Voice Input in Translation Work (#Linux + Chrome + #OmegaT), Take 1

I always was rather skeptical about using dictate software in my translation work. But recently I read a success story where a person started to use Dragon Naturally Speaking, and it boosted his productivity by ungodly high percentage. Though it didn’t shake the deep skepticism of a die-hard Linux fanatic whose main target language isn’t supported by the major dictate software vendors, it doesn’t hurt to fool around and try a few things, does it?

As it turns out, one can save quite a few keystrokes by speaking into the cloud, and it can even be used on Linux in OmegaT. Google’s speech recognition supports my target language, several Chromium/Chrome browser’s apps and extensions kindly try to make written words out of my utterances, and then it’s up to me how I put it all together to be able to dictate instead of typing.

My working recipe is based on using SpeechPad – new voice notebook for voice input. This little thing can be installed as a Chrome app and can work in background, putting the recognized pieces into the clipboard. To enable that, one needs to put ticks in ” Restart on errors” and ” Transfer to clipboard”. It’s best to register with this application to be able to add new languages not listed by default (limited to what Google supports), add terms to the custom replacement list (to enable punctuation by voice for some languages, for instance), and do other things. It’s all done in the user’s profile (called “User data” on the main page). When the SpeechPad is fired up and listening in the background, you can switch to the app where you need to type (OmegaT in my case), dictate a logical chunk and press Ctrl+V. Some of the repeated mistakes in the text can be fixed with replace_with_template.groovy (see here for details on how to use the script). Or pasting and fixing can be done with one OmegaT script insert_modify_clipboard.groovy (the above link with details still applies, but substitution template should be named .ini/clipboard_substitution.ini).

I’ve noticed that in Ukrainian the speech gets recognized much better when I chant it (and that’s where my passion for the byzantine rite liturgical chanting comes real handy, although one of my buddies said that Rammstein style singing provides similar results). With all of it I did manage to get a productivity boost (and unplanned chanting practice). I’d be happy to hear suggestions on how to improve this recipe or change the ingredients to be able to type less and produce more.


But as of now,
Good luck

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