The better the quality of your recording the more accurate your transcript will be. The following tips are given purely for guidance. The time taken to transcribe recordings will vary depending on the content.
Get to know your recording equipment, how it works and how to maintain it. Ensure you are aware of where all the buttons are located. If you are unsure, refer to your user manual. Try to remember to have your dictation equipment serviced at least annually; this will ensure that your equipment stays in good condition and that recording quality remains high.
Before you start your dictation, organise yourself. Assemble all the information you may need before you start dictating, this ensures that you have everything to hand and helps maintain your concentration.
When dictating, if you need to find a file or a piece of information, Stop the dictating machine. Once you have started your recorder, pause for a moment before dictating, and when you have finished speaking, allow the recording to continue for a second, this will help to ensure that none of your dictation has been clipped off.
Try to speak clearly and at a regular pace, spelling any difficult and unusual words, or names with various different spellings.
When dictating a letter state the recipient’s full name and mailing address as clearly as possible, and spell any unusual street and town names. Also spell ambiguous words as you may mean ‘Maine Street’ and the typist may type ‘Main Street’.
Make sure you are in a quiet area so your dictation can be heard clearly by the typist, background noise can be distracting and can also distort or obscure words when recording, increasing the risk of errors. A quiet area will also help you maintain your concentration during dictation. Noises that cause particular problems are shuffling papers, rattling of coffee cups, tapping on the table where the recorder is mounted, wind noise if air passes across the microphone. Interference from mobile phones is a particular problem and will arise when a mobile phone is situated near a recording device, whether the phone rings or not. If recording multiple speakers try to avoid speaking over one another.
Speak with your mouth at the recommended distance from your particular brand of dictation equipment for optimum sound levels. (Refer to the user manual.) If you are too close, your dictation can be distorted, and if you are too far, he dictation is too quiet; if you vary between the two, this can deafen the typist and is very uncomfortable.
Try to be aware of punctuation, say the words ‘comma’, ‘full stop’, ‘new paragraph’, ‘question mark’, etc. This will ensure that your document is easy to read and minimises editing.
Try to breathe between sentences; you may pride yourself on being able to fit 10 minutes of dictation into two minutes of tape but if your speech is rushed the recording will take much longer to type and the error rate will be higher.
When you have finished dictating, please let us know. You could say ‘end of dictation’, this way we will know that your document is complete.