NH1 News Debates


Aug 2, 2014 8:34 AM

Neat Trick

I was reading a book recently by a writer who does a lot of non-fiction, and she was talking about how, in addition to keeping outlines in a mind-mapping app (something I've yet to try), she uses a recording app on her cell phone to dictate portions of the book she's writing at the time. To be transcribed, I presume, at a later date.

When I read this, I wondered. You know, the Mac OS, at least recently, has built-in speech-to-text translation. I know that you can dictate into a microphone and have the words come out on the screen. But what about something you've already recorded?

Well, a little Google searching and before you know it, I've found that there is a way. Something I already had called SoundFlower. It's a virtual audio device that lets you route audio signals on the Mac. You can set up the dictation system to take sound input from SoundFlower. Then you set up the playback of the sound file to output to SoundFlower, and suddenly, you can translate the speech in the sound file to text in any program that accepts text.

You playback program has to support output selection (I use ocenaudio, which I use for all sorts of things anyway), and you have to start the playback before you start the dictation feature (so I paste about ten seconds of blank audio to the beginning of the file at the start), but the results are pretty impressive.

Planning to add this to my arsenal of tools for writing on the go.


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