While this is a topic I will be writing more and more about, I have a more immediate need in mind. In this day and age it should be easy, and I’m sure that soon it will be. I simply want a WordPress plugin that enables me to use speech recognition globally throughout my site, much as I can use images or audio clips now. What I would like the plugin most for is testing purposes: I’d like to give students an environment where they are unable to use any input device besides a microphone. Their voices would then be transcribed into text fields which could be automatically graded for errors. In my vision, students would be allowed to try again as many times as they like until they got the correct answer, or move on if they prefer and accept the error. They would not, however, be allowed to copy paste. Of course, their nearest neighbor who happens to be good at dictation software could input for them, but I would consider that a valuable learning experience as well. These points are all moot, however, as no such plugin exists and does not appear to be materializing soon. There is one called ‘Dictation,’ but its use is quite limited. I haven’t tested its accuracy.

On our phones, both Baidu Translate and Google Translate do fine jobs at speech to text recognition, translation, and target language reproduction. I do see their engines implemented in many apps so I assume that SR and TTS engines are free. Looking on line, I also see many open source engine options (over ten major ones) available for the text savvy, but I haven’t tried any of them yet. I have many reservations about becoming tech dependent on huge corporations. Parts of their platforms may be free today, but down the road open source is the only real solution in making knowledge and technology free and available to everyone. As an example, I look an horror at how SEO Yoast is now squatting in my private site, dictating terms and image sizes. Still, if I could get a SR plugin to WordPress today with a Baidu engine, I’d say bring it on!

I have an strong interest in technological developments, but I couldn’t code my way out of .php crisis if my life depended on it. While I agree that Code is Poetry, I’m no poet and I know it. So I won’t be compiling the WordPress Robust SR plugin anytime soon. I hope someone does though!

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