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Article bY Japanese Translation Services: Taking a Second Look at Voice Recognition

A little over two months, I wrote a series of article on voice recognition.

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At that time, I argued that although there were drawbacks to using voice recognition (VR), such as the initial expense, once you had adapted your working environment to VR, it was a useful tool for increasing your efficiency and translation performance. Fast forward two months and, a little disappointingly, I have found that I am using VR far less than I thought I would.

One reason for this is discovering that VR simply does not suit certain types of translation. English-based VR works by recognizing when you have said one of the words in its memory. If, therefore, you are translating a document with a lot of Japanese names and/or place names that will not be found, you will be forced to either spell them out or type them yourself into the document and this slows down the speed of your Japanese translation. Of course, you can train the software to recognize the names but there is such a huge range of possibilities that this would take a long time.

This leads to the discussion of another factor. As noted before, using VR is an investment not only financially, but in terms of time as well. When using VR, if the software “mishears” you, you basically have two options. The quicker way is to type over the mistaken word, but the better long-term approach is to train the software what you really said. You need to spend time now to save time later, and this is easier said than done when you get busy.

Another issue is that, as you need to prepare a quiet, private environment to do VR properly, it is very easy to get out of the habit of doing this. As I was traveling much of the summer while working, I seldom found myself in an environment to be able to use VR effectively and found that even after returning home, it was much easier to fall back into the established routine of typing Japanese English translation.

From the above, we can conclude that although there are tool limitations in VR software, effectively using VR can be more a matter of conquering your own psychological limitations, such as entrenching good habits and being willing to make a time investment now for enhanced returns later.

About the Author
Simon Way is a contributing author to SAECULII YK, the owner of Translation Services Japan, Tokyo Visit SAECULII for the latest professional case studies, articles and news on Japanese Translation Services

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