Enable OS X's Enhanced Dictation for on-the-fly transcription

OS X’s built-in dictation feature works pretty well, but with a simple setting change, you can enable on-the-fly dictation, even when offline. In this week’s video, we show you how.

Transcript

An underused feature of OS X is dictation. Instead of typing all your text, you can speak to your Mac and have it transcribe your words into the current document.

To use dictation, you just press the keyboard shortcut you’ve assigned, or choose Start Dictation from the Edit menu, and start talking. Press the shortcut again when you’re finished, and OS X transmits a recording of your voice to Apple’s servers for processing. A few seconds later, the text appears in your document.

As you can see here, dictation works pretty well, but you can make it a lot better by enabling Enhanced Dictation.

With Enhanced Dictation enabled, you don’t have to wait for your voice to be sent over the Internet, because transcription processing is handled locally. And instead of having to finish each thought and wait for the text to appear before starting the next bit, Enhanced Dictation provides live transcription of your voice.

You enable Enhanced Dictation with a simple change in the System Preferences utility. Open the Dictation & Speech pane, and on the Dictation screen, enable Use Enhanced Dictation. Your Mac will proceed to download roughly 800MB of necessary data. Once that’s finished, Enhanced Dictation will be available at any time, even when you’re offline.

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