(I originally wrote this article for users of Nuance’s Dragon Dictation app. However, since the same engine is used for Siri and Dictation (the feature that lets iPhone 4S users speak text instead of typing it), we thought that we should update and republish it for the benefit of new iPhone 4S users.)
If you are the proud owner of a new iPhone 4S, it probably won’t belong before you dictate an email, text message, or something else using Siri or the new Dictation feature. However, unlike the natural speech that Siri herself loves, Dictation needs a little bit of extra TLC in your speech to get everything exactly the way you want it. So, when you are dictating text, remember to use these tips for improving the accuracy of your dictation.
First, in general, speak clearly and distinctly. Dictation accuracy will drop if you are less than clearly enunciating your words.
Cap to capitalize a word: ‘I was shopping at cap Target”
Caps On for titles: “I was reading caps on The Washington Post”
All Caps to capitalize the next word: “Can we go now all caps PLEASE”
All Caps On and All Caps Off are Caps Lock: “This is all caps on NOT A JOKE all caps off so stop playing”
No Caps, No Caps On, and No Caps Off are the exact opposite of the above: “I like Amy and no caps amy”
Space Bar not only inserts a space, but can be used to prevent a hyphen in normally hyphenated words: ‘A long-lasting or long space bar lasting peace. ‘
No Space for words you want together: ‘Surf on the World no space Wide no space Web ‘
No Space On & No Space Off for words you want together: ‘I was running no space on reallyreallyfast no space off the entire time ‘
New Line starts the following text on a new line, and New Paragraph begins a new paragraph (effectively 1 and 2 carriage returns, respectively).
PUNCTUATION, SYMBOLS, OTHER TIPS:
Say punctuation: period comma apostrophe open-parenthesis close-parenthesis asterisk open quote close quote. Note that you do not need to say apostrophe for possessive names such as ‘Joe ‘s ‘.
There is a difference between a hyphen — like this — and a dash-like this. Similarly, point (in numbers) and period have spacing differences.
Special symbols: Note that many of these will automatically be placed in context, such as the dollar,cent, degree, percent, and at signs:
- % – percent sign
- © – copyright sign
- ® – registered sign
- § – section sign
- $ – dollar sign
- ¢ – cent sign
- ° – degree sign
- ^ – caret
- @ – at sign
- £ – pound sterling sign
- # – pound sign
Note: You must use cent sign explicitly. Saying ‘The price is fifty three cents ‘ will yield ‘The price is $.53 ‘. Say ‘The price is fifty three cent sign‘ to get ‘The price is 53¢’ “.
Email addresses should generally be prefaced with no caps on; most common domains (such as Gmail, Yahoo, etc) are recognized, but you may have to spell others.
Saying ‘www ‘ will result in the formatting of a URL: ‘www.isource.com/ ‘. Oddly, unlike the desktop version, saying ‘http ‘ does not do the same thing in my testing. I got ‘HDTV ‘ instead.
Hopefully this quick reference will help you make the most of Siri and Dictation. Happy dictating!