I have never been truly impressed with text-to-speech software but I was mildly surprised with the Dragon Dictation app. Dragon Naturally Speaking software for the PC has been around for some time and I well remember spending a lot of time training the software to recognize my voice and speech patterns, something I do not care to do again.
In the case of this app, however, that was not necessary. I downloaded the app, started speaking and the translation to typed text was a fairly accurate representation of what I said. It was not 100% correct but close enough for me to continue using the app. The onboard microphone worked well but I had better performance using a USB microphone plugged into Apple’s iPad Camera Connection Kit (keep in mind that Apple does not support USB microphone connection to their dongle but other testers had the same result I did, the USB mic does work).
The app is really easy to use. Tap the app and you are presented with a ‘record’ button at the center of the screen. ‘Tap and dictate’ and Dragon starts recording your voice. Tap the same area to stop and, after processing your recording, Dragon spits out the text conversion. You can add to a recording, make a new recording, delete recordings, e-mail, copy, change settings or post to a couple social networks. Editing text is fairly simple, touch a word and Dragon offers suggestions or the option to delete the word. The interface is quite simple but you will have to put up with a Dragon banner at the bottom of your screen which cannot be covered up or turned off—something you have to live with for a neat free app. Oh, one last thing, Dragon will only run with Wi-Fi enabled.
Dragon Dictation has a fairly clean interface and the app is very easy to use. No voice training is required. The app has a helpful set of tips for using Dragon Dictation—new paragraph, new line, equal sign, etc. Best of all, the app is free! Speak and Dragon Dictation converts your speech to text. There are language options for non-English speakers and I found that the app worked very well even with my accent! There are several text to speech apps and a number of voice recording apps. However, there appears to be few speech to text apps available.
Dave Yearwood, associate professor and chair of the technology department, University of North Dakota.