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Lindsay Gallimore

Lindsay Gallimore
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Translation Dictation Evaluation

Published by lindsay_gallimore@sympatico.ca on 2012-02-03

In my last post, I explained how to use the iPhone 4S dictation feature to dictate a translation directly into a Word document. Now I will let you know what I thought of the experience.

 

Translating aloud is a completely different experience from typing. When you type a translation, hesitation or doubts are backspaced out or fixed later on. To dictate a translation, you have to decide exactly what you are going to say before you say it. Being someone who often fails to think before she speaks, this proved very challenging! I found I still worked sentence by sentence—I wasn’t spewing out paragraphs at a time just because I was speaking. It is funny to say your punctuation aloud, but I got used to that quickly. I believe with dictation software there is a “spell” command allowing the user to spell out a proper name that the system doesn’t recognize. As far as I know, this isn’t an option with Siri, so I was stuck typing in the proper nouns like Yehudi Menuhin and Chostakovitch, part of my translation of a review for a Glen Gould DVD set.

 

In the end, my dictated translation required significantly less revision upon completion. Dictating forced me to be more decisive on my word choices and saying sentences out loud had me immediately noticing if something didn’t work. As for Siri’s accuracy, it was very impressive. Only two sentences had errors, and the errors are hilarious:

 

“This boxed set is a must-have gnarly for pianists, but for music students of all instruments. The sex will please music lovers…”

 

Which was meant to be: “This boxed set is a must-have not only for pianists, but for music students of all instruments. The set will please music lovers…”

 

I think I’ll use Siri again to dictate a translation. One caveat is that you have to work in a completely silent environment, so it’s not an option when I feel like translating with some music in the background, or when others are around, daring to speak to each other or on the phone. If translation becomes more lucrative for me, I would consider investing in proper, integrated dictation software since I think it increases productivity and would certainly help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome!

 

I guess that makes me a dictator….