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Poll: Do you use voice-recognition software to translate?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
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Jan 31, 2007

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you use voice-recognition software to translate?".

This poll was originally submitted by Cristina Heraud-van Tol

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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Cristina Heraud-van Tol  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 23:17
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
I would like to Jan 31, 2007

For the moment, this type of software doesn't convince me. The program confuses words and you have to spend hours training it to get accustomed to your own voice.

But I agree that when you are tired of typing, it can offer you a great rest, and why not... fun? I just wanted to know if many people are using this and if they manage to get the results they really want.


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:17
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
I got as far as buying it... Jan 31, 2007

... and it appeared to be really slow. Then I got my usual computer guy to come and try to "fix it up", but he said it uses an awful lot of computer power and is not really made for computers of the generation from 2-3 years ago. He then came again and brought an extra gigabyte of RAM, which he put inside my computer. That helped to make it a more normal speed (though not really fast), however it really needs two gigabytes of RAM. He said that 2 GB slabs of RAM to add to an older computer were too expensive.

That was in November, but I have still not used it, because I would have to find out how to make it do all the different punctuation marks, abbreviations, etc. successfully. I believe that takes a lot of time, to find out what to do and then train it to do that, and I simply have not had that amount of free time on my hands to date. I tried using it just to do the words inbetween (any "straight pieces"), but legal documents are so full of abbreviations for names of laws and references, etc., that it was just thoroughly impractical.

Astrid


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Patricia Rosas  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:17
Spanish to English
+ ...
Dragon Naturally Speaking is VERY EASY to use .... Jan 31, 2007

Unlike Cristina, my experience with voice recognition software has been fabulous!

I just did a 10,000 word translation, and it sped up my output. When I first got the software, it only took me about an hour to do the "training." Now, during each session, I spend a few minutes training it to recognize a few odd words (including Spanish names). It also self-trains by scanning all of one's e-mail messages, and once I had it do that, its performance level went up.

I did find that I had to alter the way I read the text, but I think it is an improvement. When keyboarding, I tend to start typing before I've even read to the end of the sentence. With Dragon Naturally Speaking, I read the entire sentence, think about possible phrasings, choose one, and then speak it aloud.

I'm using Word, with the "compare side by side" feature running, and when I'd get to a string of foreign names, I would simply copy and paste them into the main document.

Now, I will admit that there were several places where the software put in something inane, and I didn't catch it until I was proofreading, but it stuck out like a sore thumb -- much easier to spot than the sort of errors that I might have made keyboarding.

So, I would recommend this to everyone! My hands and back are so happy as I slump back in my office chair!


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Patricia Rosas  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:17
Spanish to English
+ ...
punctuation not a problem Jan 31, 2007

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:

I would have to find out how to make it do all the different punctuation marks, abbreviations, etc. successfully. I believe that takes a lot of time, to find out what to do and then train it to do that, and I simply have not had that amount of free time on my hands to date. I tried using it just to do the words inbetween (any "straight pieces"), but legal documents are so full of abbreviations for names of laws and references, etc., that it was just thoroughly impractical.

Astrid


Astrid:
Can you tell us what software it is? Is it Dragon you're talking about? It punctuates for you, but if you have a list, for example, then you would say: apples comma oranges comma strawberries ...

There are a lot of features that I haven't explored yet, but as I noted I got through a 10,000 word translation in about 2/3 of the time that it would normally have taken me to type it.
Patricia


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:17
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
It's too time consuming to make it do 3 lines of legal abbreviations correctly Jan 31, 2007

Hi Patricia,

Yes, it is the latest version of Dragon, but you should just try and see how long it takes you to get it to do three lines of legal abbreviations/references correctly! For me, it is a whole lot faster typing them! Perhaps you translate a different sort of document.

Astrid


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Patricia Rosas  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:17
Spanish to English
+ ...
books... Jan 31, 2007

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:

Hi Patricia,

Yes, it is the latest version of Dragon, but you should just try and see how long it takes you to get it to do three lines of legal abbreviations/references correctly! For me, it is a whole lot faster typing them! Perhaps you translate a different sort of document.

Astrid


Hi, Astrid,
You're right. I do social science prose and some art-related material, with abbreviations appearing only occasionally. Still I wonder if you couldn't use the feature they have for spelling individual letters of the alphabet? I haven't played with it, because I don't need it. Sorry it turned out to be a disappointment for you...
Patricia


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Giovany Rodríguez Monsalve
Colombia
Local time: 23:17
English to Spanish
+ ...
I voted: other... Jan 31, 2007

I would like to know more about that special software because I don't know it very well.

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Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 23:17
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Time saving Jan 31, 2007

I have been saving a lot of time using DNS thus enhancing the number of clients and my income.

Yes, it's a little slow at the beginning because it needs training and feeding but then it becomes really fast. I've reached a 30% - 35% time decrease when translating very technical documents.

My RAM is 512 MB and it works pretty good. Of course, 1 GB or more is recommended.



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xxxBrandis
Local time: 06:17
English to German
+ ...
certainly not while translating Jan 31, 2007

Halo! that part comes later. But rough transcription / keyword translation or so I do sometimes. Mostly this software is not required, because I have large TMs and other resources. It is however interesting to implement this technique in book translations, one could train the voice data base. Best Brandis

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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:17
Flemish to English
+ ...
Windows Vista and Dragon? Jan 31, 2007

The more you use it, the better Dragon gets. But as with all good things Microsoft includes these in their next version of the OS and the Office-package. Even windows vista has voice-recognition included. This voice-recognition is used for giving commands.
Office 11 also had such a feature. I have been looking for it in Office 12, but I don't find it
Does anybody have any idea if Windows Vista and Dragon are compatible.


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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:17
French to English
+ ...
Speed? Jan 31, 2007

How many words per minute can the average person produce with Dragon? I type pretty quickly (70-80 words per minute) - in fact, it's my thinking speed that holds me up, not my typing.

I'm wondering whether it might be worth the investment though, just in case RSI sets in (I've been lucky so far). Any thoughts?


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:17
French to English
It's no slower :-) Jan 31, 2007

I don't use it with every job. It seems to work best with texts that "flow". It's less good with bullet points and suchlike. I also don't use it with texts that include a lot of technical nonsense, mainly 'cos I haven't managed to train it properly, I think

But it makes for variety, 'cos typing IS very boring work, and it's certainly no slower, even allowing for going back and correcting errors. If it saves time on a job, I consider that a bonus; I primarily use it simply to avoid having to type every single word of every single job! (CAT tools notwithstanding)


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Marie-Céline GEORG  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:17
English to French
+ ...
DNS - very efficient Jan 31, 2007

Hi all,
I also had technical problems at the beginning - the microphone was faulty - but now I'm very satisfied of Dragon.
It's more useful with "literary" texts, i.e. with lots of complete sentences, but it works quite well with more technical texts - lists of words, etc.
I use it on a four-year old computer with RAM boosted to 1 GB and it is reasonably fast.
As for abbreviations, I've trained DNS to a few of them so that I dictate "Trafic O N G" and get "TRAFFIC" (with both F and all caps) or "OE société " to obtain the abbreviated name of a company without mistakes because it's so short.
I've also noticed that it learns technical terms quite rapidly and even if I have to correct it at the beginning, it becomes more and more accurate.
Although I type very fast without looking at my fingers, I tend to make a lot of typing mistakes and use the backwards key quite often, so my typing speed is still lower than my thinking speed - I'd say that Dragon makes me about 30% faster now.
I wouldn't give it back now!

Marie-Céline


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jccantrell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:17
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
A dinosaur speaks! Jan 31, 2007

When I started translating, computers were room-sized and tended by men wearing ties and short hair.
I leaned to dictate my translations onto tape and the tape was sent to a typist. This teaches you very quickly to spell tricky words, to specify punctuation, etc. THIS is the skill that makes using Dragon Dictate 8 very easy.
Now the typist has been removed from the loop. I still get the instant feedback, though, because I watch what the program is doing as I speak. I can correct obvious errors and train new words right away.

Of course, dictation shifts the burden of translation more onto your editing self. I come from the middle Atlantic states in the USA. My software CONSTANTLY mistakes 'of' for 'off' and other small words. *I* must catch this when reading the text afterwards. Spell checkers do not catch it and grammar checkers rarely do.

I find that it works much better the more you use it. If I have a larger job, I would not want to translate it any other way. For one page jobs, typing directly is usually faster, but even then I try to dictate them.

In the final analysis, I have used this software since Dragon 4 on a Windows 95 machine. It has constantly improved and I intend to continue using it. I have been translating for more than 30 years and I have YET to experience carpal tunnel syndrome--another benefit to dictation.


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