It’s now possible to have your iPhone transcribe your speech. Last week, Dragon Dictation, a temporarily free application, was added to the iTunes App Store. This application records your voice, transcribes it, and lets you paste the text into a new email message, text message or any other iPhone application. I tested it last week. It’s not perfect but works surprisingly well. [Update Sept 2014: Dictation is now a part of iOS and works on every iPhone since the 4S.]
The transcription is accomplished by sending the audio recording to Dragon’s servers which quickly do their best to recognize what you spoke and convert it into text. This recognition process is not always 100% accurate, but one has the chance to edit and correct mistakes. Another problem that I encountered was the recording sometimes stopped abruptly and inexplicably. This wasn’t a big deal since I could resume recording easily enough. Dictating emails was faster than typing a message on the iPhone’s keyboard, so this is a significant time saver. I’m confident that I’ll continue to use this application.