Mum can you dictate for me

This is what I’ve been asking all day. She’s done it a few times but she tends to avoid it like God-worshippers avoid logic.

I think the combination of having to read slowly, and having to listen to me read it back just as slow sends her to sleep. Anyway so who do you get to dictate to you? For so long I’ve been dictating from mp3’s but dictating from a live person, new material from a newspaper is testing me. I don’t seem to be getting as fast a speed, probably cause a real person speeds up and slows down much more naturally then the specifically timed 5 minute takes.

Another reason why shorthand classes would be awesome!

(by michael_lisitsa for

10 comments Add yours
  1. Dictation is the hardest problem.  My partner avoids me when I'm working with pen in hand.  He tells me "it's really hard" — I should probably tell him that it will get easier the faster I get — I've never even asked him to use a stopwatch.    I've stopped asking.  I just get my hands on every mp3 file I can get.  It's a pity we are all spread all over the world.  If you can get even one shorthand student in your location, you can at least take turns dictating to each other.

  2. The answer to this may be obvious when I actually try it, but I have one of the inexpensive little digital dictation machines that I bought when I was going off for my first field research assignment. They're pretty nifty. You can set up folders and individual files that are easy to access instantly (without rewinding and fast forwarding tape).

    Why not just dictate the material to the recorder and then play it back? This wouldn't work if you want "cold" material, but at least for someone in the early stages it should be helpful. And if you're like me, after a day you'll have forgotten anyway :-).

  3. I never said I couldn't make my own mp3s, I just can't bring myself to do it.  🙂  I find it very difficult to stay steady when dictating at a given rate, I tend to go faster than the speed I'm aiming for.  Plus, it's listening to my own voice. 

  4. Michael, Peter, John   Cricket has a web page which will take paragraphs and insert a timed spacer for use with Cepstral Swifttalker.   I used it to dictate new material at whatever speed I wanted.   Usually I don't bother to do a 1.4 syllable count, just a word-is-a-word count. There's lots of free text on the internet that I just copy and past into MSWord (for a word count) and then into Cricket's program, and from there into Swifttalker.   I can do five or six wav files with any number of words in them in about 10 minutes.   Another few minutes converting the wav files to mp3, and I've got 30 to 45 minutes of dictation ready to go. Instructions here:   Once you've got to the 95 wpm point, you can just use the speeds that come with the Cepstral Swifttalker program. I think it goes 95, 105, 116, 126, but if you don't like the sound at those speeds, you might want to use a higher speed and slow it down with the code.   Cepstral Swifttalker program is free, but with conditions. The un-conditioned full program only costs 30 USD-ish.   Michael, your mum might be willing to part with the 30 USD if she didn't have to dictate anymore.   sidhe  

  5. Glad to see you're using it!

    We don't have a lot of evidence other people are. Either it's working great, or they have problems and are embarrassed to ask. We can't help if we don't know there's a problem.

    Would anyone be interested in us creating the file for you, for a tiny fee? You provide the text file and say which speeds. (Although I could use the practice transcribing.) Stuff that others might want would be less, and go into a library. No clue what the going rate is.

    Let me know, here or privately. [email protected] .

  6. Honest feedback, computer generated voices are rubbish. They have no emotion, no sense of intonation and frankly are as boring as batshit.

    I've just been delivered a digital voice recorder. On ebay you can get older refurbished versions of the sony ones really cheap. The quality is quite good if you put the mic on low sensitivity and high quality and so far I have found it a good encouragement tool. I dictate into it usually from shorthand, and then write that same shorthand. Although obviously my reading speed is quite a bit faster than my writing speed (which if you remember my posts a few months ago wasn't the case before).

  7. Does anyone have any suggestions for how to pace one's reading to a certain speed at a fairly steady pace and how to determine wpm? How about a place to post mp3 dictation files (or would this MSN group space work)? If we could solve these two problems, I'll bet some of us would be willing to record ourselves and upload it. Of course, a third question would be what technology would be needed. Some computers have built-in recorders but some might prefer a cheap digital recorder. And then there's an open question of what material would people prefer to see recorded, but right now I'm sure many would accept anything consisting of sentences. Sorry I'm only offering the questions and no answers.

  8. Most Gregg dictation texts from Anniversary on have marked the printed dictation in groups of 20 standard words, so it's easy viewing a watch to record whatever wpm you want – 3 groups per minute (every 20 seconds) for 60 wpm, 4 groups (every 15 seconds) for 80 wpm, etc. I may be wrong since I don't have the books in front of me, but I seem to remember that the Functional Manuals also do that with the key found in the back.

  9. Just if the message wasn't clear, I fully recommend getting a proper voice recorder.

    I am finding it extremely useful, to be able to turn any material be it a list or sentences, into a dictation.

    But the cardinal rule for technology: The ease of use and quality make all the difference. Even though your multi-purpose mp3 player will record voice, it will not have dedicated buttons, might make you navigate menus, and you will have to listen through annoying headphones. On top of that the quality will be crap. So don't go cheap. If you haven't got much money go on ebay and get a refurbished one, but make sure its digital cause rewinding is a pain in the butt, and my sony digital 64mb only cost 26dollars.

  10. As the books are labelled for every 20 words in the manuals and speed studies, it is only really convenient to dictate 60 or 120wpm. For other speeds, I have just found an online metronome that allows you to set any level of beats per minute, down to … well actually you can have a negative amount of beats per minute, but then the metronome just starts beeping like crazy. If you want to dictate at 75 or 110 or such speed, have a look at:

    You can even have the whole drum kit to accompany your dictaion

Leave a Reply