Grammar Nazis Rejoice!

Microphone iconThere’s a new kind of typo in town.

Do you use dictation to enter text? Here are my thoughts.

Dictated Corrected
First, there were the typos and legitimate spelling and grammar errors that we made when using keyboard. First, there were the typos and legitimate spelling and grammar errors that we made when using a keyboard.
Then there were the typos common Austin “aided” but auto correct, to deliver often hilarious text messages when we attempted to key in text on our phones and mobile devices. Then there were the typos common , Austin often “aided” but by auto correct AutoCorrect, to deliver often hilarious text messages when we attempted to key in text on our phones and mobile devices.
And now, there are the typos and other Errors generated buy are growing use of dictation on our mobile devices and our computers. And now, there are the typos and other Errors errors generated buy are by our growing use of dictation on our mobile devices and our computers.
Are used dictation quite frequently on my iPhone and iPad. Sometimes, the device clearly understands what I’m saying and in exactly what I would’ve typed. Other times, it gets things completely screwed up to the point where it’s impossible two even imagine what I might’ve been trying To say. I’m trying, more and more, to use dictation on my computer. I find that I don’t type quite as well as I used to and I’m not sure why. It seems to me that using technology to get the job done should be a good idea. But every once in a while, I let some text go without proofreading it. The results could be something like what you’re seeing on the left side of the stage–raw, Dictated text. I found it necessary to provide a translation in the right column. Are used I use dictation quite frequently on my iPhone and iPad. Sometimes, the device clearly understands what I’m saying and in enters exactly what I would’ve typed. Other times, it gets things completely screwed up to the pointwhere it’s impossible two to even imagine what I might’ve been trying To to say. I’m trying, more and more, to use dictation on my computer. I find that I don’t type quite as well as I used to and I’m not sure why. It seems to me that using technology to get the job done should be a good idea. But every once in a while, I let some text go without proofreading it. The results could be something like what you’re seeing on the left side of the stage page–raw, Dictated dictated text. I found it necessary to provide a translation in the right column.
Of course, sometimes the errors are so minor that they really do resemble typos. For example, this morning I dictated a text message to a friend of mine and I used the word to. The version of the word to that I meant was T00, but my phone typed in TW oh. If I hadn’t caught and fix that and if my friend or a grammar Nazi I give him ammunition to rip me. Of course, sometimes the errors are so minor that they really do resemble typos. For example, this morning I dictated a text message to a friend of mine and I used the word to too. The version of the word to that I meant was T00 TOO, but my phone typed in TW oh TWO. If I hadn’t caught and fix fixed that and if my friend or were a grammar Nazi, I I’d give him ammunition to rip rib me.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is this: when you see a grammar error on screen, consider that it might not have been the person entering the text who made the error. Instead, it may have been the machine taking down his or her dictation. So I guess what I’m trying to say is this: when you see a grammar error on screen, consider that it might not have been the person entering the text who made the error. Instead, it may have been the machine taking down his or her dictation.
This column was dictated on an iMac running OS 10 Yosemite using the built-in microphone. This column was dictated on an iMac running OS 10 X Yosemite using the built-in microphone.

Thoughts?

4 thoughts on “Grammar Nazis Rejoice!

  1. I don’t use voice-to-text software, probably due to the fact that my flip phone is so old that it has a little hatch in the back to stoke it with coal. ; ) I was lucky enough to learn touch-typing (on an actual typewriter) as a kid, back when computers were programmed by running stacks of punch cards instead of keyboards. At the time I was pissed because I wanted to take wood shop instead, but in retrospect it turned out to be one of the most useful things I learned in middle school.

    As computers have gotten ever-more capable over the years their voice recognition capability has gotten much better, but it’s a formidable programming challenge. Fortunately for the programmers the general trend in society has been towards ever more terse communications, doubtless a result of the explosive growth of texting on mobile devices. The unfortunate side-effect of that for non-text-speak users is that the algorithms seem to be more and more biased towards that stilted, slang-heavy dialect instead of “regular” English.

    On the plus side, auto-correct has resulted in some genuinely funny mis-communications, if the examples that have landed in my E-mail inbox are anywhere near true. Perhaps at some point they’ll decide that touch-typing is a skill important enough to include in regular school curriculums, since computer use is so ubiquitous these days. Cursive writing has already been dropped by most, if not all, school districts, so I suppose it’s logical to replace it with keyboard lessons.

    • You must be as old as I am because I also learned to touch-type in junior high school on a real typewriter. I was already pretty good with hunt-and-peck at the time, having my own typewriter and home and being very interested in writing, even back in those days. I’m pretty quick now, but I seem to make a lot of errors that my computer insists on “correcting” incorrectly. Frustrating.

      I like using dictation or speech-to-text. I actually wrote a book about Dragon Dictate — one of my last, in fact — a few years back. That was before dictation was built into Mac OS (my preferred computer system). I find that if I can stay focused and remember to dictate punctuation (as I did in this blog post), I can do pretty well. Not sure if it’s faster overall because I still have to proofread carefully. Sometimes it takes a while to figure out what I REALLY said based on what appears in the document. That actually wastes time, although it can be amusing.

      I think you’re right about the slang, based on things my computer or phone have “heard” me say. I do use a lot of slang when I talk, but I’m not convinced it’s modern slang.

      You must be familiar with Damn You AutoCorrect (http://www.damnyouautocorrect.com/). Most of the examples are R rated or above, but they’re mostly hysterically funny. Whenever I visit that site, I laugh so hard that tears roll out of my eyes.

      Sad, in a way, about cursive writing. Although I learned it in school, I never used it. Always hand printed. The loss of cursive writing is a lot like the loss of a language.

  2. You’re probably right about the age, and as far as my fingers are concerned there will never be a better keyboard than an IBM Selectric II, though some others that are NOT laptops come pretty close.

    And yes, the exchanges posted on that autocorrect website have to be seen to be believed. There ought to be a warning header not to be drinking anything that you don’t want to come out of your nose when you laugh.

    And as far as cursive writing, the only thing I ever use it for is to write checks, and then pretty poorly. I suspect I’m not alone in that respect. Once we stopped using fountain pens as a primary writing tool the importance of cursive writing really dropped off, it’s a victim of technology that way.

What do you think?