Gay Day and Sex for Six

Some of the voice recognition errors in today’s post are off color, so don’t read this if you feel you may be easily offended. Reminder:  these are software blunders, not anything intentionally inappropriate that I typed.  But I admit, I laughed aloud when they happened.

What I actually said to my computer: The software automatically day-stamps it.
How my voice software translated it:  The software automatically gay-stamps it.

What I actually said to my computer: Let the six vendors battle it out.
How my voice software translated it:  Let the sex offenders battle it out.

What I actually said to my computer: The unmet expectations of your mate.
How my voice software translated it:  The unmet expectations of your meat.

No, it was not a bad week for voice recognition errors—these are just some of my collected favorites from the past few months.

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Just Your Standard Rape, Nothing Special

Sometimes, the translation is not just wrong, but seriously embarrassing.  Here are two recent voice recognition errors that stood out:

What I actually said to my computer: We’re having trouble with our e-mails.
How my voice software translated it:  We’re having trouble with our females.

What’s worse—I didn’t catch that one and it happened in the workplace.  Talk about inappropriate!

But wait, there’s more:

What I actually said to my computer: use the standard rate
How my voice software translated it:  use the standard rape

As opposed to a creative rape, perhaps?

What I actually said to my computer: Do you have any rental limitations?
How my voice software translated it:  Do you have any mental limitations?

Duh.

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Thoroughly Thoreau

Two fresh-off-the-vocal-press voice recognition errors:

What I actually said to my computer: reasonable, accurate, and thorough advice
How my voice software translated it:  reasonable, accurate, and Thoreau advice

That one actually slipped by unnoticed.  The e-mail recipient later told me that he tried for a long time to figure out what I meant by getting Thoreau advice, until he figured out that it was probably my voice software misunderstanding my words.

One more:

What I actually said to my computer: “I’m at the house
How my voice software translated it: “I met the house

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No Respect for the Purple Prayers of Tatian

More voice recognition shenanigans, courtesy Dragon NaturallySpeaking:

What I actually said to my computer: A voice of respect
How my voice software translated it:  Avoid some respect

What I actually said to my computer: in prayerful obedience
How my voice software translated it: in purple obedience

What I actually said to my computer: a temptation
How my voice software translated it:  attend Tatian

What in the world is a Tatian anyway—a person from the country of Tate?? I had to Google it (sorry, Bing) to learn that it’s a real word:  Tatian the Assyrian was a Christian writer and theologian of the second century.  Amazing, isn’t it, what they choose to put in the NaturallySpeaking dictionary.

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We’re in a Mess of Schmidt

Here’s one more memorable voice recognition blunder story from fellow NaturallySpeaking user Ed.  This time: not from using Dragon NaturallySpeaking.  Ed’s story:

I was watching the Armistice Day service on television and found that my son had managed to turn on the text version for the deaf, so that near-contemporaneous text was appearing at the bottom of the screen.  I was listening to the sound (not being hard of hearing).

Just as three planes flew over the announcer’s head, he said something like: “And here are the stalwarts of the Battle of Britain – the Spitfire and the Hurricane, joined on this occasion by a Messerschmidt.”

Alas, the text came up with “…by a lesser shit.”

As this story shows, the type of near-real-time audio translations that TV stations often employ for hard-of-hearing viewers is entirely software based—no lightning-fast typists are pumping it out.  Or, if there are such, they’ve clearly got an attitude problem.  Smile

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Gotta Get Them Czechs!

I recently posted humorous errors from fellow voice recognition software users who frequent a voice software users forum (KnowBrainer).  Here’s another, this time from long-time NaturallySpeaking user Ed.

What Ed said to his computer:    The cheques will be re-issued
What NaturallySpeaking wrote: The Czechs will be pursued

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Phonetically Speaking, It Should Make Sense…

Normally, it’s easy to understand how voice recognition software misunderstands spoken words, such as when…

I said to my computer:      …and a spare in your purse
And my computer wrote:  …and despair in your purse

After all, there’s a good bit of vocal similarity between “a spare” and “despair.”  But sometimes, the software is just plain wrong, inexplicably wrong.  As in these examples:

What I actually said to my computer: I can’t remember
How my voice software translated it:  a kick murmur

Okay, sure, there are some vocal similarities.  But Dragon NaturallySpeaking is supposed to have some contextual logic—an ability to discern the right phrase based on the context in which it was said.  In what possible context might a person have actually meant “a kick murmur,” for goodness sake?

Or this oddball translation, which just came in today:

What I actually said to my computer: We need to work on line item 8.
How my voice software translated it:  We need to work on my anatomy 8.

Seriously?  Seriously??  I mean, seriously???

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Crappy Translation

Here are some humorous additions from fellow voice recognition software users that I’ve met through the KnowBrainer site–a forum dedicated to Dragon NaturallySpeaking users and the practice of voice recognition (if you use Dragon, this is a priceless resource—do check it out).

What DNS user Blair said to his computer:     paid in full by Visa
How his Dragon voice software translated it: paid in full by pizza

I’ve been paid that way for helping a friend on moving day.  Smile

Dragon NaturallySpeaking user Graham relates this story:

At the end of a long day, I was dictating Buddy DesktopMic (a headset brand), admittedly not as clearly as I should.  Dragon transcribed it bloody death to Mike!

Here’s a memorable one from NaturallySpeaking user Alan:

I was giving a talk about speech recognition at a conference to an audience of about 100 people. Things were going well, accuracy was excellent.  And then I said, “New paragraph.” (Which should cause the software to press the enter key twice, forming a new paragraph in the document.)  NaturallySpeaking paused for a few seconds, and outputted a single word:   “Crap. 

I had to stop for several minutes and wait for the gales of laughter to die down.

Software with attitude.  Gotta love it.

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What’s In a Name? Anyone’s Guess With Voice Recog. Software

Most commercial voice recognition programs have developed to the point that they handle standard language and sentences fairly accurately.  But I find that even the king of ‘em, Dragon NaturallySpeaking, still blunders with names.  Here are a few examples I’ve experienced:

What I actually said to my computer: Joe’s police squad
How my voice software translated it:  Jewish police squad

What I actually said to my computer: Brad
How my voice software translated it:  brat

Sometimes, the software does better with a whole name.  But not always:

What I actually said to my computer: Brad Baker
How my voice software translated it:  bread baker

What I actually said to my computer: Ann Rockley
How my voice software translated it:  and broccoli 

What I actually said to my computer: Lisa Little
How my voice software translated it:  lease a little

Dragon NaturallySpeaking is more likely to correctly understand famous names, no doubt because those names have been programmed in.  Even so, it errs there sometimes.  For example, I was listing three famous Russian film directors of the silent film era.  And Dragon NaturallySpeaking got all three wrong:

What I actually said to my computer:  Eisenstein, Pudovkin, Kuleshov
How my voice software translated it:   Einstein, poodles can, Khrushchev

Apparently, Dragon NaturallySpeaking particularly doesn’t care for Russians:

What I actually said to my computer: Dostoyevsky
How my voice software translated it:  ghostly ASCII

If you use Dragon NaturallySpeaking or any other voice recognition software and have experienced its erroneous naming of names, please share using the blog’s comments.

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Just Stripping Along Down the Road…

And speaking of Dragon NaturallySpeaking having trouble with names, here’s a classic example of why you must reread your voice-recognized writing before showing it or sending it.  A slight misunderstanding by the software can create gross misunderstandings in the workplace:

What I actually said to my computer: Tamara’s trip — I heard it was memorable …
How my voice software translated it:  Tamara stripped — I heard it was memorable…

As I’m sure it would be.

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Three More…

What I actually said to my computer: La Canada (A city, pronounced “La CanYAHda.”)
How my voice software translated it: Locke Kenyatta

What I actually said to my computer: Is this a brilliant plan?
How my voice software translated it:  Is this a brain implant?

What I actually said to my computer: Until October.
How my voice software translated it:  Until are sober.

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We Had a Header

What I actually said to my computer: Lead-in header
How my voice software translated it:  We then had her

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You’re in Urine

What I actually said to my computer: You’re in for it.
How my voice software translated it:  Urine for it.

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No Wisecracks

What I actually said to my computer: Thanks again!
How my voice software translated it:  Thongs again!

I’m not sure if it’s an exclamation of joy or exasperation about the thongs … translate as you wish.

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Women’s Intuition

What I actually said to my computer: Let me know if you have any questions
How my voice software translated it: Women know if you have any questions

Well, they sometimes expect you to know what they are thinking.  Maybe this is why.

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Unaware in My Underwear

Though I’ve just upgraded to the newest version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking, the voice recognition errors still occur.  Yes, DNS version 11 is better—a good investment.  But a background noise while I’m dictating, or a rushed or slurred spoken phrase, can still trip it up.  As proof, here are voice recognition errors that stood out for me this week, even as I use Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.

What I actually said to my computer: Am I unaware…
How my voice software translated it:  In my underwear…

And, thanks to Dragon NaturallySpeaking, I’ve communicated this week that I’ve gotten into the cattle business:

What I actually said to my computer: has resentment and hurts stored up
How my voice software translated it:  has resentment and herds stored up

And finally, it’s clear that my voice software has never travelled to the east coast of Florida:

What I actually said to my computer:  Bradenton specifically
How my voice software translated it:   Braden tends specifically

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Week’s Roundup: I Didn’t Mean to Get Political

I doubt our former president would come and visit for this purpose, but apparently Dragon NaturallySpeaking thinks otherwise, because—

What I actually said to my computer: If push comes to shove…
How my voice software translated it:  If Bush comes to shove…

Here’s one that shows why it’s important to check your work carefully when using voice software to type.  As you can see, the meaning was entirely altered and in such a way as to be plausibly what I wanted to communicate, even though it was the exact opposite:

What I actually said to my computer: I’m willing to keep…
How my voice software translated it:  Unwilling to keep…

It’s safer when the software spits out something totally silly, because then your reader is likely to correctly assume that it was just a typo.  Like this one:

What I actually said to my computer: all subdirectories…
How my voice software translated it:  all some direct race…

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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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Engine Years and Witching Grains

It’s been a while, but here are two recent voice recognition errors that stood out:

What I actually said to my computer: which ingrains…
How my voice software translated it:  witching grains…

And one more:

What I actually said to my computer: engineers
How my voice software translated it: engine years

Okay, just one more:

What I actually said to my computer: rehabilitators
How my voice software translated it:  rebuild with taters

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Comma Robbery

Today’s voice recognition error requires some explanation. When using your voice to “type” as it were, you speak aloud the punctuation.  So, to have Dragon NaturallySpeaking write this:

He left, pointing out the obvious: “Your hairstyle stinks, and I mean STINKS.”

You would have to say this:

He left comma pointing out the obvious colon open quote your hairstyle stinks comma and i mean all caps stinks period close quote

The text that i italicized above is to point out the spoken punctuation.  So, with that in mind, here’s today’s voice recognition error:

What I actually said to my computer:   team camaraderie

How my voice software translated it:  teen, robbery

Read it aloud with the punctuation and you’ll see how it could make the mistake.

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