Speech Recognition is built-in to Windows 8. Unfortunately, it refuses to run when the main operating system interface language is not one of the supported languages. My system is set to Norwegian. For many reasons, I cannot easily switch it to English without breaking other stuff. Switching back and forth requires a reboot.

I want to use Speech Recognition for dictation in English. How can I do that?

The only work around I have found is using a separate user account set to English. But working this way is very cumbersome. Can I somehow set the language that one program sees? Like how you can cheat by setting an environmental variable before launching a program on Linux.

This is for a Windows 8.1 RT system. I have installed the English US language pack.

1 Answer 1


I know of no way to hacking Windows Speech Recognition in this manner. I'd have suggested the 2-user-account-solution-with-switching, but you've already thought of that.

I would not invest too much time in hacking Windows in that way. It sounds tedious and time consuming and will possibly break other things. (Though it might work through the registry, if you have time to experiment.)

2 alternatives:

  1. Buy a speech recognition app in the Windows store. There are various SpeechTrans products that allow you to dictate the text and then paste it where you need it. Maybe there are others but a quick search did not bring up anything. You can't dictate outside the app, but it's better than nothing.
  2. If speech recognition is so important to you, I recommend you ditch Windows RT and get yourself a computer with a full version of Windows 8. There you can install Dragon NaturallySpeaking or Dragon Notes* in English and use that in any language you purchase without regard to your OS language.

*Notes is a 20$ application that will let you dictate in English in Windows 8, though it does not work in Windows RT. More info here: http://www.nuance.com/dragon/dragon-notes/index.htm; Compatibility info under "Tech Specs".

  • The product web site for Dragon Notes says Windows RT is not supported. But the Windows App Store product page says it works on Windows RT and the Microsoft Surface. I can install it on my Surface through the store, but the app then crashes when I try to use it. Will investigate this option further.
    – Daniel
    Oct 20, 2013 at 11:50
  • @Aeyoun thanks for letting me know. I have no RT device so I was not able to test it. Oct 20, 2013 at 14:30

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