In my December blog I explained what dictation and transcription is and why you would use it. This month I decided to focus on my top tips on how to get the most out of your dictation.
Done properly dictation, should save you considerable time (especially if you are a two finger typist). Using these simple tips your dictations can be returned to you quicker and with a higher level of accuracy meaning that there will be ultimately less work for you to do when your dictation is returned.
Introduce your document
When starting to dictate. Spend time introducing your document. Tell us what your document does and what you want it to look like. If you want us to update headers/footers – tell us the detail so that we can update it.
Dictate what font, size and spacing which should be used throughout the document for titles and paragraphs etc. Don’t just assume – “teach granny how to suck eggs”. Give all the information that you can about this document and your document will be returned exactly how you like it.
The clearer your recording, the better/more accurate your dictation will be.
Sometimes we receive dictations where we cannot hear or understand what is said. For example, there may be sounds which are interfering with the recording (background noise), the speaker is speaking too quickly or mumbling so it is not clear what has been said and what needs to be typed.
Speak as clearly as possible, don’t rush your recording, the faster you speak the more difficult it is to understand what you are saying. Slow down and enunciate. Speak into the microphone, reduce background noise as much as possible and don’t eat, drink or do anything that will interfere with the recording (such as playing with the microphone).
If any part of the recording is inaudible, we will time stamp it as inaudible so that you can go back and listen to the recording in the hope that you will be able to piece together what was said.
Consider the location of your recording device and the environment
Eliminate as much background noise as possible and place your recording device close to the speaker(s). Remove any background noises such as radios/TV’s, close windows. The clearer the recording the more accurate the final piece of work.
Consider the device and the environment, for example, if you are recording outside dictating on a windy day your dictation will be affected. If you need to dictate outside, find a sheltered location so that wind isn’t an issue. Record a small piece and then go back and listen to the quality. If it’s poor quality, try and find another location to dictate or take measures to reduce external elements on your dictation.
Spell out words, dictate punctuation
Spell out all words which aren’t in everyday use i.e. company/material names or industry specific words. Don’t assume that we know. Whilst we will always do our best to try and find what has been said through research, take away the doubt. Spell out technical or industry specific vocabulary.
Visualise your document. Dictate punctuation such as bullet points, new paragraphs, brackets, speech marks etc. If you don’t, we can take a best guess at how you want the document formatted but our vision of the document might not be yours. To ensure you get exactly what you want, provide us explicit instructions.
If you make a mistake when dictating, rewind the tape and record over the incorrect instructions/dictation. Remember that you pay per minute of dictation supplied so you will literally be paying for your mistakes if you don’t!
Those are just a few of our top tips to help you improve the quality of your dictation and your finished typed up document. Just keep it simple, don’t assume the typist knows what you want even if they are highly experienced in this area and dictate EVERYTHING. Make your recording as clear as possible.
If you would like to know more or have files for dictation or transcription please get in contact today.
I look forward to catching you up next month.