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Accessibility - Voicewriting

Instantly Transforming Speech to Text

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Updated November 28, 2009

Simply defined, voicewriting means that a captioner talks into computer equipment via a microphone, saying every single word. The voicewriter's voice can be silenced with a special mask. The computer uses speech recognition software to produce the captions. This is very similar to court reporting, and another term that has been associated with voicewriting is automatic speech recognition.

Both closed captioning and CART require the use of machine shorthand. Voicewriting does not - it just takes the human voice and instantly translates it into displayable text. However, it can display closed captions that are identical in appearance to traditional closed captions. It can therefore serve as a less expensive bridge to fill some accessibility gaps when skilled captioners are not available.

Voicewriting Settings

There are many settings where voicewriting can be utilized. Just a few are:
  • classrooms
  • courtrooms
  • internet (webcasts)
  • meetings
  • television
  • theater

Voicewriting Training

The Verbatim Careers Institute offers training in voicewriting. This training is available both through distance learning and on-site training, and can be completed in less than a year. Voicewriting therefore offers a good, flexible (some work can even be done remotely) career option for hearing people who want to become voicewriters.

More programs are on a National Verbatim Reporters Association listing of endorsed programs.

Voicewriting Equipment/Software

Some of the same companies that sell court reporting equipment and software, also sell voice writing equipment and software. Software packages usually include a speech recognition engine. Some companies are:

Voicewriting Support

The NVRA has an online forum for its members. Another forum, with sections for customers and the public, is on Audioscribe's website. Finally, the National Court Reporters Association has recognized voicewriting as a viable career option. It has produced reports on voicewriting, and its print and online publications often mention voicewriting.
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