Five dictation apps for iPad to help you sit back, relax, and let your device do all the hard work for you.
It might be quicker than writing by hand, but typing can get pretty tiring after a while. Voice to text dictation programs are a popular alternative that prolific typers use to avoid fatigue and nasty side-effects like repetitive strain injury. The new iPad comes with its own dictation software, but critics agree that it’s no better than the third-party apps available from the iTunes Store. So, we’re taking a look at some of the top apps available that can help you maintain your productivity while taking a break from the keyboard.
Dragon Dictate – FREE
The Dragon Dictate iPad app is the mobile version of the Dragon desktop software. It translates your speech into a document or email, and you can manually adjust misheard words or phrases. With direct links to Facebook and Twitter, you can record verbal updates that get posted as text. The app supports multiple languages, and you can upload names and addresses from your contact list to improve the accuracy of its vocal recognition. The only potential drawback is that you need to be connected via EDGE, 3G or Wifi to use the app.
Voice Dictation – $0.99
Like Dragon Dictate, the Voice Dictation app can turn spoken words into emails, notes or social network updates. You can also use it to compose texts or iMessages. With automatic grammar correction, Voice Dictation is perfect for dictating business emails or documents. Share documents using Evernote, Dropbox, or send your text to Pages for further editing and formatting. You can also copy and paste text from the app to use in other apps or programs that aren’t directly compatible. This app also requires some kind of online connection to function.
Google Translate – FREE
Google Translate differs from the other apps in this list, in that it acts as a real-time translator. While other dictation apps transfer your words to text, the Google Translate app does this and translates what you say to a language of your choosing. The app is more effective with individual words and shorter phrases, as complex sentences can reduce the translation’s accuracy. You can listen to your translations spoken aloud, or view them as text. With support for 64 languages, you can access your translation history offline, enabling you to create a library of stock phrases you might need, in advance.
PaperPort Notes – FREE
PaperPort Notes uses the same technology as the Dragon Dictation app, and combines this with the ability to translate web pages and handwritten text into a document on your iPad. The app contains a range of editing features so you can easily correct, reorganize, format, and highlight text for easy reference. Print your finished documents, share them using Dropbox or Box.net, or share them via email.
Dictamus – $14.99
Dictamus is the priciest app on this list, but is also one of the highest-rated dictation apps in the App Store. The app is designed for professional use, and its features match its purpose. While dictating, you can rewind recordings and re-record over a particular section to change the text. The recording is voice activated, so it automatically skips pauses. Use Dictamus to dictate documents, send emails direct from your iPhone, and share files with Dropbox, Box.net and MobileMe. To try before you buy, download Dictamus Free, which has limited functionality but gives you a taste of what the app can do.