Dictation, one of the new features in Mountain Lion, lets you dictate text to your Mac. With such a feature, the one thing that comes to question is how well it can understand you. Accents and dialects notwithstanding, Dictation appears to work well. That doesn’t mean it will get every word you speak right, since there will most certainly be other sounds in the room. Hence, for that reason, Dictation learns to understand you better the more you use it. To help it learn new words, you can employ this neat trick of creating rogue contacts, especially for those words that Dictation has been failing to learn despite multiple attempts, and one that you use quite often so it cannot be ignored, either.
What you need is the Contacts app and create new contacts, each named after a word that you need Dictation to learn. Surely you’d have noticed how typing a contact’s name when texting from your iPhone brings it up as an autocomplete option. Dictation on Mac works similarly with Contacts.
The hack works well in Mail, and should work in other apps, too. Remember that this is to help Dictation learn a new word. If you find your speech is altogether incomprehensible, then you need to look at other factors, such as the quality of the mic you are using and the noise level in the room.
The only downside of this trick is that your contacts will be littered with a lot of dummy entries, called things like ‘Kettle’ or ‘Teapot’ (depending on what Dictation can’t get right), and these contacts, if synced to iCloud, will weak havoc on your phone’s address book.
It is also likely that since Dictation is comprehending the word as a Contact, it will treat it as a proper noun, and thus, can make your grammar check go berserk. It will also lead to some unnecessary capitalization, since a proper noun is always written as such. As far as your contacts getting cluttered is concerned, you can use smart groups to separate them from real ones, or just use regular groups to keep the clutter out.
With speech recognition software, there will always be some friction – some that you can work around, and others that you will just have to learn to live with. It is safe to say you shouldn’t give away your keyboard any time soon.