Can voice recording replace ten-finger typing?

Over the past ten years, I have repeatedly heard the bold claim that typing with the ten-finger system no longer needs to be learned as it will soon be replaced by voice recording technology. Just recently, I had a discussion with the employee of an IT company with around 1,000 users. She claimed that ten-finger typing was no longer necessary; a lawyer friend of hers does all his correspondence with an electronic dictation system. When I asked her why her own company did not yet use voice recording, but still used keyboard recording, she looked at me in astonishment and could not give me an answer

There is no doubt that speech recognition is a great tool, for example for an author sitting alone in his office. 

But let's take a closer look at why voice recording has not yet conquered the world of work, even though it has been on the market for decades. There are many reasons for this, of which we will only mention a few here. 

The main reason is that you have to "feed" the system verbally. Many employees work in an open plan office. Imagine the noise when all users are talking all day to enter their correspondence into the system. Aside from the noise level, the system often inserts text spoken by someone sitting right next to the person dictating their text into the computer. This creates overlaps with strange sentence structures that have to be corrected manually. The male name Karim, for example, is easily interpreted as the female name Karin. Now imagine your name is Karim and you receive a letter that greets you with "Dear Karin" and contains a sample pack of sanitary towels. This is not a joke, it really happened! 

Another disadvantage of voice recording is that everyone around you is listening. Whether you like it or not, you have to listen to the conversation when someone is talking on the phone right next to you. Therefore, confidential correspondence must be typed into the PC when other people are sitting next to you. How should a lawyer use the voice recorder in an airport waiting area or on a train? 

There are tasks where you simply cannot use voice recording, for example when you are working at an information desk. If you take an incoming call with a headset, you can't use the dictation solution to take notes of the call. One of our customers is a psychologist and told me that she can't use voice recording if her patient is sitting opposite her. Because then she can't dictate into the system: "The patient is a psychopath..." without risking her life.

The other day I was typing out the lecture in a course almost word for word. In a rather boring moment, I came up with the idea of testing the quality of the electronic recording device that is integrated into my program. However, as I didn't have an internet connection in the conference room, I was told that I had to go online first to use this service. So I went back to typing. I also imagined the case when 26 participants would use the voice recording. Of course they can't! Instead, 23 of them used traditional pen and paper, and three young people (in their 20s) wrote on their electronic pads with a tablet pen. When it's completely silent in the lecture hall and only the lecturer is speaking, you can't use a dictation function to take notes. 

Our customers who use various voice recording systems have told us that they wanted to learn the ten-finger system because the recording technique of a spoken text was not suitable for their area of expertise. They would first have to "teach" the program all the technical terms, make too many corrections and also have to deal with various technical problems. 

I tested a program and had to dictate very slowly and clearly. In this case, I could have typed the text much faster as I didn't have to say it out loud. I know the words in my mind and type them as they come into my head. There are also many other disadvantages. 

Some programs offer automatic transcriptions that are produced automatically during meetings, courses or events. Anyone who reads the transcripts will appreciate how much work it is to check the transcript and make all the changes by hand. In that time, I would have already typed up the entire content.

Conclusion: As long as you are faster and more accurate with the ten-finger system than with voice recording, I see no advantage in using it. I therefore believe that it is still essential for PC users to learn ten-finger typing. 


Owner: Nicole Szálasi

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