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Dictation guidelines (a bit of fun)

I’ve recently written a couple of posts on transcription/dictation – how you can use it and tips on improving your audio quality. So when I came across these tips I just had to share them with you.

These tips are courtesy of eSOS (Executive Stress Office Support)’s September newsletter. Thanks to Lyn for letting me share these with you.

If you’re new to dictation, these (tongue-in-check) guidelines will help you become a master dictator!

Adherence to these guidelines will assure the highest quality transcribed letters in the shortest amount of time.

  • At the beginning of the dictation, take as deep a breath as you possibly can. Now, try to dictate the entire tape before you have to inhale again.

  • When dictating a particularly difficult word or phrase, please turn your head and speak directly into your armpit.

  • We charge per character, including periods. An effective way to cut your cost is to dictate your entire letter as one sentence.

  • It is not necessary to repeat the same sentence multiple times in the same dictation.

  • If you have to sneeze or cough suddenly, please remove your head from your armpit and sneeze or cough directly into the microphone.

  • If you must eat while you dictate, please stay away from foods such as marshmallows, bananas, and pudding. Apples, pretzels, and celery are much better choices. And please ensure you ALWAYS speak with your mouth full. In case you are not able to get any of the aforementioned foods, please ensure you have a stick of chewing gum or boiled lollies handy for each dictation.

  • Please do not stop dictating when you yawn, it throws off our rhythm.

  • If the client’s name is Alan Ratzlaffenhasenphepherzinsky, please have the courtesy to spell “Alan” – there are several possible spellings, you know. For the last name, simply state “the usual spelling”.

  • It is not necessary to repeat the same sentence multiple times in the same dictation.

  • Do not stop dictating in the event of minor background noise such as an office party, the janitor’s vacuum cleaner, a screaming infant, etc Again, it throws off our rhythm.

  • Be sure to place the emphasis on the CORrect syllable, especially if enGLISH is your SECond lanGUAGE.

  • Talk as fast as you can. Fair’s fair; after all we type as fast as we can.

  • It is not necessary to repeat the same sentence multiple times in the same dictation.

  • Please speak as quietly as you can … we want to be able to hear what’s going on around you.

  • If you need to pause for 5 or 10 minutes between words or phrases, pounding the receiver on the desk or repeatedly saying, “still dictating … still dictating … still dictating … still dictating …” reminds us that indeed, you are still dictating.

  • Just because you need to use the restroom is no reason to stop dictating. Time is money.

  • Do not dictate so loudly that you disrupt your fellow lawyers’ football game in the Barrister’s Lounge. In fact, you really should whisper all of your dictation since the information is confidential.

  • Similarly, if you are going to watch TV while dictating at home, please watch a war movie with lots of bombing, and be sure to have the volume high enough so everybody in your living room can hear above your talking.

  • If you need to correct yourself – sorry, correct an error, please do not rewind the tape – sorry, do not back up and record over the error – sorry, wait, the mistake – just continue with the sentence – wait – go back with the paragraph and fix the error – er, the mistake. Please go back and just delete that last guideline.

  • When dictating on your cell phone from your car, be sure to go through as many tunnels as possible. This will ensure confidentiality of the information.

  • You (y-o-u) do not need (n-e-e-d) to spell (s-p-e-l-l) obvious words (w-o-r-d-s) for us (u-s). It is our job (j-o-b) to know (k-n-o-w) how to (t-o) spell words that (t-h-a-t) we learned (l-e-a-r-n-e-d) in third (t-h-i-r-d) grade (g-r-a-d-e).

  • One last thing, it is not necessary to repeat the same sentence multiple times in the same dictation.

Lyn’s newsletters are always full of great tips so go have a look and if you like it, subscribe!

10 ways to improve your audio recording quality

A few days ago I posted a blog about transcription – what it is, who uses it and in what circumstances.

An important thing to keep in mind is that the cost of having your recording typed up into document format varies greatly but as a general rule, the better the quality of your recording, the more affordable having it typed will be.

There are so many things you can do to improve the sound quality of your recording, things such as:

  1. speaking as clearly as possible
  2. making sure you are talking somewhere with little, if any, background noise (interviewing someone in a cafe setting is absolutely disastrous)
  3. do a practise recording first to test your volume settings and the positioning of your microphone
  4. avoid background noises such as dogs barking, telephones ringing, heavy traffic. If these noises occur or one of the speakers needs to cough or sneeze, pause speaking and, if necessary, repeat the last few words
  5. spell any difficult words, particularly names
  6. be aware of shuffling papers and clanking glasses/coffee cups while recording. Even though you will hardly notice the sound, the microphone will pick them up and it makes it more difficult for the transcriptionist to hear the words
  7. where there is more than one speaker, identify each speaker clearly
  8. avoid speaking over the top of one another and interrupting. In a group situation, the group leader should ensure that only one person speaks at a time and if necessary, ask speakers to repeat their comments made while others were talking
  9. speak loudly enough to be heard
  10. ensure that you have spare batteries for your recording device before you start recording

As a final note, I always suggest that people find a transcriptionist before they begin recording. Any professional service will be happy to go over these types of suggestions to ensure that you get the best possible quality recording, which will in turn make their job quicker and easier, thus costing you less $$!