I’ve explored numerous options for voice recognition, some free and others quite expensive. I’ve tried these applications myself, and I’ve used them with learners ranging in age from 8 to 68. In my experience, the free voice-to-text options available in the Google Chrome web browser are more effective than any of the others, especially for children. There are several Chrome alternatives, and I’ve already written here about Speech Recognizer, Online Dictation, and TalkTyper. Thanks to a helpful tip from Thomas Keown, I’m sharing yet another powerful option here.
VoiceNote offers excellent voice-to-text. It is a free app for Google Chrome that can be added to the browser simply by going to the Chrome Web Store and installing it. (A Google/GMail account is required.) VoiceNote opens as a dictation window, as pictured below. This can be a small window that sits on top of a document that is being written. Or, it can occupy the entire screen.
Some positive features of VoiceNote…
- dictating directly into a text box facilitates creating paragraphs or longer selections of text
- on-screen buttons for adding punctuation
- floating window that can be positioned directly on any page where dictated text will be used
- onscreen buttons for adding punctuation
- desktop shortcut is available convewniently for opening VoiceNote
- no advertising or other onscreen clutter
- support for multiple languages
Perhaps the biggest drawback to VoiceNote is that only one font is available. The app’s developer has indicated that he is open to improving VoiceNote, so this may change. [Update: the font issue has been resolved.]