Adventures in speech-to-text

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For better or worse, I have a lot of writing to do these days, and much of it needs to be finished before I walk out the door to my day job. To be perfectly honest, it’s become borderline overwhelming.

To improve the situation (i.e. prevent myself from going bananas, and not the Rachel Zoe way), I first tried tweaking my sleep schedule and even my writing style, but eventually it became clear that I needed outside help. As I’ve mentioned before — either here or on Twitter — I’ve opted for speech-to-text software.

All has not gone as planned. In my head, I had this fairly romantic, Star Trek-ish fantasy of easy, intuitive communications with my laptop. Sadly, that ain’t the way The Dragon likes to roll. She’s got a reasonably good vocabulary, but it takes a VERY long time to train her on the translation part. For weeks, it felt as if I were making so many corrections, I might as well have typed the stuff by hand.

And that’s to say nothing of the process of writing itself. See, as it turns out, thinking and typing is much different than just speaking into a microphone. Typing is obviously slower, it’s hands-on, and it’s visual: you type something you don’t like, you back up and pen it again. There’s a chance for reflection as you see your words pop onto the screen. Using speech-to-text, on the other hand, your mouth is moving in time with your brain — possibly faster. It makes for long sentences, conversational tone, and a bigger chunk of editing when I finish. I’ve begun training myself to speak slower, reflect, and dictate more like I would if I were typing, but it’s not easy, learning to think before you speak. (I could point to examples in the political realm, but I’m sure you could, too.)

That said, the program and I finally seem to have reached something of a truce. I speak slowly and distinctly, pulling back on my emotions and inflection so that I don’t confuse her. In return, she does a mostly good job with everything but proper names, and she’s begun to shed her habit of tossing in extra “ands” and “withs”. Things are livable.

I wanted to show a couple of examples of the translation in action, but just to make things interesting (and completely useless), I’ve thrown Miss Dragon a couple of curve balls. You’ll see what I mean:


Opening passage from Nabokov’s Lolita

Original
Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.

Translation
Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Low-Lee-tot: the tip of the time taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Low. Lee. Top.

* * * * *

Opening lines from The Canterbury Tales
(Read in my best Middle English accent, courtesy of Dr. Nona Feinberg)

Original
Whan that aprill with his shoures soote
The droghte of march hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
Tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the ram his halve cours yronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open ye
(so priketh hem nature in hir corages);
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,
To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;
And specially from every shires ende
Of engelond to caunterbury they wende,
The hooly blisful martir for to seke,
That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.

Translation
One that I pre-the which he sure is.
The draw of much have pasted to the Rocha,
and all that every then yukking speech to the core
of which there Chu and John for it is the floor;
lines and if it is a good that he’s safe to breath
in spirit hath in every Holton Keith
10 the Acropolis, and the on some
half in the round is half course you’re on,
and smaller file is mocking Ms. O’Dea,
that second of the night with open ye
(so predicting hem not sure I need you quarter I just);
then long been sold to goon on to remind just,
and palmettos for second strongest wrongs,
to Ferne Hollis, not use laundry loans;
inspection of the from every she it is and that
of in the long to come the battery bay window,
the only place will mark the fourth Seca,
that hem hath Holton one that they would expect.

* * * * *

Jacques Prevert: “Déjeuner du matin”
(A high school fave, f
or many obvious reasons: simplicity, angst, coffee, cigarettes)


Original
Il a mis le café
Dans la tasse
Il a mis le lait
Dans la tasse de café
Il a mis le sucre
Dans le café au lait
Avec la petite cuiller
Il a tourné
Il a bu le café au lait
Et il a reposé la tasse
Sans me parler

Il a allumé
Une cigarette
Il a fait des ronds
Avec la fumée
Il a mis les cendres
Dans le cendrier
Sans me parler
Sans me regarder

Il s’est levé
Il a mis
Son chapeau sur sa tête
Il a mis son manteau de pluie
Parce qu’il pleuvait
Et il est parti
Sous la pluie
Sans une parole
Sans me regarder

Et moi j’ai pris
Ma tête dans ma main
Et j’ai pleuré

Translation
Beyond the new Café
Donna pass
you done the today
Donna pass the Café
John used to cloak
Dawn the Café over day
of that who could keep create
but up to may
be that but new Café: a
eight but Outlook does it have to for
soma buy they

Utah pride you may
units the gap at
but I think they own the
of that the unit
eat on me that song
gonna something a
solemn holiday
solemn will get a big

You stated they
you got me
/up oldster socket a
you done me some month old to read
asked you prove that
8E8.keep
suit up to me
songs you to hold
small move look out of date

A more jake please
might that don’t Mama
AJ Pillai

* * * * *

NSFW Fanfic Erotica: “Hairy Seinfeld (excerpt)”
(Yes, it’s exactly what you think.)

Original
“Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, yeahhhhhhh. Fuck me, Jerry. Fuck me, harder.” Jerry leaned in, sharing a passionate, lust-filled kiss with George, all the while, fucking him harder than ever, his pubic hairy cushioning his deep thrusts, while his balls slapped George’s ass. George wrapped his legs around Jerry’s body, and their hairy chests met, their sweat allowing their bodies to slide against each other with minimal friction.

Translation
“That movement yeah talk to me, Jerry. Fox me, harder.” Jerry leaned in, sharing a passionate, lust-filled kiss with George, all the while, foxy him harder than ever, is she big hairy cushioning his deep thrusts, while his balls slapped Georges ass. George wrapped his legs around Jerry’s body and their hairy chests met, their sweat allowing their bodies to slide against each other with minimal friction.

0 thoughts on “Adventures in speech-to-text

  1. jason

    Thank you very much….I think "Fox me harder" will now become a part of my vocabulary.I just hope to have an opportunity to test it out one of these days.

    Like

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