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Top 12 Tips for Professional Dictating

Whether you are a seasoned dictator or a first-timer wishing to improve your professional dictating skills, it’s worth knowing what tried and tested techniques work to create successful dictations.

These top 12 tips for professional dictating listed below will assist you to brush up on your professional dictating skills, so you will receive better quality transcripts and eliminate the need for a final edit.

Professional Dictating

A professional dictating device such as the Olympus DS-7000 produces exceptional audio quality.

Tip #1: Familiarise yourself with your recording equipment

Learn about your recording equipment, how it works and how to maintain it. Understanding the settings and other options will allow you to produce the highest quality audio recording possible.

Tip #2: Optimise your recording environment

Make sure you are in a quiet area so your dictation can be picked up easily by the recording device.  Do everything possible to minimise background sound by moving to a quieter area, closing any doors and windows, and shutting off any noise-making devices. Extraneous noise can make it difficult when playing back the audio for dictation.

Tip #3: Collect your thoughts, plan your dictations

Collect your thoughts and plan your words before speaking.  Assemble any papers or reports before you start dictating, including documents you may refer to on your computer.  Set priorities and organise.

Tip #4: Provide critical information

Identify yourself at the beginning of your dictation and state what dictation you are doing, i.e. what type of reports and the date you want reflected in the reports. (The date of your dictation, the date the transcriptionist is actually transcribing the work or a prior date of your choosing.

Tip #5: Identify template for use

Where applicable, ensure you identify which template the transcriptionist should use for your dictation.

Tip #6: Standardise your dictations

Try to use similar phrases in each of your report types. Be consistent in the way you approach similar reports. This not only reduces the chance of errors in the transcript, it also will make dictating a much more simple and routine process for you.

Punctuation Marks

Tip #7: Dictate punctuation

Dictate punctuation as you go, including “period” or “full stop”, “comma”, “new line” and “new paragraph”.  Pause slightly before and after small words such as “a” and “the” if they are being lost or misrecognised.

Tip #8: Speak with clarity

Speak clearly and naturally, at your normal rate, avoiding letting your voice fade-out at the end of sentences. Word beginning and ending sounds are important for speech recognition accuracy, in particular.Speak as you would to someone sitting across the desk from you.  Do not speak too loudly or too softly.

Tip #9: Speak in continuous phrases

Speak in continuous phrases. This is particularly important when using voice recognition software, such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking or Dragon Medical Practice Edition, as this approach provides contextual clues about what you said and helps the software choose between homophones like”:” the punctuation mark, and “colon” the body part.

Tip #10: Microphone use

Speak with your mouth at the recommended distance from your particular brand of microphone for optimum sound levels.  Try not to breathe into the mic as it tends to produce a rough sound that can obscure the dictation. Avoid clearing your throat, yawning, and eating whilst dictating.

Tip #11: Spell technical terms or jargon

If you are using a transcriptionist rather than voice recognition software, spell technical terms or jargon not normally found in the mainstream of daily work.  If you use an unusual word or a word that sounds the same as another, spell it out.   Spell out ALL proper names and industry-specific terms. To the transcriber, Rose Ann, Roseann, Rosanne, and Roseanne will all sound the same.  Include addresses if known; spell unusual street names and identify as street, lane, drive, avenue, etc.; spell city names if not local

Tip #12: Remember to say “End of Dictation”

Remember to say “End of Dictation” at the end of your dictation, so the transcriptionist will know there is no more dictation to follow.

For more information on professional dictating or to obtain professional transcription services, please contact Sterling Transcription.

Posted by Catherine Byrne.

About Sterling Transcription

Catherine's work with Pacific Solutions Pty Ltd spans many areas, including writing and design, business development, training, and of course, keeping abreast of emerging trends and new products which enhance transcription and dictation experiences for clients.
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