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speech to textIf you’re an Android user, you’ve probably already heard that there’s in-built voice recognition software and text-to-speech capability. But have you used it? Did you know it works pretty darn well? Time to give it a try!

Android’s voice software is easy to customise and is already ready to use RIGHT NOW on your Android phone. There’s no need to scour the Android market for decent speech-to-text software because you already have access to it. It’s also unlikely you’ll need to find a paid alternative because this works quite well. I think you’ll be surprised.

Set Correct Dictionaries

First, make sure your phone is set up to use the correct dictionaries. Go to Settings > Voice Input and Output Settings.

speech to text

Choose Voice Recognizer Settings > Language. You can fine-tune the input language not just with basic language differences, but with local accents. Your Android can differentiate between Canadian English and American English, even if most of the rest of the world can’t. I’m clearly in need of the Australian English variety, myself.

speech to text software


For the text-to-speech (TTS) capabilities you’ll need to go into Text-To-Speech Settings > Language. There’s not as much choice as for speech input, but you can at least pick from a few popular languages and accents. Test out the speech synthesizer by clicking Listen To An Example. Here is also where you can change the speech rate and lock in your settings to ensure applications don’t override them with their own settings. To do this, check the box for Always Use My Settings. Note that to use text-to-speech the application will need to have been written to support it.

speech to text software

How To Use Android Speech-To-Text Capabilities

Right, now you should have a go at using your voice features. To use your voice to write something, head to any application, find a text field and bring up the keyboard control for entering text.

speech to text software

Then, just to the left of the space bar you’ll see a button with a microphone and two letters indicating your language input settings. Hold that button down and your phone will ask for voice input rather than keyboard input. If you don’t hold it down long enough you will see a menu where you can change the language. This is also a useful feature, but not what you’re after right now.

speech to text

A window will pop up saying “Speak Now“. Speak into the phone clearly and use full sentences. When you want to use punctuation you’ll need to speak the name of the punctuation mark. Sadly, despite my Aussie settings I still needed to use American punctuation mark terminology. So, to enter a full stop (a.k.a. a period) you’ll say “Period” to get the punctuation mark entered.

What Else Can You Do With Speech in Android?

For starters, remember that this speech-to-text function is available anywhere you can use the keyboard. That’s pretty versatile! You could dictate whole blog posts by sending yourself an email to edit later.

Android 2.2 (Froyo) also lets users search Google using speech and to use voice commands 10+ Tricks To Try With The Google Android Operating System 10+ Tricks To Try With The Google Android Operating System Read More — Grab this Google Voice Search application to get going and check out this post for more information. You can even phone friends using speech only. Some applications are voice-compatible and will allow you to enter commands using your voice. This leads to some nifty ideas: think about how useful brainstorming could be with a to-do list which understands voice commands and lets you enter text with your voice. If you’re just getting into using voice on your phone, you should also read about The 5 Coolest Voice Apps For Your Android Phone The 5 Coolest Voice Apps For Your Android Phone The 5 Coolest Voice Apps For Your Android Phone Read More .

How does Android‘s speech-to-text suit you? Does it save you time? Does it understand your accent? What do you use it for? Let us know in the comments!

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  1. Bud Hines
    February 1, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    Hi, I just talked to my car mechanic. He was using an iphone and created a voice message that he attached to a memo he left for himself.

    Does android provide the ability to store that text message as a memo?

  2. Kelly S.
    September 28, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    It slows me down because it keeps spelling "Rachael" without the second "a" so I have to go back and correct it. There should be a way to teach the voice recognition to spell names the way you intend. I don't want to have to spell her name when sending a text to her father.

  3. Debbie
    May 28, 2016 at 3:37 am

    Thank you, thank you for clear directions!

  4. Graham
    April 24, 2016 at 3:25 am

    I need the output to be in the same language as I speak. I am set up for English (UK) but the text output still mangles it to the English (US) equivalent or worse.

  5. Banyin
    March 16, 2016 at 10:25 am

    I've just discovered this voice to text function. No more hunching over to type, which gives me stress on my shoulders and neck. This is just so excellent for me.

    I voice to text in Onenote and pick up the text on my PC. Probably not the best way but I haven't found a better way.

  6. Tom Gulley
    September 21, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    This is without question a joke of a product.

    If you want to spend more time correcting what the conversion gives you than you would actually pecking out the keys and typing it yourself, this is the way to go.

    Certain words? It absolutely REFUSES to recognize. If you're on Tinder? Get ready for "Tender" over and over and over again. But that's OK. When you go to correct it, it gives you Tinder as an option.

    So, it KNOWS it sucks. It has a ready list of suggestions for what you were actually trying to say.

    I speak on the radio and in commercials for a living and I wouldn't let this thing translate my grocery list. WASTE OF TIME. Carrier pigeons would be quicker and less frustrating.

  7. kelli
    February 22, 2015 at 7:34 pm


  8. Nitish Verma
    February 12, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    What is the way of using speech to text feature in offline mode?

  9. Marc
    February 12, 2015 at 9:58 am

    The speech-to-text disapearred from my HTC Desire X :(
    No more microphone on keyboard ...
    I don't know what's happen ...
    How can I reactivate it ?

  10. teanna
    January 28, 2015 at 1:16 am

    I don't have a microphone on the keyboard on this phone. It is the galaxy avant. I just switched from the exhibit and it had one. I can't figure out how to get it on there. It was already there on my other phone.

    • Ferol
      December 28, 2015 at 1:01 am

      On the key pad, touch and hold setting, the mic should pop up. Then touch the mic and speak.

  11. Mitesh Budhabhatti
    June 27, 2011 at 6:55 am

    I have a Samsung ACE and it takes a while when it does speech to text.  Is it normal in Android or its an issue with ACE?

    • Angela Alcorn
      June 27, 2011 at 7:15 am

      I can only speak for my HTC Desire, which isn't slow at all. You might also want to consider that your internet connection is slowing it down. The speech-to-text service accesses Google's voice-recognition servers to do the transcript.

      • Mitesh Budhabhatti
        June 27, 2011 at 12:20 pm

        It accesses Google's server?? I did not know that.  If thats the case, that could be the reason for the slowness as my internet is damn slow.  Thanks

  12. riz
    June 10, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    it gives me a connection problem...when i tried using it for an sms, it says "could not connect". i'm using swype but the keyboard does have a mic button.

    • Angela Alcorn
      June 10, 2011 at 3:51 pm

      Ah yes, you need to be online for it to work, since it connects to Google's servers in order to work out what you're saying.

  13. Anonymous
    June 10, 2011 at 3:14 am

    No dice for Gmail or Google Voice for texting on DroidX. Fail.

    • Angela Alcorn
      June 10, 2011 at 7:50 am

      Are you running Android 2.2? I have seen screenshots of 2.1 users using this, but it should definitely work for all users of 2.2.

  14. bragTAG
    June 10, 2011 at 12:03 am

    The "Taskos" android app is a task manager/to-do list app which not only allows text input, but also syncs with Google Tasks!  Taskos also has a nifty widget which also allows text input right from the home screen...not affiliated with Taskos in ANY was, just passing this along as I enjoy using it!

  15. Anonymous
    June 9, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    No luck with my Samsung ACE, does swype has something to do it with this?

    • Angela Alcorn
      June 10, 2011 at 7:48 am

      Swype could have something to do with it. Are you unable to see a microphone button anywhere?