Other Speech to Text Alternatives
TalkTyper provides an excellent Speech to Text (STT) service absolutely free. It makes voice dictation freely available to "the rest of us", so that anyone with a computer can use it.
But it's not the only option. Unfortunately, most others are not free, or you have to have a special device, like an Android phone, an iPhone, or an iPad to use them. With TalkTyper, all you need is a computer and the free Chrome browser. Related browsers, such as Chromium also work. Want to take TalkTyper with you? Then check out the portable version of Google Chrome at PortableApps, or Chromium at the Chromium Portable project.
But you're on this page because you're looking for alternatives. Since we're a free service, we'd like to first give a head nod to another free speech recognition tool. - CMU Sphinx. If you're willing to wade into a little code and learn a bit about how the technology works, you could do a lot worse than play around with PocketSphinx. It's worth noting that this open source project improves as it gets more speech data. And one of the ways it gets more data is by people recording free audiobooks for LibriVox and then submitting the recordings to VoxForge.
But if the geeky solution is not for you, an Android phone may be the answer. If you have an Android phone or tablet, chances are that you already have an STT solution in your hand. Beginning with Android 2.1, Google introduced a speech input mechanism in the keyboard. Simply click the microphone icon and begin speaking. It works the same way as the app on our page, it records your voice, sends it off to Google for processing, then sends the text back to your phone.
The iPad 3 added built-in dictation capabilities to the device. However, if you have any other iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad then you have at least one free STT option available to you: Dragon Dictation by Nuance. This is a free app that you can download to your device. You record a short sentence, the device sends the recording to Nuance, and the text appears in the Dragon Dictation app. You can then copy and paste your text from the Dragon app into an email or note on your device.
If you own an iPhone 4S, then you have yet another option available to you: Siri. Siri works similarly to Dragon, but it layers intelligent analysis of what you say on top. Using Siri, you can not only dictate, but give your phone commands. More information can be found here.
Nuance is the granddaddy of voice recognition software. They've been doing it for years, and as time has gone on, they've gotten better and better at it. In addition to the free apps they make for the ios platform, they sell high-end versions of their software with specialized vocabularies geared toward professionals. They also make a less expensive version aimed at home use.