Talking to your Mac doesn’t mean that you’re crazy

Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 6.59.36 PMI absolutely love dictation on my iPhone and iPad. It truly does a great job of converting my speech into text. So it goes without saying, that I would want to use the same text to speech on my back too. To turn that on, you go to system preferences and select dictation. You press on button and it turns dictation on. You can change the shortcut key issues on it to turn on the dictation mode if you like or it will default to the function key. So double tapping on the function key brings up a small microphone location I’m using. When that microphone is on the screen unable to talk and it converts that to text just like it does on my iPhone and iPad.

Now, being the overachiever that I am, I also turned on the enhanced mode. The enhanced mode gives me the ability to be able to use text-to-speech off-line by downloading the text-to-speech conversion dictionary onto the Mac and converting it directly on the Mac. The added benefit of this mode is that it also shows the text as you’re speaking it. Unfortunately, whenever I try to use text-to-speech it sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. The thing that I find particularly interesting is that it is much worse on the Mac in this mode that it is on even the iPhone or the iPad. I find many of the words I say cannot be converted to text correctly. Then I must going to changes to the text that I speak.

I’ve tried an external mic also to see if it made it better. With the external mic I find that it still doesn’t understand me nearly as well as the iPhone or iPad does. I was very nearly ready to abandon speaking to my computer. Me. The enhanced text-to-speech mode that downloads the dictionary might be causing my problem. As soon as I turn that off text-to-speech immediately got much better.

So now, when I turn off enhanced text-to-speech mode, it must go to the Internet to be able to create the text from my speech. It also doesn’t show the text as I’m talking it only shows the text when I get the done key. But the conversion process is almost immediate, and it finally understands me again and does.

Hopefully in the next release of the Mac, Apple will make the enhanced mode in text-to-speech better. I really like the idea of being able to see the text, as I speak it, but I just can’t live with the poor quality of conversion but I’m seeing in the enhanced mode.

So my recommendation is, if you haven’t turned on enhanced mode in Dictation, don’t do it. Then the conversion of your text to speech will work very similarly to the way your iPhone or iPad does. And for me, that makes it very usable again.