Wordfast Classic Google Speech support

Google Speech connector for Wordfast Classic (WFCGS)


WFCGS is a free add-on that connects Microsoft Word to Google's demo of its Web Speech API dictation service. We refer here to VR (Voice Recognition), or speech-to-text.
The reverse, called text-to-speech (voice synthesis), has been integrated in Microsoft Word for many years, and can be automated with Wordfast Classic. Reliable VR or speech-to-text, however, has always remained a formidable challenge.


This experimental connector is provided as is with no guarantee. Please respect Google's terms of use for their service. At this time, WFCGS.dot only runs in Windows, it will be ported to Mac OSX depending on the interest.
Note that the utility can be used without Wordfast Classic.


Click here to download the utility (150 Kbytes; 10-second download).
Last updated: Monday, 30 May 2016 at 10:54 GMT+1


Drop WFCGS.dot in Word's STARTUP folder if you want to start it with Word. Otherwise, drop it anywhere and add it as Word add-on (Options > Add-ons > Templates > Add). Un-installation: if you delete WFCGS.dot, the utility is removed (un-installed) for good.
Shift+F9 opens a setup dialog box for WFCGS.dot
F9 starts dictation.

Instructions for use

After installation, in Microsoft Word, press F9. If Chrome is already running, it should close automatically. Chrome should start on https://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/demos/speech.html. Select your dictation language.
Avoid using Chrome for other purposes during dictation - use another browser if possible. It is OK to use Chrome, but make sure you return Chrome to the Google Speech tab before dictating.
Back in Microsoft Word, use the F9 key to turn Google Speech dictation ON. Note: with a slow internet connection, turn dictation OFF (press Escape or Enter) one or two seconds after dictation, to give Google Speech time to process and return dictation.

Special characters

At this time (late May 2016) special characters such as punctuation are not generated by Google Speech, which is a problem when dictating translation. The workaround is to dictate keywords that will be replaced with those special characters. Keywords must be carefully selected, preferably single words that are always recognized by GS. Every language is different in this respect - proceed with trial-and-error!

Tip from the author (Yves Champollion): I tried many alternatives for French. For example, I started by using exclamation* for !. That made plenty of sense. Note the final asterisk, which covers the plural: exclamations.
However, the method quickly reached its limit. Those keywords are not always recognized the same way. It is difficult to reliably cover other punctuation, because dictation may fail in getting the right word ("parentheses" can turn into "per a thesis" or "preventive" or "prevent ISIS", etc..). Also, more complex expressions like accolade ouvrante (opening accolade) create problems.
I tried a set of medieval dates because they are rare, and better recognized, as in the following setup (Shift+F9 shows the setup in Word). This works more consistently. However, it's difficult to memorize all those codes! So the program reminds you of the required codes if you use Wordfast Classic, in which case, using those dates may be the best alternative by far. I also found that it's best to dictate the dates followed by a comma, or a full stop.

With the above setup, the dictated sentences:

A funny red fox called quote Johnny quote was running very fast on the racetrack.

or better still:

A funny red fox called 1306, Johnny 1306, was running very fast on the racetrack.

will appear after dictation as follows:

A funny red fox called "Johnny" was running very fast on the racetrack.