Audio Input Problems with NaturallySpeaking

If NaturallySpeaking misinterprets lots of words, your second thought is probably, “Something’s wrong with my microphone or sound card.” (Your first thought is probably uncharitable toward your new assistant. Shame on you.)

NaturallySpeaking may be messing up for lots of reasons, however. One reason may be inadequate training. Before you go looking for an audio input problem, make sure you have completed all the training that the New User Wizard asked you to. (You’ll know if you haven’t. When you choose an incompletely trained user, NaturallySpeaking warns you and gives you a chance to finish the job.)

One symptom of a need for additional training or vocabulary building is that NaturallySpeaking makes the same error repeatedly: “cheese” for “trees,” for instance.

If, however, NaturallySpeaking gives you different text each time you say the same thing (“wheeze,” “sneeze,” and “breeze” for “trees”), you may have an audio input problem. One dead-simple way to test for serious audio input problems is to listen to your PC play back your voice. You can use a Nuance-approved sound recorder, if you have one, or you can use the Windows Sound Recorder:

  • For XP, the Windows Sound Recorder is at Start→Programs→Accessories→Entertainment→Sound Recorder. Click the red-dot button in Sound Recorder and record into the microphone. Press the button with the line in front of a left-facing arrow to rewind and then press the button with the line after a right-facing arrow to play. If you hear a lot of noise, or distortion, you may have an audio input problem.

  • For Windows 7, access the Sound Recorder by going to Start→All Programs→Accessories→Sound Recorder. Click the red-dot button in Sound Recorder and speak into the microphone to record. Click the red-dot button to stop it and save it to a location of your choice.

  • For Windows 8, access the Sound Recorder by going to Search on the Charms bar and typing Sound Recorder. The recorder appears on the left side. Click on it to show the recorder. To record, click the red-dot button in Sound Recorder and speak into the microphone to record. Click the red-dot button to stop it and save it to a location of your choice.

The most common cause of recognition errors is muttering through your coffee cup, or otherwise not speaking clearly.

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