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Microsoft’s latest experimental app adds voice dictation to Office

Microsoft’s latest experimental app adds voice dictation to Office


It uses the same speech recognition as Cortana

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Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge

Microsoft is using Cortana’s speech recognition smarts to bring dictation to the company’s Office suite. The new app is simply named Dictate, and it’s the latest project to come from Microsoft Garage, which is the company’s experimental software outfit. Dictate is more of an add-on than app since you really need Office to even use it. But once you install it, you’ll be able to talk aloud in Word, Outlook, and PowerPoint and have your words automatically transcribed into the selected text field.

20 languages are supported for voice-to-text, and Dictate also supports “real-time text translation” for up to 60 languages. Dictate started out as a hackathon project, according to Microsoft’s blog post. In addition to blabbing out emails or a Word document, you can also speak out commands (“next line”) and punctuation when using Dictate. But with this being just a Garage app, Nuance and other companies that specialize in voice dictation software don’t have much reason to be wary yet.

Dictation uses the “state-of-the-art” speech recognition and artificial intelligence behind Cortana, the Bing Speech API, and Microsoft Translator, according to the company.