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Digital Dictation and Digital Transcription

What is digital dictation & transcription?

The digital workflow

A bit of technical information!

Hardware/Software requirements

Olympus Equipment

Example of a Digital Recording

Need further advice?

A note of caution

Buy digital recording, digital dictation and transcription equipment

 

What is digital dictation & transcription?

Digital dictation is the recording and storing of voice in a digital format on a chip, disk or computer's hard drive. It has many advantages over the traditional analogue recordings:

The digital voice recorder can either be linked directly to the PC or can be used independently from it, with data then transferred to the computer system as and when required. And, best of all, the equipment is as easy to use as the traditional analogue recorder.

Once in the system, the dictation is saved as a file on the PC. The voice file can then be attached to an e-mail, in the same way as you would attach a document, and sent to a transcriptionist for typing. The finished documents are then returned by the transcriptionist to the client as an e-mail attachment. The client can then edit, print, bind, etc, in the usual way.

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The digital workflow

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Technical information 

To ensure your digital recorder is compatible with standard digital transcription equipment, you should preferably purchase a model that uses DSS (Digital Speech Standard) technology. DSS compresses digital files, making them suitable for sending as an attachment to an e-mail. These recorders can also record in the WAVE format, but these files are much bulkier and can cause problems when trying to send via e-mail.

The high-compression DSS file format is a simple and cost effective way of sending high-quality voice files attached to e-mails. Although DSS files are usually only 1/12th to 1/20th the size of conventional WAVE files, there is no reduction in playback quality.

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Hardware/Software Requirements

All you need to be able to download your dictation is the software which comes with your digital recorder (so you will need a CD drive). Once the software is installed and you have recorded a piece of dictation, simply connect your recorder to your PC (via a USB port) and the software enables the download of the voice file. If you wish to be able to hear your recording, your PC will need a suitable sound card - most modern PCs will cope.

If you wish to transcribe your own dictation, or you want to mix in-house transcription with outsourced transcription, you will need to purchase suitable transcription equipment (footpedal, headset, software).

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Olympus Equipment

Olympus are the market leaders in digital dictation equipment and almost all of their recorders use the DSS format (see Technical Information above). The links below are to pdf documents which contain detailed information on Olympus recorders.

Olympus Digital Recorders
Olympus Pro-Line Digital Systems
Olympus Interview/Conference Recorder

You will need Adobe Reader to view the above documents. If you do not have this software, you can install it via this link:

Adobe Reader

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Example of a Digital Recording

Digital recordings are much more user friendly than analogue (tape cassette) recordings. Not only is the quality better, but the speaker can add dictation anywhere within the recording without erasing any of the existing recording. Sections of dictation can be "indexed" to show the transcriptionist that there is a note he/she should listen to first, or a piece of work which needs to take priority. The recording can be kept on a PC for as long as required and a digital recording does not get "chewed up" in the machine!

To hear an example digital recording you will need to download the DSS Lite software from Olympus - you can do that via this link: Olympus DSS Lite. Once you have done that, click here for an example (remember to switch your speakers on!).

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Need further advice?

A basic digital recorder is not very expensive and the increase in efficiency that it provides soon outweighs the inital cost. We do not sell digital recorders, but visit our Buy Digital page to see some of the equipment we recommend and which you can buy from Amazon. We are happy to give advice on the best recorder to suit your particular needs.

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Note of caution!

If you intend to record dictation, interviews, conferences, etc, which will need to be transcribed, BEWARE of buying "digital note takers" - they may be cute and funky, but many won't allow you to download your recordings for future transcription or will record in a format that is not compatible with standard transcription equipment.

 

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