For some reason, Nuance refuses to introduce Dragon Naturally Speaking to Android. Most people know about Dragon, and many solo and small firm attorneys swear by its ability to save time typing. However, Android does have one of the best speech to text engines on the planet, and certainly the best engine on any mobile device. Android’s excellent speech engine also means that you can create a makeshift Dragon dictation system using Google Drive and your Android tablet or phone.
I suggest, if you haven’t already, that you familiarize yourself with Google Drive on your desktop and your mobile device app. If you don’t know, Drive is Google’s response to Microsoft Office for the cloud. The program’s actually very robust, providing document editing, spreadsheet, and presentation creation, among other functions. On your desktop, you’ll find Drive on the Google account toolbar tucked between Gmail and Calendar.
Also, I may mention that I have some concerns about Drive, especially when its use relates to confidential client documents. I suggest that you act very cautiously when you’re dealing with Drive and documents. Only store what you need on Google’s servers for the least amount of time necessary.
First, open and rename a new, blank document in Google Drive (click Create > New > Document). You can use your desktop or the Drive app on your device.
Next, open the same document on your desktop or mobile device (whichever one you didn’t use before). You’ll need the two copies running to take advantage of Drive’s collaborative mode, which enables you to simulate Dragon Naturally Speaking. Alternatively, you could just dictate to your Drive document on your mobile device and come back later at your desktop to edit and finalize.
Now, with both documents open, you can begin dictating into your mobile device and watch the words appear almost instantaneously on your desktop.
The real time transcription is pretty neat, though you lack some of the useful Dragon commands (especially “select”, “new paragraph” and “replace”). Also, be sure to enunciate well, and slow down slightly as you speak, since like Dragon, Android sometimes misinterprets “trick” to mean “dick.”
Once you’re finished, you can edit the memo and save the file locally in a number of different formats. I suggest deleting the original (although Google’s probably already indexed it) once you confirm it’s saved locally.
Overall, if you’re looking for a quick and cheap method to DIY your own speech to text transcription program, this is the best you’re going to find.
I have a special thanks to California attorney David Casady (and here), for introducing this method. David wrote me about his experiences with the method: “With the same Google doc open on Google Drive and my phone’s Drive app, with my phone’s voice to text function, I was able to dictate an entire memo to file. The file syncs between phone and desktop in real time. Sort of a poor man’s dragonspeak. Anyway, works surprisingly well and if you already have an Android phone, costs nothing.”