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Practice a foreign language using speech recognition

Learning a foreign language is fun, but also challenging.  How do you practice a language that no one else around you speaks?  How do you know if the words are pronounced correctly?  


Google Docs to the rescue!  There is an add-on for Google Docs called Speech Recognition with multiple languages to choose from.  Simply select the language that you are speaking, start to activate the microphone, and speak.  If the words are not spoken with the correct accents or are unclear, it will not display the correct words.  The person speaking must really concentrate on pronunciation in order to get the correct terms to appear.  An added bonus is that the words that the program recognizes are then inserted on the Google Doc.


I was actually impressed with this feature.  For instance, I know a few words in Spanish from watching a lot of Dora the Explorer with my niece, but I never worked on pronouncing the words correctly so it was interesting to see that even the basic words were not recognized.  However, even though my German is rusty, I was able to say phrases and sentences that were recognized correctly if I focused on the pronunciation of the words.  Still skeptic that it works?  Try it out!


  1. Open a Google Doc.
  2. Choose the Add-on tab at the top of the page.
  3. Select Get Add-ons from the menu.
  4. A window will open.  In the search bar, type in Speech Recognition.
  5. Select the blue FREE button next to the Add-on.   
  1. Select accept to provide permissions to use the Add-on.
  2. Once it is added, this will stay connected to your Google Docs. In order to access it, simply go to the Add-on tab and select Speech Recognition.
  3. A window will open on the right side of the screen and you are ready to select the language, choose start, and begin speaking.  (The microphone must be enabled and not muted.)

Besides helping with foreign language, this add-on could also help with students needing extra help with English pronunciation.  

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