Dec 10, 2018

"Hey memoQ" command tests

In my last post on the release of memoQ 8.7 with its new, integrated speech recognition feature I included a link to a long, boring video record of my first tests of the speech recognition facility, most of which consisted of testing various spoken iOS commands to generate text symbols, change capitalization, etc. I tested some of the integrated commands that are specific to memoQ, but not in an organized way really.

In a new testing video, I attempt to show all the memoQ-specific spoken command types and how the commands are affected by the environment (in this case I mean whether the cursor is on the target text side or the source text side or in some other place in the concordance, for example).

Most of the spoken commands work rather well, except for insertion from the concordance, which I could not get to work at all. When the cursor is in a source text cell, commands have to be given in the source text language currently, which is sure to prove interesting for people who don't speak their source language with a clean accent. Right now it's even more interesting, because English is the only language with a ready-made command list; other languages have to "roll their own" for now, which is a bit of a trial-and-error thing. I don't even want to think how this is going to work if the source language isn't supported at all; I think some thought had to be given to how to use commands with source text. I assume if it's copied to the target side it will be difficult to select unless, with butchered pronunciation, the text also happens to make sense in the target language.

It's best to watch this video on YouTube (start it, then click "YouTube" at the bottom of the running video). There you'll find a time code index in the description (after you click SEE MORE) which will enable you to navigate to specific commands or other things shown in the test video.

My ongoing work with Hey memoQ make it clear that what I call "mixed mode" (dictation with concurrent use of the keyboard) is the best and (actually) necessary way to use this feature. The style for successful dictation is also quite different than the style I need to use with Dragon NaturallySpeaking for best results. I have to discipline myself to speak more in short phrases, less in longer ones, much less in long sentences, which may cause some text to be dropped.

There is also an issue with Translation Results insertions and the lack of spaces before them; the command to insert a space ("spacebar" in English) is dodgy, so I usually have to speak it twice and end up with a superfluous space. The video shows my workaround for this in one part: I speak a filler word (in one case I tried "dummy" which was rendered as "dumb he") and then select it later and insert an entry from the Translation Results pane over the selected text. This is in fact how we can deal with specialist terminology not recognized by the current speech dictionary until it becomes possible to train new words some day.

The sound in the video (spoken commands) is also of variable quality; with some commands I had to turn my head toward the iPhone on its little tripod next to my laptop, which caused the pickup of that speech to be bad on the built-in microphone on the laptop's screen. So this isn't a Hollywood-class recording; it's simply a slightly edited record of some of my tests to give other memoQ users some idea of what they can expect from the feature right now.

Those who will be dictating in supported languages other than English need some patience right now. It's not always easy coming up with commands that will be recognized easily but which are unlikely to occur as words to be transcribed in typical dictation work. During the beta test of Hey memoQ I used some bizarre and unusual German words which just happened to be recognized. I'm developing a set of more normal-sounding commands right now, but it's a work in progress.

The difficulties I am encountering making up new command phrases (or changing the English ones in some cases) simply reinforce my belief that these command lists should be made into portable light resources as soon as possible.

I am organizing summary tables of the memoQ-specific commands and useful iOS commands for symbols, capitals, spacing, etc. comparing their performance in other iOS apps with what we see right now in Hey memoQ.

Update: the summary file for English is available here. I will post links here for any other languages I can prepare later.

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