My “Fees Composter” from Google

Voice recognition software has a tough enough time translating your words into type when it has had a chance to learn your voice.  But the job is even tougher without that chance, as you know if you use Google Voice to take messages for you.  It, of course, records the phone caller’s message, just as any phone message machine would, but it also attempts to translate your incoming phone messages into typed text.  This typed message shows up in your e-mail inbox.

All well and good … but the translation is often flawed and bad.  And it isn’t Google’s fault, really.  The reason it often fails is because just about everyone hems and haws, speaks in incomplete sentences, mumbles, stammers, or stutters when leaving a message.  The results?  Well, see for yourself:

The caller’s words, recorded by Google Voice:   Your facebook posts are…
How Google’s voice technology translated that: Your fees composter…

The caller’s words, recorded by Google Voice:    Absolutely hilarious
How Google’s voice technology translated that: Absolutely how areas

Naturally, it’s worse than Dragon NaturallySpeaking

When you intentionally attempt to use a voice recognition technology, such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking or Microsoft’s voice translation software, you quickly learn to speak precisely, unless you want imprecise results.  Sure, you should speak naturally, just as the voice software commercials advise, but it needs to be more of a Tom Brokaw kind of natural rather than a Robin Williams or Billy Crystal kind of normal; you get good results when speaking at a reasonable clip and with good diction.  Which you cannot expect your callers to do when leaving a message on your Google Voice phone.  Nope.

Fleas should be seasoned??

I’ll close out with my favorite Dragon NaturallySpeaking error of the week—my foolish attempt at trying to get it to understand my Spanish:

What I actually said to my computer:  Si Señor, please
How my voice software translated it:  Ceasing your pleas
And when I tried once more, it wrote: Season your fleas

I finally just gave up and typed the dang phrase with my fingers.

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