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Search results for the Tag keyword: speech recognition
By Paul Nisbet on Wednesday 28th September, 2011 at 5:45pm
The new Scottish male computer voice is now available for download from CALL's web site. 'Stuart' works with most text-to-speech programs including for example ClaroRead, Co:Writer, PDFaloud, Penfriend, Read and Write Gold and WordTalk.
However, if you install Stuart on your computer, you won't see it in the list of voices offered by PDFaloud. This is because PDFaloud offers you voices from a list of 'safe voices' that have been tested with PDFaloud. This doesn't necessarily mean another voice won't work - it may just mean that Texthelp haven't tested it. Since Stuart is brand new, he isn't in the safe voices list and so you won't see him.
You can add Stuart to the safe voices list by opening the 'safevoices.ini' file that is usually to be found in C:\Program Files\Adobe\Reader 9.0\Reader\plug_ins\Texthelp, adding the voice, and then saving the file again.
Step 1: Go to C:\Program Files\Adobe\Reader 9.0\Reader\plug_ins\Texthelp and double click on "safevoice.ini" so that it opens in Notepad.
Step 2: Scroll down to the bottom of the list and type in "CereVoice Stuart - English (Scotland)". Make sure the name of the voice that you type in is exactly as it appears in the Speech tab of the Windows Control Panel.
Step 3: Save the file.
Step 4: Restart Adobe Reader and Stuart should now be in the PDFaloud list of voices.
Step 5: Enjoy reading your digital papers with a bloke's voice ;).
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By Paul Nisbet on Friday 23rd September, 2011 at 11:58am
A common question we get from staff, parents and students is "Can I use speech recognition software to dictate my answers into the computer in an examination?" and so SQA funded us to spend some time trying to answer this. We've written a report with the results of the tests we've carried out on Dragon NaturallySpeaking, Windows 7 speech recognition, and WordQ+SpeakQ and you can download it from here.
We found that:
The accuracy and reliability of speech recognition software has improved considerably in recent years and all the programs tested were functional and seemed effective when dictating into a word processor. So if you want to use speech recognition to dictate extended answers into Microsoft Word for the Standard Grade English Writing paper, or Higher History, for example, then all of the programs can be used.
However, Windows speech recognition is not functional for dictating into SQA digital question papers, and so we do not recommend it for use in examinations unless the candidate is only intending to dictate into a word processor.
Dragon NaturallySpeaking is the most well known speech recognition program and can be used to dictate into both digital question papers and to a word processor. It is probably the most accurate, is relatively easy to train and use and gives voice control over formatting and over the computer in general. Dragon has text-to-speech for reading back the dictated text, and the Premium version can also play back a recording of the dictation to help with finding and correcting errors. For single user copies, Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium is available with an educational discount (£68) and the 100-user Professional school license at £895 would seem to be relatively good value for schools who wish to make the software available to a large number of pupils. The educational discounts are availabel through Pugh or Dyslexic.com.
WordQ + SpeakQ is speech recognition software specifically designed for users who have difficulties with literacy. It uses the Windows speech recognition system, but accessed using a different, simpler interface. It has text-to-speech to help get through the training process; it can read back each phrase as it is dictated; it has text-to-speech for proof-reading; and it provides word prediction. SpeakQ can be used to dictate into SQA digital papers and also to word processors. WordQ + SpeakQ is arguably simpler to use than Dragon and the integrated text-to-speech and word prediction does make it a more attractive option for writers with reading and writing difficulties. WordQ + SpeakQ requires use of the keyboard and so it is not suitable for users who wish to control the computer completely by voice. A single user license for WordQ + SpeakQ is £199 and a site licence is £1995 from Assistive Solutions.
Speech recognition software may have considerable potential to enable some candidates to work independently and to rely less on scribes, and we are thinking it would be useful to organise some trials in schools to investigate this potential and to look at the practicalities of using speech recognition in exams. If you are interested please contact us.