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Lindsay Gallimore

Lindsay Gallimore
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Don't all freelancers want a secretary?

Published by lindsay_gallimore@sympatico.ca on 2012-01-20

Greetings everyone, and happy new year! If you've been following my blog posts for a while, you know that I've basically been begging to get an iPhone. Well, now that I have one, is it worth all the hype? And especially, is it of any use to me as a freelance translator? I'm happy to report that the answer to those two questions is an unequivocal yes. First of all, I'm not typing this entry, in fact I'm dictating it to Siri, my new secretary! So far, she hasn't made one mistake! But if she does, I'm not going to edit it, I'll publish this post exactly as Siri types it.


In this post and others, I will be sharing with you some of the apps and other functionalities that I think are useful for translators and are part of the iPhone or can be downloaded for free.


I'm on the iPhone's default features, I have found that the agenda is actually very useful. I was skeptical about using an electronic calendar, as I do really like a paper agenda. I haven't given up the paper agenda for keeping track of deadlines, but the electronic agenda has features that are impossible to obtain in paper form. For example, I can check my iPhone agenda using iCloud on the Internet, anywhere, anytime. Sometimes, I have felt totally lost when I left my paper agenda at home. Not the case when all of my information is also in electronic form on my phone and available to me on my iCloud account. I use the color codes to be able to see what deadlines I have that are for translations. Other aspects of my life, such as my day job, are another colors. (sic- I said "other")


I also really like the list function which allows me to create a to do list but I can also access online at my iCloud if I don't have my phone with me. I'm an obsessive list maker and it helps me keep organized both with my translation jobs and other aspects of my life. Instead of carrying around a bunch of pieces of paper with lists on them, I have a nice electronic list that I can check off and you still get that satisfying feeling of having completed a test. (sic, I said "task")


Overall, the number one benefit to my freelance career of having an iPhone is immediate access to my emails wherever I may be. Of course, this is available with any smart phone. It's great to get a job offer in real-time, and be able to promptly respond, even if I'm not in front of my computer.


So, that concludes my first blog post dictated to Siri. I'm impressed with your (sic- I said "her") accuracy, it's the first time I've really used the dictation feature. All in all, she made two mistakes. (Three, actually, since she made a mistake when I was complimenting her accuracy... she probably got embarassed.) I know a lot of translators using dictation software to dictate their translations. That software is often expensive. I wonder if it would be useful to use Siri's dictation function when translating?



Okay, it's me at the helm now. I let Siri take a much-deserved coffee break.


Observations on her first day of work:

- I think she is remarkably accurate. I didn't speak especially slowly or enunciate much differently than normal. Of course, there's a natural tendency to speak clearly, moreso than in normal speech, but for over 500 words to make only 3 errors is impressive. The errors too were understandable as they were words I noticed I mumbled a bit or tripped over.


- Since you have to say "period" so she knows when to end a sentence, what happens if you want to write something that is talking about periods? (Punctiation or otherwise)


- How does this accuracy compare to that of Dragon Dictation? I've never used it and don't have the software. Dragon does have a free app though, and I could try that. (I couldn't wait... the results of the test are below.)


- Anybody out there have any productivity apps they are finding really helpful?



FYI: I dictated my post into a free app called "Plain Text." It creates a text document that automatically syncs to my Dropbox account. In theory, if you wanted to dictate a translation, you could use this and then copy and paste the text document into Word.




If you have an earlier version of the iPhone without Siri, download Dragon Dictation's free app. I just dictated the first paragraph of this same post, and it came out perfectly. I was hoping the app would be available for other smart phones; sadly, it is not.


Both Siri and the Dragon app seem like valid substitutions for a freelancer who wants to dictate translations but doesn't want to pay for the software, don't you think?



Hi Lindsay,
Did you know that Siri, in French, is a guy?surprised Check this out, it's so much fun! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7O8id0k5w6g&feature=related(external link)

Je ne suis pas (encore) un utilisateur de l'iPhone. Je me demande si ta nouvelle secrétaire anglophone devient un secrétaire francophone lorsque tu changes la langue de l’interface du téléphone. Autrement dit, est-ce que le téléphone vient avec l'application Siri dans les deux langues (puisqu'on l’achète au Canada)?