With technology, our daily lives have been transformed – our workplaces function more efficiently and our ability to multitask has been greatly enhanced. Although every time a new technology is introduced, there are initial hiccups. For example, when elevators were introduced in Europe in late nineteenth century, special attendants had to be trained as people were uncomfortable with the idea of pushing buttons to run an apparently risky technological wonder that could lift them.
In the present century, although the risks of technology are of an altogether different kind – privacy and security issues being the most prominent ones, the advantages of technology use at workplace far outnumber the dangers present. Voice-to-text converting applications has made professionals increasingly better at multitasking, while also reducing time involved. We can be dictating while cooking, babysitting or driving, and have a draft ready before we reach office, in a matter of a few minutes.
Let us take a look at the top four Voice-to-text Applications:
A powerful note taking application that has been around for a very long time, Evernote with its conversion of audio to text makes life easier. It allows creation of searchable notes, checklists and to-do lists, and also supports a variety of media. These include text, sketches, photos, audio, video, PDFs and web clippings. It also allows using the camera of a mobile device to scan paper documents, business cards, handwritten notes and drawings and integrate them with the document.
Speechnotes is an application made by Google, and is currently available for use only on Android devices. It has the super power of having Google’s own voice recognition technology in-built, and also the ease of no account creation. One can choose from several fonts and text styles. The user-interface also seems to be very easy as it only requires one to turn on and turn off the microphone feature.
An exclusively iOS powered application, Transcribe, as the word suggests is useful for converting the sound in videos and audios into textual form. Although a free trial is available for fifteen minutes, one has to purchase the regular app from the Apple App Store. The app can transcribe any video or voice memo automatically, while supporting over 80 languages from across the world. It also allows importing of files from services such as Dropbox.
While the above mentioned applications are generic applications for personal and professional use, MySteno is an indigenously built technology specifically for the legal professionals. It’s a tool centered on transforming the role of a traditional stenographer into a virtual and smart digital assistant designed especially for diverse application in the legal industry – law-students, researchers, litigators, attorneys, law-firm associates, paralegals, court clerks and even members of the judiciary.
There are several upsides to using an online stenographer tool. –
- Traditionally stenographers train to sit for long hours and take notes in their diaries and later type out the content along with formatting. However, using voice recognition for this purpose can help save many hours every day. Instead of waiting for the stenographer to turn up, we can easily start making our own legal documents. Since this tool is available 24/7 there is access available all the time, reducing the total turnaround time required for finishing a document.
- While Google has it’s a freely available voice converting interface, it lacks the ability to be adopted in the legal profession that has complex jargon which is intensified further in the Indian set-up. While using Steno, there are handy abbreviations for Indian statutes, for example, simply saying LLP Act would ensure that what is typed is the accurate statute name- The Limited Liability Partnership Act, 2008. There are also special characters and punctuation marks that can be easily inserted while dictating the text.
- Its cloud-integration makes working across offices or collaborating with different people easier. While browsing different websites and looking up cases in books for legal research, review and analysis, one can continuously be dictating on the voice to text tools. Therefore, there is no need to ask a stenographer to maintain different files or wait for your instructions while you look up a new source of research, making work easier, better and faster.
- Steno, is available for a free trial and costs substantially lower than employing a skilled stenographer. It also relieves the firm or an individual advocate from yearly bonuses, keeping a provision for a substitute in case of leaves and arranging for additional stenographers during peak hours of work.