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More Options for Foreign Language Voice Recognition
August 1, 2017 - By: - In: Language - Comments Off on More Options for Foreign Language Voice Recognition

We see more and more people using voice recognition at home (Amazon Echo and Siri we’re looking at you!), but what about at the office?

Have you ever used voice recognition software? It can help you dictate your thoughts and write faster, saving time on composing emails, notes, articles, reports and other written communication. Not to mention the time it can save linguists.

We know that professional translators can have slightly different methods for producing their first drafts. However, voice recognition software can help them save time before transferring their drafts to translation environment tools.

Here are a couple options for the linguist’s toolbox.


Dictate is a new, free, all-purpose software add-in for Microsoft Word, Outlook and PowerPoint. It supports Arabic, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swedish. This includes several language variations, such as English for Australia, Canada, India, United Kingdom and the United States, and Spanish for Mexico and Spain.

Dictate uses Cortana’s voice recognition technology, but it isn’t an official Microsoft product at this point. (It’s from Microsoft Garage, a Microsoft division that lets employees work on new projects outside of Microsoft’s main lineup.)


Dragon is a paid voice recognition software program for professional use. In fact, it has several versions tailored for specific industries, such as law and law enforcement. I’m a big user myself thanks to my tendonitis and I recommend it to every translator I speak to who asks how they can best leverage their time (and make more money).

Dragon supports Dutch, UK English, US English, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish. The software can be used in different environments, such as in the office on your computer and in the field using a cloud-based mobile option.

Tip of the hat to Jost Zetzsche and The Tool Box Journal for bringing this to our attention.

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