Monday, May 3, 2010

Speech to Text on the Android Phone

I’ve been talking into my phone all evening. I say “cricket” and it shows me the latest score via Google. I say “I love you” and it translates it and says it out loud in French and Spanish. I have been replying to messages by talking back to my phone. And unlike previous speech to text apps, this one just works effortlessly and accurately!

One of my favorite science fiction series is the Stargate Atlantis series and they often have communication devices which automatically translate languages when they are talking to an alien. It has often fascinated me. A recent fictional Pomegranate phone had a great demonstration of this feature.

With Google Translate, Google has made this a reality. This was one of the features I was really looking forward to using in my Motorola Milestone(aka Droid).

However, the phone I got did not come loaded with Google Voice Search or Google Translate. I guess Google is doing a limited test run for Voice Search in certain countries. Most Speech related apps use the same components, so a lot of cool applications like the ones below gave me error messages when I tried to give voice input. “speech recognizer is not available” or no “Speech to Text Engine” and “recognizer not present” and so on. I tried installing speech to text engines available in Android Market, but they were of no help.

Finally after a lot of research over the weekend, I found the search install file on Google code

I installed VoiceSearch_2.1.apk as my OS is 2.1 and boom all the apps started working! Hope this helps other people who don’t have Voice Search available on their phones.

Cool Speech to Text Apps for the Android -

1. Handcent SMS – Lets you reply to a message by speaking into the phone. Works very well!

2. Google Translate – It does the magic of translating what you are saying into another language (like the video above). This is really AWESOME!

3. Google Voice – Just say anything and Google for it. I use this for looking up scores in a flash, exchange rates, for all Google tricks.

4. Talk to Me – Speech to Speech Translator.

In the next year – I can easily imagine tourists carrying these translators all over Europe. Isn’t that fascinating?!

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