Free Up Your Hands With Speech-To-Text [Android]

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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.

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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 — 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.

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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Comments (14)
  • kelli

    LG ACCESS. LTE DOES NOT CONTAIN. TEXT BY USING VOICE… WASTE OF MONEY… BACK TO IPHONE

  • Nitish Verma

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

  • Marc

    Hi.
    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 ?
    Thanks

  • teanna

    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.

  • Mitesh Budhabhatti

    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

      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

      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

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This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.