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Training Office to Recognize Your Voice

To achieve success with speech recognition, you must train the speech recognition tool to recognize your voice and train yourself to speak clearly and consistently into the microphone. If you mumble through the training session, don't expect the speech recognition feature to translate your grunts into coherent text. That having been said, let's start the training session.

Assuming you just installed Speech, the Microphone Wizard should have popped up on your screen, as shown in Figure 3.2, providing instructions on how to position your microphone for best results. If the wizard is not onscreen or if you ran it and want to run it again, open the Tools menu in the Language bar and choose Options. The Speech Properties dialog box appears. Click the Configure Microphone button to display the Microphone Wizard. Follow the wizard's instructions to position your microphone properly and test it.

Figure 3.2 The Microphone Wizard shows you how to position your microphone for best results.

After you complete the microphone setup, the Voice Training Wizard should appear. If the Voice Training Wizard is not onscreen, or if you already ran it and want to run it again (to fine-tune its operation), you can run it from the Language bar. Click the Tools button in the Language bar and click Training. Follow the wizard's instructions to complete the training session. The wizard displays a series of dialog boxes that require you to read sentences into your microphone, as shown in Figure 3.3. The entire session takes about 15 minutes. Here are some tips to make the training session a little more successful:

  • Shut yourself in a quiet room, turn off the radio, unplug the phone, and tell your roomies to leave you alone for 20 minutes.

  • Speak in a level tone. Don't whisper, yell, or use a great deal of intonation.

  • Read the sentences at a consistent rate of speed. Don't pause between words; the speech recognition feature can translate phrases more accurately than single words.

  • Articulate (sound out) the words clearly, but don't go overboard. The speech recognition feature has an easier time if you say "enunciate" as you normally would rather than saying EEE-nun-seee-ate.

  • Keep the microphone in a consistent position, no matter how much the head set tries to slide around.

No Tools Button?!

If the Language bar is not displayed, open Word's Tools menu and click Speech. If the Language bar appears but has no Tools button, click the little down arrow on the right end of the Language bar and click Speech Tools.

Figure 3.3 The Voice Training Wizard prompts you to read aloud.

If you share a computer with other users, a computer trained for your voice obviously will be less responsive to other voices. Fortunately, each user can train speech recognition for his or her own voice by creating a separate profile. To create a profile, perform the following steps:

  1. Open the Language bar's Tools menu and click Options.

  2. Under Recognition Profiles, click New. The Profile Wizard appears, prompting you to type your name.

  3. Type your name and click Next. The Microphone Wizard appears, followed by the Voice Training Wizard.

  4. Follow the wizard's instructions to set up your microphone and train speech recognition to identify your voice.

After you have set up two or more recognition profiles, you easily can switch from one profile to another. Simply open the Language bar's Tools menu, point to Current User, and click the name of the desired user (or click Default to use the profile you created when you ran and trained speech recognition for the first time).

Finding the Speech Control Panel

When you install speech recognition, the Office installation places an icon in your Windows Control Panel for the Speech Properties dialog box. Open the Start menu, point to Settings, and click Control Panel. Click the Speech icon to view the Speech Properties dialog box.

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