The conversion of spoken words into computer text. Speech is first digitized and then matched against a dictionary of coded waveforms. Also called "speech recognition," the matches are converted into text as if the words were typed on the keyboard. "Speaker-dependent" systems require users to enunciate samples to train and fine tune the system. "Speaker-independent" recognition such as telephone voice response systems do not require training but generally handle only a limited vocabulary.
The least taxing on the electronics, "command" systems recognize several dozen words and eliminate using the mouse or keyboard. "Discrete voice" recognition systems used for dictation require a pause between each word. "Continuous voice" recognition understands natural speech without pauses and is the most process intensive. The Holy Grail of voice recognition, speaker-independent, continuous systems that handle extensive vocabularies are slowly but surely becoming mainstream. Contrast with speaker recognition
First Handheld Speech Recognition
The first continuous dictation in a handheld device was in 2000 when Lernout & Hauspie showed off this Linux PDA prototype. It provided keyboard-free email composition. (Image courtesy of Lernout & Hauspie.)