A Close Shave … NOT!

This was a tough one for Dragon, my voice recognition software, because I spoke a word that anyone would understand in context to the conversation but that technically isn’t a real word.  My brother and I were talking about types of razor blades, so I asked his preference:

What I actually said to my computer: The 2-blader, the 4-Blader, or the 6-blader?
How my voice software translated it:  The tube later, the formulator, or the six player?

Poor Dragon – it tried so hard to make sense of my words. But it was not even a close shave.

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Oops – Publicized With a Voice Recognition Typo!

This one was a doozy, especially because I didn’t catch it; it was article about staying below your aerobic threshold on endurance training runs, published to an audience of over 100 people.  Finally a reader commented, gently questioned what I meant.  In the article, I intended to define “aerobic threshold” as your hard-breathing point – which is honestly what I said.  But here’s how my voice software translated it:  your hard-breeding point.

Both activities could be described as aerobic, I suppose, but…

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Obviously, it’s BS

What I actually said to my computer: It may be obvious
How my voice software translated it:  It’s maybe BS

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A Little Help with That LOL

I guess you could say that this one made me laugh out loud:

What I actually said to my computer: LOL 
How my voice software translated it:  A little help

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The Cost of a 16-Year-Old

What I actually said to my computer: 16-year-olds are…
How my voice software translated it:  16 Euros are…

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Profitable Prophets

More voice recognition errors offering proof that we are still smarter than PCs:

What I actually said to my computer: I’ve been in nonstop meetings
How my voice software translated it:  I’ve been announced up meetings.

Common sense helps the human ear understand that the first statement is probably what the person meant.  But PCs lack common sense:

What I actually said to my computer: A percent of the profit
How my voice software translated it:  A person to the prophet

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Copping a Calculation

Here’s another voice recognition error that fits the category of, “Thank goodness, I caught this one before hitting “send”:

What I actually said to my computer: my second calculation
How my voice software translated it: my second copulation

After all, one is enough.

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Trucks Rule, Structurally Speaking, and Tolls Suck in Tulsa

If you weren’t entirely certain whether I said “One year ago” or if I actually said “When you’re a goat” – even if it sounded more like the latter – you would of course assume the former because it makes more sense, right?   Right.  Then, you’re a human, not voice recognition software.

What I really don’t get is why some kind of logic cannot be built into voice recognition software that would do a better job at recognizing when the interpretation is likely incorrect based on its nonsensical nature.  Why couldn’t the software algorithm compare its best guess vs. one of its alternate guesses, and pick the most likely? Then, this kind of error would be so much less common:

What I actually said to my computer: Serving Tulsa
How my voice software translated it:  Serving tolls suck

I mean, come on, which of these phrases is likely the most common or reasonable, right?  Another example:

What I actually said to my computer: structural process
How my voice software translated it:  trucks rule process

Maybe trucks do rule.  But a structural process surely is a commonly used phrased.  Maybe in the future, Dragon NaturallySpeaking will have this kind of delineation honed.  Meanwhile, watch what you say to it. 

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Hablamos Hot Blonde? Muscle top!

Voice recognition software often struggles with “foreign” words – words that we commonly use in English but that come from another language, or that don’t follow English pronunciation rules. For example:

What I actually said to my computer: caveat 
How my voice software translated it:  cabbie out

And one more:

What I actually said to my computer: Mazel tov!
How my voice software translated it:  Muscle top!

And, of course, sometimes we see, or hear, foreign language phrases used in areas of an English-speaking country with a high percentage of, say, Spanish speakers. But try to tell your Dragon NaturallySpeaking software that commonly heard phrase, and it will likely choke.

What I actually said to my computer: Hablamos Español
How my voice software translated it:  Hot blonde most Español
When I tried again, it came up with:   Abdul almost as fun you’ll
Trying once more didn’t improve it:   Hablamos this bundle

I finally just gave up and typed it out. 

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Illegal Lovers and Skinning Requirements

When you use your voice to type (using voice recognition software, such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking), accuracy is greatly affected by the placement of the microphone.  This is why those of us who rely on voice recognition software usually use a microphone headset, such as this one here, knowbrainer-headsetwhich precisely sets and maintains the position of the microphone is relation to your mouth.

Sometimes, you’re talking to your computer and an interruption occurs – maybe a phone call or someone drops by your desk to talk.  Then, you have to turn off the headset so that Dragon NaturallySpeaking stops listening to your voice. 

There have been times when I took off my headset, wrongly thinking that I had turned off the headset.  So Dragon keeps listening.  But without the carefully controlled distance of the microphone to the voice, the software does a really bad job of understanding what I’m saying, and may even pick up bits of the other person’s conversation, if they are talking loud enough or nearby enough. 

Here’s some of the nonsense that it typed when overhearing a recent conversation: 

Be discussed later reprinted at 10 o’clock on Monday that we anatomy right level so this illegal lover for us or you do love your formula good and I can promise you sickness. And skinning requirements vs. scanning. ” 

I don’t remember what I was actually saying at the time, but, I assure you that (A) I didn’t say this and (B) I’m glad I noticed that it had kept typing this jabberwocky before I hit “send” on the e-mail. 

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Departmental Dishonesty

Sometimes, an incorrect translation makes a better message than what the voice recognition software user actually said. For example, in describing a business need that affected the entire department in a large company I worked at, Dragon NaturallySpeaking mixed the message when typing out my spoken words:

What I actually said to my computer: It’s a department-wide problem.
How my voice software translated it:  It’s a department lies problem.

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The Offensive Young Vendor

This recent voice recognition error occurred while using Dragon NaturallySpeaking to type up a report – a comparative analysis of large vs. small service firms.

What I actually said to my computer: a relatively small and young vendor…
How my voice software translated it:  a relatively small and young offender…

Those young offenders are always the most disturbing, don’t you think?

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Legal Trouble: Infringing on Frenchmen at the Corporate Mingle

While using my voice recognition software for a legal client, Dragon NaturallySpeaking stumbled on a few common legal phrases that, apparently, are not common to Dragon:

What I actually said to my computer: infringement cases
How my voice software translated it: in Frenchmen cases

And one more:

What I actually said to my computer: critical to corporate legal
How my voice software translated it: critical to corporate mingle

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The Monotony of Renate

As I’ve mentioned before, Dragon NaturallySpeaking is more likely to make mistakes on people’s names than it will on other words. This is particularly true on unusual names or those with foreign pronunciations. For instance:

What I actually said to my computer: Thanks for your response, Renate.
How my voice software translated it:  Thanks for your response, Monotony. 

I then tried one more time, with results that, though not as funny, were equally unsuccessful, changing her name from “Renate” to “but not a” instead.  Good thing I checked my message before sending it out to Renate.  🙂

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Air is Zona!

My favorite voice recognition blunder today:

What I actually said to my computer: Your Arizona background
How my voice software translated it:  Your air is on the back row

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A Bit of Dis, a Bit of Dat

I’m not sure what my car’s glove box ever did to deserve this, but…

What I actually said to my computer: Keep this in the glove box.
How my voice software translated it: Keep dissing the glove box

I guess my glove box is a bit disorganized, and at times it’s even been disgusting, but still… this seems a bit harsh.

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Seize the Residents!

What I actually said to my computer: He sees the residents
How my voice software translated it:  He seized the residence

More proof that I cannot send out e-mails composed via voice recognition software without reviewing them carefully first.  And one more:

What I actually said to my computer: Please send my love and greetings to …
How my voice software translated it:  We semi-love them greetings to…

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Dorky Mothers and the Delhi Metro

As I’ve mentioned previously, Dragon sometimes struggles with people or place names:

What I actually said to my computer: with Martha first
How my voice software translated it:  with Mark the First

This one exemplifies the problems of doing voice recognition not only with names, but foreign language name:

What I actually said to my computer: Torquemada (of the Spanish Inquisition)
How my voice software translated it:  dorky mother

And one more:

What I actually said to my computer: LA Metro
How my voice software translated it:  Delhi Metro

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Those Valued Male Cows

What I actually said to my computer: valuable
How my voice software translated it:  buy you a bull

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Rich and Retro

What I actually said to my computer: retroactive
How my voice software translated it:  rich or active

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