x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

App of the Week: Stop typing and start talking with Dragon Dictation

Dragon Dictation encourages users to stop tapping and typing and start speaking again.

Dragon Dictation is an easy-to-use voice recognition application.
Dragon Dictation is an easy-to-use voice recognition application.

From the moment we utter our first words as toddlers, there's no shutting us up. So it's ironic, then, that the older we get, the less time we spend talking thanks to the boom in social networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, the popularity of the likes of iChat and BBM and even those "old-fashioned" mediums of texting and e-mailing.

Joining the swelling ranks of the outwardly silent majority appears to be a rite of passage for today's tweens and teens, leading to their online skills riding roughshod over their ever-weakening social skills. But it's not just the kids; generations X and Y are just as guilty.

These days, it's a rare worker who gets up from their desk and walks over to a colleague to have a quick face-to-face chat about the project they are working on. Instead, offices are eerily silent except for the telltale pings of e-mails and messages landing in our inboxes or on our desktops.

People sit in cafes slurping their coffees, but stay silent as they "chat" away on Twitter in 140 characters or less. If only they could text the waiter to order their lattes, just like they "talk" to their husbands or wives, who are invariably sitting across the table from them, eyes also glued to their smartphones or iPads.

Who would've thought that speaking would become so passé so quickly when you consider the evolution of man?

The app

Which is where Dragon Dictation (iPhone, iPad; free) comes in. A novel app in this day and age of austerity speech, it actually encourages us to, well, speak - even if it is to e-mail, text or post our latest eureka moment on Twitter or Facebook.

The details

Once you've downloaded the voice-recognition app, it's a fairly simple process to get started. Need to send an e-mail, text or update your status on Twitter or Facebook? Speak into your smartphone or iPad and it will type out what you say five times faster than you can do it yourself - probably faster if you are the type of person who uses the two-finger peck.

Dragon Dictation supports a host of languages, including Arabic (launched on Wednesday in the UAE), and it comes with an editing feature that provides a list of suggested words - although we are not sure if that feature is a good or bad thing when you consider some of the suggested words that are loaded onto our mobile phones and other devices.

But best of all, it could put an end to those motorists in the UAE who insist on texting and e-mailing while driving, putting everybody at risk in their path, not to mention themselves.

Talking to the hand has never been so much fun - or safer.

Have some great personal finance apps that you want to share? Write to Personal Finance at pf@thenational.ae.