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August 10, 2011

Dictation Capitalization

Filed under: Main — Tags: — admin @ 12:01 am

It’s a trick I often forget, but one that is insanely handy: Dictating into your Android phone.

Dictation has come a long way, and I’ve got to say it again: The dictation feature on the Android phones really blows me away. It’s fast and mostly accurate. I don’t know why people don’t use it more.

I don’t know why I don’t use it more!

To use dictation, simply touch the microphone button. There’s one found on the onscreen keyboard, and if your device has a physical keyboard it might also sport a microphone button.

Oh, and you need Internet access to use dictation. The phone has to check in with Google to do the actual translation.

Generally, I dictate text messages. That’s because few people expect them to be accurate so I have lots of wiggle room with my responses.

The only drawback to dictation is punctuation.

You can pronounce things like period, comma, exclamation point, and question mark. It works.

What doesn’t work, however, is capitalizing a word in the middle of a sentence.

Yes, I tried everything: I tried yelling CAP into the phone. No luck. I tried saying CAPITAL before a word. Nothing.

The clumsy solution is to back and manually edit your text. That works: You can back up and erase a character and replace it with its upper case equivalent.

But that’s not dictation!

Fortunately, I have a solution.

Well, actually I don’t have a solution. A very clever reader named Barbara R. came up with a solution.

Ms. R. is a smart cookie. (I won’t cite her professional experience, but suffice it to say that it’s impressive.) She insists on proper punctuation and spelling even in a text message. So getting those capital letters in there is important.

My solution of editing the text to change a letter to upper case just isn’t efficient enough. So Mr. R. utters the word period before a word that needs to be capitalized. The net effect is that the dictation feature believes one sentence has ended and a new one begun. Therefore, the next word is automatically capitalized.

After dictating, Mr. R finds it easier to go back and edit out the periods from the dictated sentence. The end result is a properly-capitalized utterance.

Thank you, Barbara, for this elegant, work-around solution for dictation capitalization!

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