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Linux: Current State of Voice Dictation and Recognition

Filed under
Linux
Software

I have a friend who is suffering from a degenerative chronic disease. It is slowly destroying his ability to use his hands to type and interact with his personal computer. This makes it difficult for him to correspond in e-mail, type documents in a word processor or do any other task that requires much interaction using the keyboard and/or mouse interface. He has recently purchased Dragon NaturallySpeaking to use with his Microsoft Vista based PC in an attempt to overcome his problem. As of now he is in limbo over starting up with training NaturallySpeaking for use due to another reason.

That other reason is my friend wants me to assist him to move to GNU/Linux on his new Dell PC. He will run the Vista that came with it in a virtual machine in case he needs something that is not available on Linux. One of the primary requirements is assistive software that will allow him to interact with the PC for command and control. I am happy to report there is at least this level of voice support available. But this assistive software must also take dictation fairly accurately so he can more easily use e-mail and a word processor.

For the past three weeks I and my research assistant have been searching the WWW for dictation software that works under GNU/Linux. We have discovered this to be an exercise in frustration with several dead ends.

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