You might think from the title this is a commentary about the bankruptcy that happened to Sears earlier this year. That would be ironic, wouldn’t it? No, it is a mistyping by Office 365’s Dictate function. I’m looking for ways to write faster. Someone suggested that you could use the Dictate function on your computer or word processor. It will type what you speak. People speak on average about 150 words per minute. That’s 9,000 words an hour. You could write a whole novel in a weekend at that rate! Not exactly.
First, I won’t be talking that fast. I will have to pause from time to time to think what to say next. So no way I’m speaking or typing 9,000 words in an hour. Also, even if I do talk nonstop for an hour to get those 9,000 words, that is the first draft, not the finished product. Even if it types everything I dictate perfectly, I’m still going to have to go back and edit. That’s fine, because I have to do that when I type as well. But it doesn’t type everything just as I say. It makes a lot of mistakes.
Second, when you speak, you don’t normally say punctuation marks. If you want Office 365 to type punctuation, you have to say at the right points: comma, period, colon, semicolon, or question mark. It doesn’t seem to recognize other punctuation, like hyphen or ellipsis. It spelled out ellipsis. I said hyphen, and it heard iPhone. And sometimes it won’t recognize the punctuation, so it will just make up a word, like call Lynn (colon); semi cone (semicolon); thoma, MA, tamah, AMA, tohma, karma, come air, Tom (comma); or herian, here yet, erienne, Syria, area (period). And it has difficulty distinguishing when period is not punctuation. If I say, “people point to,” Office 365 types people .2. If I say, “Isaiah, Hosea, Amos, and Micah were prophets from the same period,” it will render that last phrase from the same.
Third, sometimes it types spellings even it knows are wrong, e.g., defeted (defeated), in dreta (in dread of), occured (occurred), friture (creature), skurge (scourge), rycz verse (reverse), and illusionz (illusions). If it knows the correct way to spell it, why doesn’t it type it correctly?
Fourth, it doesn’t handle numbers or words that sound like numbers much better. I said “heretofore.” It typed here to 4. I said, “to a merchant when weighing produce.” It typed 2 AM urgent when right wing produce. Oh yeah, it has a right wing bias. I said, “abomination.” It typed “Obamanation.” Don’t even get me started. For some reason, it thinks most numbers are times. I said, “one or two.” It typed 1:00 or 2:00. And it can’t get the word “and” right. It’ll give me an, am, or in. When I said Aaron and Moses, it typed Aaron Ann Moses.
Third, Dictate obviously does not do as much Bible study as I do. I know Biblical names can be hard to understand. I can’t blame Dictate if it gets the names of Assyrian kings wrong, for example, or if it can’t hear the difference between Syria and Assyria. Here are a few of the major Assyrian kings and various ways Dictate heard them.
- Sennacherib – snack rib, send atrib, the nacro rib
- Tiglath-pileser III – take a left pleezer the 3rd, YG left pleezer, tiglath pleezer, tig left alacer III
- Sargon II – sargo on the second
Snack rib? What kind of name is that for king? Take a left Pleezer the 3rd? You mean there was actually a first and second with that name? His name is hyphenated. If I say Tiglath (hyphen) pileser, it will give my YG left iPhone laser.
Some of the Hebrew or Jewish names are weird to English speakers.
- Isaiah – inizio, atizip
- Hosea – Jose, Jose at
- Amos – a must, famous
- Micah – my car, my tat
- Zephaniah – season finale a
- Habakkuk – abaqa it, About cook, obac cook, halback took, abaqa
- Nehemiah – NIA Maya
- Ahaz – a has
Back to that earlier sentence with four prophets, it would give me Inizio, Jose, Famous, and My car were profits from the same. I couldn’t wait for the “Zephaniah” of Game of Thrones, but it was a huge disappointment. The book of “About cook” is only three chapters.
Some Biblical names are not only difficult but obscure. I can’t blame Dictate too much for these mistakes:
- Shebanyahu – chevannes Yahoo
- Piankhi – yongki, chunky
I like “Chunky” and “anything-Yahoo,” I have to admit. Of course I have to refer to non-biblical names too. Compare what I said with what Office 365 typed:
- R. Simeon b. Eliezar (quoted in the Mishnah and the Talmud) – Our simian be Eleazar
- Hammurabi – homma Robbie
- Mays (last name of a commentator) – maze
- Diblaim – Deb lion
- Jehu – J who
I didn’t know simians were quoted in the Mishnah and Talmud, but apparently Dictate thinks so, and their simian be Eleazar. “Eleazar, put that banana down for a moment. What does the Torah say about fair treatment of laborers?” If your last name is Mays, Dictate puts you in a maze.
“What’s that town?”
“What kind of lion?”
“Oh, a Deb lion. Is that her name? Deb?”
“I’m studying king Jehu.”
Who’s on first?
I admit those names can be either obscure or confusing, but Hammurabi? I thought he was a pretty famous historical figure. Homma Robbie? Maybe we could change that to Homie Robbie. Homie Robbie’s Code.
“Yeah, he’s my homie. I call him Robbie.”
One upside to this is if the name’s are difficult for you, you can at least get suggestions for nicknames from here. Zephaniah? Call him “Season finale.” Habakkuk? Call him “About cook.” Aminadab? Call him “A little dab.” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? Call them “Your shack, My shack, and A bungalow.”
You run into the same difficulties with Biblical place names.
- Rimmon – Ramon
- Aioth – I wrote
- Ai – AI
- Migron – My grown
- Michmash (comma) a village – mismash mama village
- Pass across the Wadi es-Suwenit – has across thawadi S so one right
- Gibeah (comma) – give me a comma
- Samaria – summaria, some area
- Zion – xyon up, zyan
Give me a comma? Obviously, I wanted a comma after Gibeah, but it didn’t give me one. It just typed instructions to give me one. Sounds like the worst cheer ever. “Give me a comma!”
The town of Ai must have been one of those advanced Atlantean civilizations, because it had AI. Another town is called Aioth. I don’t want you to type I wrote this. I guess my mama’s village is a mishmash. Maybe it’s the Wadi es-Suwenit, because thawadi S so one right sure looks like a mishmash to me.
“The Assyrians invaded Samaria.”
“I told you, Samaria.”
What’s on second?
I know most of these names are obscure and confusing to many people, but it can’t even get Zion right?
God is a pretty important word for Biblical studies, wouldn’t you say? Dictate heard Gone. In the beginning, Gone created the heavens and the earth. Context doesn’t seem to help Dictate at all. I guess the bottom line is I won’t be trading in my keyboard and mouse any time soon.
What do you say we have a little fun with this, if you’re up for it? I’ll give you some sentences Office 365 heard me say for my research on Biblical history, which I hope to turn into novels. See if you can decode them. I’ve included a key below. You can check your answers after the picture.
- N seven 32 BCE (Tom) the Cirian King take a left (iPhone) pleezer III defeted judasz enemies.
- N 722 BC E he (karma) the Kingdom of is real in the North felt Syria.
- The profits who were active at this time were inizia, a must, Jose a, and my car.
- The Sears and profits told the judean King a has not to B in dreta a serious King snack rib.
- Inizio squirrel was unrolled in red.
- Gone heard hezekiah sprayer.
- Built on the foundation of hustle some profits.
- Aaron Ann Moses.
- The profit abaqa it warms judah to run from the call Deans.
- Our simian be eleazar was a sage quoted in the mishna am a talmid.
- Hosea pronounced punishment against King J who and his dionis T 4 the blood of jazz real.
- Allies prove davaine hope for some area.
|I said||Office 365 heard|
|Apostles and prophets||Hustle some profits|
|Assyrian||A Syrian, the Syrian, a Cerian|
|Habakkuk||Abaqa it, About cook, obac cook, halback took, abaqa|
|R. Simeon b. Eliezar||Our simian be Eleazar|
|Seers and prophets||Sears and profits|
|Sennacherib||snack rib, send atrib, the nacro rib|
|Tiglath (hyphen) pileser the third||Take a left (iPhone) pleezer the 3rd, YG left pleezer, tiglath pleezer, tig left alacer III|
|Unrolled and read||Unrolled in red|
- In 732 BCE, the Assyrian king, Tiglath (hyphen) pileser III defeated Judah’s enemies.
- In 722 BCE, the kingdom of Israel in the north fell to Assyria.
- The prophets who are active at this time were Isaiah, Amos, Hosea, and Micah.
- The seers and prophets told the Judean king Ahaz not to be in dread of Assyria’s king Sennacherib
- Isaiah’s scroll was unrolled and read.
- God heard Hezekiah’s prayer.
- Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets
- Aaron and Moses
- The prophet Habakkuk warned Judah to run from the Chaldeans.
- R. Simeon b. Eliezer was a sage quoted in the Mishnah and the Talmud
- Hosea pronounced punishment against King Jehu and his dynasty for the blood of Jezreel
- Allies proved a vain hope for Samaria.