How to Convert Audio Talk to Text

By James Highland

Speech recognition is the powerful ability for a computer to recognize an individual's talking through an audio interface and convert that to text. Microsoft began including this feature in its Windows operating systems starting with the Vista version. The same speech-recognition engine also was included in the Office XP version of its popular suite of Office applications. These tools allow anyone with a microphone to speak in lieu of typing. The process takes some time for the user and the computer to adapt to the speaking voice. Eventually, the system can work as well as typing.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer microphone
  • Microsoft speech-recognition engine

Step 1

Verify that your computer offers the Microsoft speech recognition service. If your computer runs Windows Vista or later, the service is included. Alternately, you can use the program on earlier versions of Windows by installing the Office XP software suite.

Step 2

Set up the speech-recognition service. In Windows Vista or later, click the "Start" menu, and open the Control Panel. Launch the "Ease of Access" option, and choose "Speech Recognition."

Step 3

Click the "Set Up Microphone" option. Follow the on-screen instructions. Choose the type of microphone you are using, and press the "Next" button. Continue through the Wizard.

Step 4

Return to the speech-recognition Control Panel utility. Choose the "Train your Computer to Better Understand You" command. The computer will provide an interactive Wizard for educating the computer on the sound of your voice as it applies to pronunciations. Complete the process.

Step 5

Open the program you wish to "type" in with your voice as the audio input.

Step 6

Say "Start Listening" into the microphone. The speech-recognition service activates. Say "Dictation" to prepare the program for transcription.

Step 7

Talk into the microphone. The audio of you talking is converted into text on the screen.

Tips & Warnings

  • Patience is necessary when using speech-recognition software to convert talk into text. Programs must be given time to understand your voice. Speak clearly, and do not slur your words. The software eventually will learn your voice as you continue to use it.