Speech to Text to Speech


All new smart phones, tablets and computers (that have a microphone input), have speech to text and text to speech either built in to them, or will support software that will do it, and more often than not that software is free. This enables you to dictate text into any app/piece of software (email/webpages/notes/Word etc.)

Why is it a good idea?

Using these technologies can be hugely beneficial to people with dyslexia and dysgraphia, and visual impairments. They can also be beneficial to people with repetitive strain, or any number of physical disabilities. Individuals who are attempting to communicate in a non-native language can also benefit.

These technologies may well be useful to you in your day-to-day work, and life. I’ve noticed a growing number of people using this technology to dictating quick notes,  diary entries, etc., just because it’s quick and easy.


Today we’d like you to do one of the following:

  • Click on an appropriate link for your device and have a go at writing a note, or get it to read a screen for you, and tell us how you got on in the comments section of this post. Watch this YouTube video to find out how to enable Speech to Text on Apple devices. Or text to speech on Apple devices and Android phones. Google it if I haven’t given you a link to instructions for your device.


  • Click on the picture below, watch the video, then leave a comment on this blog post NOT on the video page please, about anything you found interesting or useful. Sian Shaw has been using tablets to assess her students and recently gave a (very quick) talk about it at one of our TeachMeet events. Sian details how her students are using the voice to speech app to facilitate inclusivity and accessibility, as well as it being a really handy thing for anyone to do and use.



Going further:

Your 5 minutes will be up for today, but as usual we’re keen to give you as much as we can. If you did not watch the video above as part of your task, then please do, as we think you will be inspired.  There are a number of tools out there for dictating text, or reading screens that you may also find interesting:

Using speech to text in Word

Typing with your voice with Google

Information about Dragon Dictate





126 thoughts on “Speech to Text to Speech

  1. wendy finch February 10, 2017 / 12:46 pm

    Very useful – and I will definitely try and use speech to text more in the future.


  2. Jolene February 10, 2017 / 1:35 pm

    Had a lot of fun dictating to my iPad.


  3. Dai Tohzumi February 11, 2017 / 9:31 am

    Very interesting and useful – I didn’t know about the speech-to-text function.


  4. Kirstie Smith February 11, 2017 / 1:30 pm

    Just had a go using some of the accesibility options on my iphone which are so useful. The voiceover option is fun! Especially if you accidentally speed up the voice!


  5. Sarah Webb February 11, 2017 / 3:18 pm

    I just had a go at getting my iPhone to read the screen to me! It was accidentally very fast but I can see that it would be a very effective tool. I was aware that I could dictate to my iPhone but wasn’t really aware of how it could read things to me, so this was a useful thing to find out.


  6. markellisangliaruskin February 13, 2017 / 1:37 pm

    I had a go with dictation on my iPhone. I didn’t know about this function and was quite impressed with it at first. I decided to test it by dictating from a book to see how well it transcribed what I was saying. It may just me (famous mumbler) but I got mixed results. Sometimes it would go quite well, but a lot of the time it had trouble recognizing what I was saying (it seemed to have particular trouble with the word “air”, which it kept transcribing as “there” or “yeah”). Because of this, I think that the usefulness of this function is limited for me but the technology is quite amazing, and I think that for people with certain disabilities it would be very useful.


  7. Laura February 14, 2017 / 9:50 am

    I wasn’t really aware you could use dictation on an iphone, I have had a little play and it is quite good although some of the words do get changed in translation


  8. janeshelley February 14, 2017 / 3:33 pm

    Really useful tool and makes learning more accessible. Put the app on phone as well.


  9. Rachael Herne February 14, 2017 / 7:57 pm

    Interesting, mixed results not sure how much I would use it.


  10. Patrick Selby February 21, 2017 / 9:24 am

    I found Sian Shaw’s talk very inspiring- it’s good to see the functionality that is built into devices that students use.


  11. Maxine Hall February 24, 2017 / 4:26 pm

    Definitely going to start using this instead of writing copious notes on my phone!


  12. Que Mirza February 27, 2017 / 9:35 am

    I do like the speech to text feature, unfortunately don’t get to use it that much!


  13. Sarah February 28, 2017 / 10:00 am

    Voice to text-Teach Meet. This was really interesting. Enabling students to look closely at how easily accessible technologies can greatly assist them both in their studies and in their workplace. This demonstrates well, how beneficial a little time set aside for training and awareness can be and how it can make a huge difference to our students.


  14. Nicole March 1, 2017 / 3:34 pm

    I had no idea about all those things you could do on a mobile/device. New world opened up! – I also tried a couple of the functions via Settings, General, Accessibility and found there’s a magnifier, led flash alerts etc. No idea how much I’d use any of this, but handy to know they are there.


  15. Lisa Clark March 8, 2017 / 3:24 pm

    This will be so useful and I can’t believe that is has been in my phone all this time I did not know. Will definitely be using this in future.


  16. edgar March 8, 2017 / 4:57 pm

    I enjoyed very much this course. It is very useful tool and makes teaching more accessible. It is good to know how you can use your tablet and all functions during the assesment and generally teaching


  17. Jessica March 10, 2017 / 3:19 pm

    I knew you could do this on iPhones but had never tried it. Quite a handy tool to have, but probably won’t be using it regularly


  18. Hannah Stageman March 10, 2017 / 4:11 pm

    Didn’t know that you could get your phone to read pages aloud, very useful.


  19. maria March 30, 2017 / 12:42 pm

    Really useful function, I had no idea this existed!


  20. Sarah Packard March 31, 2017 / 3:08 pm

    never thought of using speech to text. Must give it go.
    (Might be useful for holiday diaries that I like to keep).

    I think we could all ( a lot of us anyway) benefit from learning how to make the most of our devices


  21. Neema Trivedi-Bateman April 4, 2017 / 5:38 pm

    I’ve seen my husband use speech to text regularly but I’ve never tried it. It is a great time-saving tip! Although on my Android phone, there is no voice command to go back and delete a word, which lengthens the process a bit.


  22. Nermin Minter April 10, 2017 / 3:49 pm

    I have managed to activate both speech to text and text to speech functions on my iPad. As I have an accent, I did have some issues dictating in English. I certainly will be using this technology to dictate quick notes.


  23. Matt McConkey May 23, 2017 / 11:20 am

    I find the Android voice input to be useful for short input, but too inaccurate for long documents. It’s worth knowing that in the settings you can change the voice used for text-to-speech, and add in language packs for speech-to-text, both for other languages, and for English (UK) rather than the default English (US).

    Dragon Dictation from Nuance which you linked is the leader in this field, and that’s where I’d look e.g. for students who would benefit from assistive technology.


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