Friday, February 8, 2013

Mac Dictation

OS X’s Dictation service is for me both boon and bane. It makes the work of transcribing passages from books wonderfully easy. But the ease is illusory, for improbable, unforeseeable mistakes creep in. And because I cannot anticipate my Mac’s mishearings, the products of Dictation require more careful proofreading than typed text.

Making a page to go with Langston Hughes’s 1951 poem Montage of a Dream Deferred, I tried to get Dictation to recognize boogie-woogie. Some results: boogie-boogie, boogie-looking, boogie-wiki, boogie-Woodkey, Boogie-Woody (almost a Beach Boys title), Boogie-Wookie, okay-Wookie, the de-wiki. Yes, I kept trying out of curiosity. My favorite: boogie-what.

The trick to getting it right: not speaking the hyphen. Dictation might be smarter than I thought.

A helpful page for anyone working with Dictation: Mac Basics: Dictation.

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