Windows 8 – Ease of Access – Speech Recognition

The traditional devices – keyboard, mouse, and now touch – aren’t the only ways to provide input to your computer.

You can use one of the most natural interacting medium – voice. Windows provides a robust voice recognition system, using which you can perform everything that you have been doing using the traditional input devices.

This applet lets you customize the way this speech recognition system works.

How to Launch It

  • Open the traditional Control Panel through the Start Screen or using the Run Windows command “control”.
  • Select “Category” view for Control Panel.
  • Select “Ease of Access” category. This opens a new page containing the subcategories.
  • Select “Speech Recognition”. This will launch the applet in the same window.

The main page of the applet links you to several tutorials to train you and the computer for speech input and recognition, wizards to set up voice input devices, list of voice commands which you can give to the computer, advanced settings, etc.

Start Speech Recognition

Providing the main setup, this link acts as an aggregate to all the other settings that this applet provides. With this link, you can set up the initial environment to start using speech recognition.

It launches a wizard, which guides you through following steps.

  • Select microphone position so that computer knows how clear input it will receive – dedicated headphone mic, mic placed on desktop, or mic integrated on laptop ,etc.
  • Then, the wizard asks you to speak some sentences through the mic, so that it can determine that it can understand your voice properly.
  • Then, it asks you if the computer can scan through your documents and mails, so that it can quickly learn the words and phrases that you use frequently, thus improving its speech recognition accuracy.
  • Then you can choose if you want to pause or stop speech recognition when you give command “Stop listening”.
  • In the next step, if gives you the option to print a cheat sheet of all the voice commands for future reference.
  • Then you can opt to start the speech recognition each time the computer starts.
  • In the final step, the wizard asks you if you want to go through a tutorial before you start using the speech recognition system.

Set up microphone

You can set up your microphone position, as well as test your voice input through the microphone. This wizard includes the first two steps of “Start Speech Recognition” wizard.

Take Speech Tutorial

This link is the tutorial part of the main setup. You can learn the basic commands that the voice recognition recognizes. Also, you can practice dictating to your computer in order to improve accuracy.

Train your computer

People have varying accents and pitch when they speak. The speech recognition can adapt to these variations in order to provide more accurate results. This link provides a training wizard for your computer.

Basically, you speak whatever the wizard asks you to, and the speech recognition will improve its interpretation according to your voice input.

Open the Speech Reference Card

This link provides you with all the commands that you may require to use the speech recognition. Like all other links, this is, too, a part of the main setup. You may want to take a print of the commands for future reference.

Customize Settings

Besides providing wizards to set up speech recognition, this applet also gives you options to tweak the working of the system. The applet has two links on the left pane of the main page.

Advanced Speech Options

Here, you can specify the language that the Speech Recognition system should use, in order to interpret your voice phrases.

Also, you can create several speech profiles. A speech profile is what defines your voice accent, the surroundings in which you would usually use the speech recognition, etc.

The profile is helpful to your computer in adapting to your voice.

You can test your current microphone level. Further, you can customize or troubleshoot the settings of your voice input device(s).

Text to Speech

Speech Recognition is not only about controlling your computer verbally; it can also read text and “speak” it for you.

You can select the gender, accent (British, American) and the speed with which the voice should speak the desired text. You can also test the selected voice there itself.

Besides that, you get to configure the audio output device(s).

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