Dragon Naturally Speaking. It’s made me more productive and, for the first time since I began writing, my hands, forearms and neck don’t ache.
However, as with all technology, it isn’t without its quirks. One of Dragon’s best features is that over time — and with “training” — the program begins to understand your voice and particular turns of speech. Dragon and I aren’t quite there yet. While it greatly enhanced my output and saved me physically, it had a tendency to misunderstand me. I had to carefully review each sentence to make sure it heard me right. I’ve become very conscious of enunciating and speaking slowly. Still, sometimes (especially when I was tired) the misinterpretations were pretty funny. Finally, I started keeping a list. Here are some of the more entertaining mistakes:
What I said: What are you doing? What Dragon heard: Whatcha doin’?
What I said: mustering What Dragon heard: must stream
What I said: Good morning What Dragon heard: Good Mormon
What I said: Tatiana Island What Dragon heard: talk to you on an island
What I said: ladies and gentlemen What Dragon heard: 80s and gentlemen
What I said: call it a night What Dragon heard: culinary right
What I said: Don’t you think? What Dragon heard: Dutch you think?
What I said: Kids have a natural BS meter
What Dragon heard: Kids have been asked me to her
What I said: Why don’t you have a seat over there?
What Dragon heard: Win a java seat over there?
What I said: his craving for her What Dragon heard: his creeping her
What I said: heck of a time What Dragon heard: heckuva time
My personal favorite:
What I said: Kinsley’s gasp was audible, surprising even herself.
What Dragon heard: Kinsley’s gas was audible, surprising even herself.
Incidentally, it spelled “Justin Bieber” correct on first try. I just had to see what it would do with the word Bieber. Dragon is obviously fluent in pop culture.
Now that the books are finished, I will keep training because the benefits are well worth the adjustment time. How about you? Have you encountered any challenges with technology lately? Was it worth taking the time to figure it out or did it frustrate you to the point that you threw in the towel? I will give away a free copy of one of my backlist books to someone who comments.