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Tips for delivering perfect dictation | << Back

Tips for delivering perfect dictation

 

 

DictateNow co-founder Maxine Park guides members of ILFM and readers of Legal Abacus magazine through the correct way of delivering dictation.

Legal Abacus is the bi-monthly magazine for members of The Institute of Legal Finance & Management, which consists of legal finance, administration and practice management professionals working in the legal sector. The publication is an informative resource offering its readers news and advice about education and career development, legal accounting and business management, and in the wider legal sector as a whole.

Maxine’s article outlines some key points on how to achieve the perfect dictation, including the type of technology you should be using, how to prepare your recording, factors which may affect the end result and how you can guarantee a more accurate transcription.

For subscribers of the magazine, you will find Maxine’s article in the November/December issue.

Alternatively, read what Maxine had to advise here:

Tips for delivering perfect dictation

 

When it comes to accurate business, legal or medical dictation, it’s important to follow simple guidelines that make transcription easier.

The choice of dictation machine is a personal one, but whether it’s a dedicated dictation machine or a Smartphone with the latest dictation app., it’s important not to hold it too close. You should hold the microphone about six inches from your mouth to prevent words becoming muffled by other sounds. Words beginning with a P or a B, like “partner” or “battery” will cause a burst of air to hit the microphone and distort the sound, as will your breathing if you get too close.

The working environment is changing, even for the most avid dictators, many of whom will now find they are dictating out of the office, sat outside court or even running for a train, all of which pose different problems for the transcriber. It’s important to have your case notes to hand, but dictators should avoid shuffling papers and working at their keyboard at the very least.

Keeping background noise to a minimum is essential for clear dictation, which can be difficult in a busy practice, but it’s worth finding somewhere a bit quieter, rather than constantly stopping and starting your dictation when everything gets too loud.

Although microphones will often pick up background noise, you can experiment with its sensitivity settings to reduce the distance at which the microphone will pick up sounds and ensure your voice is the focus of the recording.

When starting your dictation, it’s important to pause slightly after you press record and again before you stop recording to prevent your first and last words being clipped each time. Perhaps the most obvious, yet most important point to appreciate when dictating, is the need to speak slowly and as clearly as possible; the better your diction, the better the dictation.

Transcription service providers will charge by the length of the dictation, so it might be tempting to speak quickly, but it’s better to be more precise to avoid ‘ums’ and ‘ers’, which will lengthen your dictation, add nothing to your work and cost you more.

Experienced, qualified legal transcription typists will understand that only punctuation requested by the dictator will be transcribed - an errant comma or apostrophe could significantly change the meaning of what was intended.  You must dictate all punctuation and use consistent instructions:

Full Stop

.

Align (direction)

Comma

,

Indent

Exclamation Mark

!

Open Parentheses

(

Question Mark

?

Close Parentheses

)

Colon

:

Apostrophe

Semicolon

;

Quotation Marks

“ ”

Paragraph

Slash

/

New Line

 

Ampersand

&

 

You can speed up the formatting of the finished document by adding it to your dictation; when you want to underline, capitalise or bold certain elements of your text, simply say STOP and then issue instructions for how the next word, words, sentence etc., should be treated.

STOP

Centred

STOP

In bold type

STOP

In italics

STOP

Underline type

STOP

Spelled/Spelt

STOP

In capitals

 

In general, the ‘Spelled/Spelt’ command need only be used for obscure words, names and addresses, etc. Most experienced, qualified transcription typists will not only have a good working knowledge of the English language, but also commonly used legal expressions, including Latin terms, along with specialist medical terminology.

When spelling words, the recommended phonetic alphabet to use is the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet:

A

Alpha

N

November

B

Bravo

O

Oscar

C

Charlie

P

Papa

D

Delta

Q

Quebec

E

Echo

R

Romeo

F

Foxtrot

S

Sierra

G

Golf

T

Tango

H

Hotel

U

Uniform

I

India

V

Victor

J

Juliet

W

Whisky

K

Kilo

X

X-Ray

L

Lima

Y

Yankee

M

Mike

Z

Zulu

 

Numbers present a different set of problems for transcription typists and should always be dictated in the same way to reduce the chance of confusion.

0

Zero or Nought - Never ‘O’.

1,000

One Thousand – not a Thousand.

1977

Nineteen seventy seven

3.18

Three point one eight

12,700

Twelve thousand seven hundred

 

You will also need to dictate any relevant reference numbers at the start of your dictation to identify the client or case to which the work refers. If you are utilising outsourced transcription services, the typists may have access to your system remotely, allowing them to complete work within the relevant files utilising existing templates.

Service providers will usually have typists spread throughout the country, not only to help increase confidentiality for dealing with matters that are locally sensitive, but to be able to match a dictator’s strong regional accent with that of a typist.

To ensure you receive accurate transcriptions, the best advice is to pay attention to the quality of your dictation, press record and speak clearly. This technique will also save you time in typing initially and in correcting the returned work.

   
  T V Edwards LLP have used DictateNow for a significant period and have become reliant on the service. DictateNow provides an efficient and organised typing service which has become vital to T V Edwards LLP as we expand and increase our work load.

The advantage is that the typing is saved directly into T V Edwards LLP’s case management system which reduces the administrative time once the typing has been completed. Also, DictateNow are able to complete typing quickly which is essential for fee earners, particularly those who are out of the office at court and who are under time constraints.

DictateNow also provide a helpful telephone support service for any queries that arise providing a professional service.

   
     
 
Maria Adams
Family Solicitor
T V Edwards LLP