The different types of speech recognition transcription software are speech-to-text programs intended as substitutions for typing, voice recognition systems that replace the computer mouse or other input device, and speech translation software that will render spoken words in one language into written text in a second language. Voice-user interfaces can also be found in mobile and land-line phones to replace dialing numbers with a keypad. Speech recognition transcription programs are frequently used as a hands-free alternative that allows individuals with physical disabilities to use their desktop or laptop computers efficiently. Voice recognition systems also have various applications in medicine, law, and international business.
Computer speech recognition software is normally installed on a computer's hard drive like other types of software. Most of these speech-to-text programs have specific hardware requirements for the text to render with a high rate of accuracy. A desktop or laptop computer typically needs to have a high quality sound card and a minimum recommended amount of random access memory (RAM) installed before speech recognition transcription software can be effectively used without frequent word corrections. After one of these programs is installed with the proper hardware, new users typically need to spend time practicing with the program so that it can store specifics about their unique speech patterns.
Speech recognition software can also be designed specifically for hands-free computer use. This may sometimes be part of a speech-to-text software package or it may be a separate program in some cases. Once this is installed on a hard drive, users operate their computers by speaking certain recognized commands such as "Open X program" or "Go to X website" into a microphone. Just as with other types of speech recognition transcription software, users often first need to train this kind of program to recognize their voices.
An additional type of automatic speech recognition software is used specifically for foreign language translation. A phrase spoken into one of these programs can be played back in a second language much in the same way as with a traditional voice recorder. Business professionals who frequently travel to other countries sometimes use this type of speech recognition transcription software as a matter of convenience, because pressing deadlines do not always allow extra time for memorizing phrases in a second language. Speech recognition software also is used in professional fields such as court reporting and medical transcription, though it does not fully replace human transcribers.