Make Room For The Stuttering

Dictation Apps and Stuttering

Posted on: December 1, 2012

How many of you have the iPhone 4S with Siri? Do you use it? Do you like it?

Today I got together with a couple of friends who stutter and we hung out over lunch and caught up, with lots of laughing and stuttering.

We got talking about the dictation apps on smartphones and one friend wanted to know how it works with someone who stutters. He wanted to know if the application “heard the stuttering” and “typed” that out. I told him I didn’t know, as I don’t stutter when I’m alone!

We decided to try it at the restaurant. I don’t have Siri, but I do have “Dragon Dictation” on my smartphone. You can speak into the recorder and the application types your words, which you then can send as a text message or post to social media.

My friends suggested I try it to see how it would work. Interestingly, I felt self-conscious doing some voluntary stuttering in front of them. I needed to do that in order to stutter enough in order for our little experiment to be valid. After a few seconds of voluntary stuttering, I found myself full-on blocking.

The recorder picked up almost exactly what I said perfectly, because it apparently took the “blocks” as just pauses. We decided that wasn’t good enough, as I hadn’t had any repetitions.

Another friend tried it. At first, he spoke as he typically does, with blocking and few repetitions. The application flashed the message “could not process.” We didn’t like that.

He then did a lot of voluntary repetitions instead of blocking. The dictation application picked up the stuttering and typed out “did did did did” as part of one of his phrases. We all said “Boo” and decided we’d had enough of this little experiment. We declared that obviously smartphone dictation applications weren’t designed by people who stutter, nor to be well used by people who stutter.

What do you think? Is there a modication that can or should be made with dictation apps for people who stutter?

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3 Responses to "Dictation Apps and Stuttering"

[…] Apple’s version of the S-App, Siri, has the same problems interpreting stuttering. One blogger faked various aspects of stuttering, and Siri had trouble recognizing repetitions and interjections. A real stutterer experienced similar results. […]

Sounds ineffective if you will stutter when saying short messages intended to be sent immediately. The effort to edit may be significant, and I would not risk missing a stutter and sending it out in a typed message.
There does however seem to be much potential to save time (after initial cost of training the software to your voice) for long reports or novels which will be carefully edited first. Writing software like ProWritingAid and Autocrit would highlight almost speech errors as potential grammar errors, and your first edit of initial spoken draft may be close to error free.

I don’t know the answer to your question. However, I wish Siri would give me more time to get my question out. I frequently pause while I speak, trying to find a word. Siri interrupts, which is not helpful at all.

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