Free Up Your Hands With Speech-to-Text on Android

Did you know you can talk 7x faster than you type?


It is a lot easier to talk than to use hands and type. Still, most people use their thumbs to input text into their phones.


With the Speech-to-text feature on an Android phone, you can actually leverage your voice to type text and free up your hands.


Speech-to-text is a speech recognition technology that recognizes our voice and converts it to text (think Google speech services). 


This feature works in all places where you use your keyboard to type. 


To get the most out of the talk-to-write feature on your Android phone, let’s get down to details and explore how it works.


How to Switch On Speech-to-text on Android

If you have a modern version of Android, it must have, by default, Speech-to-text enabled on your phone, so you do not need to make an effort to activate it. But, you can still play around with options.


For configuration of Speech-to-text:


  1. Open the Settings app on your phone and go to System>Language & Input.


  1. Inside Language & Input, tap into Virtual Keyboard where you can find all keyboards, including Google Voice Typing and Gboard, installed on your phone. However, some phones may show different options. If you do not see a virtual keyboard, this setting might be under a different name.


  1. As in the image below, some phones have this option within the On-screen Keyboard.


  1. Once inside the on-screen keyboard feature, you can see the Google Voice Typing option. Tap it to check every option is set up the way you prefer. To be exact, make sure to select your regional dialect or whichever language you want to write in. For instance, you can see options for English (United States) and English (United Kingdom). Choose whichever you prefer.


Google speech-to-text services support multiple languages but not all. So, if you speak a less common language, the feature may not support typing in your language.


In that case, you can download your primary language using the Offline Speech Recognition panel. This way, you can talk to write in your own language even when the connection is unavailable.  


The remainder options you will see there are supplementary. You have the option to turn on the censor to block offensive words, connect Bluetooth devices to set up hands-free voice control, and more.


What Can You Do with Speech to Text Feature?

Once you set up Speech-to-text on your phone, you can use it in most places where you usually use a keyboard to type.


You can use talk-to-write on any given text field. A more convenient way to use it is to have a keyboard installed. In most cases, you have a Gboard already installed on your phone. This keyboard, as you would expect, has a voice typing feature. 


If you want to use another keyboard instead of Gboard, you may look out for suitable keyboard apps. They have their speech typing options. Explore them to learn more.


Speech-to-Text in Action

When you have tweaked the options, you are all set to type on your phone or tablet using your voice.


To type with Speech-to-text, tap on the area where you want to write as you would normally do while typing with your thumbs.


Once the keyboard shows up, look for the mic icon (which is the key to input voice.)


If you are a Gboard user, you can find it on the top right of the suggestion bar, while other keyboard users may see an option on the bottom navigation bar to switch between keyboards. However, you get access to it, tap on the mic to begin speaking. 


When you see Speak now, say the words you want written, and watch your words appear in the text form on the screen. 


Add Punctuation

While using your voice to write, you can add punctuation to your text using different phrases such as:


  • Question mark
  • Exclamation point
  • Period
  • New paragraph
  • Comma
  • New line


For example, if you want the following to be written:


“I have got some good news to tell! Are you interested?”


You will need to say:


“I have got some good news to tell exclamation point are you interested question mark”


Replace the Text

The speech-to-text feature also lets you replace words without typing.


  1. To replace a given word, open the document or message where you want to change a word. 
  2. Touch and hold any word. 
  3. Tap Microphone at the top of your keyboard.
  4. As you see Speak now, say a new word. It will replace your selected word.


Tips to Use Speech to text with Ease

Google speech-to-text services are always improving. They are much better than they were a couple of years back.


You will not encounter any trouble using the service. However, there are a few things you can consider and try out for better talk-to-write experience:


Speak clearly and conversationally

Don’t confuse the voice typing service by mumbling your words. To be clear, you do not need to sound like a robot, either. Since the engine is trained to comprehend natural speech, speak conversationally. 


Use Frequently

Practice makes not only a man perfect, but also improves the service.  


Speech services learn to better understand how you speak over time. So, the more often you use the feature on your phone, the more improved results it will provide you. 


Keep Background Noise At Arm’s length 

If you try to speak in a bustling area or your car with the windows down, the voice feature may not serve you well. Keep unnecessary background noise as low as possible for a better experience.


Make the Most of the Personal Dictionary

It is annoying when voice recognition services trip up the words.


But, the fact is they do not understand those words. So, you will always encounter some words tripped up until you:


Go to Settings>System>Language & Input>Advanced (if you do not find it, check for Tools) >Personal Dictionary. Then, add words like last names, unofficial words, or slang that Android speech-to-text might trip up. 


This way, you create your personal dictionary with all your preferred words for speech recognition service to recognize as your personal preferences. In turn, you can enjoy an uninterrupted typing experience.



Not all of us can type fast. But, if you are an Android user and want to type faster, speech-to-text is an incredible feature you should start using. 


Android phones come with the built-in feature you can use to provide voice input to your apps.


Talking to write can save you a lot of time than tapping your thumbs to write. With this Android feature, you can quickly finish tasks like writing emails, short messages, typing to-do lists, and more.


So, instead of typing with an on-screen keyboard, explore the Android feature and use your voice to type as much as seven times faster. 


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