Utilizing a dictation service is a fantastic way to outsource some of your work, keep up with reports and correspondence, improve your communications with clients, and help you become more productive.
But you do need to remember that the person doing your transcription can’t read your mind! Here are some tips to help your dictation service provide you with transcription services that will save you time and money!
1. Eliminate background noise when dictating. While it may be convenient for you to dictate while driving with your window open, road noise, and the sound of the wind blowing into the microphone can obliterate your voice and make it difficult to hear what you are saying. The same thing applies with dictating on the subway, in a crowded restaurant, or at an airport. Anywhere there is an abundance of background noise means the person doing the transcription can’t hear you clearly. Consider where you will be dictating and try to do it in a quiet area with little or no background noise – in a closed office is ideal.
2. Spell out all names and any unfamiliar terms. If you know what and whom you are talking about, it’s easy to assume the dictation service will know, too. Unfortunately, that’s not the case – and in a world where even the most common names now have multiple spellings, it’s best to always spell out all names – and to use the “A as in apple” technique to articulate the letters you are spelling since it is very easy to confuse letters that sound alike, such as “b, c, d, e, g, p, v, and z” or “j and k” or “f and s”. Likewise with any unfamiliar terms or terms specific to your industry.
3. Dictate like you are talking to a real person – you are. When you dictate, talk as you would talk to a secretary or other person you know. You can use a generic term, such as “operator” when you address the person, but this helps the person doing your transcription at the dictation service to differentiate between when you are giving an instruction (such as how you want a particular document set up) and when you want something typed or transcribed verbatim.
4. Provide any special formatting instructions. Tell the person doing the transcription how you want something set up – preferably at the beginning before you begin the dictation or else at the point where formatting should change while you are dictating. For example, you could say, “Operator, I want this heading in all capital letters, underlined, and centered. Then go back to the left margin in regular type and type the paragraph that follows.”
5. Speak clearly, directly into the microphone, and enunciate your words. Many people dictate while they are shuffling through papers or working on a project. That’s okay, but it’s important to be sure you are speaking clearly – and directly into the microphone – when you’re doing that. You don’t want to have your head turned away because your voice will not carry well and the transcriptionist won’t be able to hear what you said. Likewise, enunciate your words carefully. Try not to mumble.
6. Slow down! The more some people dictate, the faster they talk. And other people, well, they just tend to be fast talkers. The trouble with this isn’t that the person doing the transcription at the dictation service can’t keep up – the problem is that the words tend to slur together, making them indecipherable. Slow down, speak deliberately, and you’ll get better accuracy from your chosen dictation service.
Finding and using a dependable dictation service can be a lifesaver when you’re overworked and under time constraints. It can help you get back on track before or after a vacation or during a peak work period – or it can just be a great way to stay abreast of your business all the time. Remember, you get back what you put in. Provide great dictation and your dictation service will deliver professional transcription.