Dictation is an integral part of many businesses, including law firms, doctor’s surgeries, educational institutions, government departments and real estate agencies. However, even in today’s modern world, many such businesses are battling with outdated technology as part of their daily routine.
The reasons for this are varied, but are usually a combination of technological adversity, perceived cost and inertia. The digital age is well and truly here and it’s time for dictation to catch up.
What is Digital Dictation?
Traditional analogue dictation uses cassette tapes – mini, micro, etc – to record an author’s voice. In a nutshell, digital dictation replaces these tapes with digital audio files stored on a portable digital storage medium, such as an SD card.
The first key benefit of digital dictation is audio quality. Recording to a cassette tape yields inconsistent, often poor audio quality, with constant background noise caused by the mechanical nature of the device. The author’s voice is often distorted and damaged tapes can hamper audio quality even further.
Digital dictation, on the other hand, offers far crisper audio. There are no moving parts, which means no incessant hissing and, using the DSS (digital speech standard) audio format and more recently, DS2 format, recording quality is better than ever.
One tape means one long, continuous dictation, even if you had intended for dozens of different memos, letters, etc. This means that your transcriber has to manually fast forward and rewind though the tape to find a particular section.
In contrast, digital dictation effortlessly separates dictations into separate files, making it easy to find the right place. You can even mark particular files as high priority, ensuring they are done at first opportunity.
Another handy feature is the ability to insert speech into an existing dictation, rather than overwriting. This essentially pushes everything else back to make room for your addition. Try doing that on a tape!
Sharing your analogue dictation with others means physically transporting your cassette to wherever it needs to go. This might not be a huge issue if you have an in-office transcriber, but what if they work from home or go overseas?
With digital dictation, distribution of your dictations is effortless. The software can be configured to download your dictations, copy them to a network folder where your transcriber will see them immediately, or email them to a dozen people all over the world. This can even be done 100% automatically!
Digital file security has progressed a long way in recent years. Sensitive dictations can be encrypted so that they cannot be heard by unprivileged ears. Your dictations are also inherently more secure since they do not need to by physically transported around the office or around the world.
Speech recognition software such as Nuance’s Dragon NaturallySpeaking (DNS) can be used to digitally transcribe your documents for you. The transcriber then becomes a proof reader, drastically improving throughput.
All these features and benefits lead to increased productivity for your business. Imagine a fully streamlined solution whereby your dictation is automatically downloaded to a network folder and sent to speech recognition for your transcriber to proof. At the same time, a copy of the dictation is emailed to an associate on the other side of the globe and a third copy is stored on the office server’s archive for future reference.
Tapes eventually wear out. At some point, you will need to copy your dictations to another tape, resulting in further loss of audio quality. Archiving tapes also requires valuable real estate in your store room.
Digital files, on the other hand, can be perfectly replicated with no loss of quality and require no additional physical space for storage. Copies can be sent to various locations around the world to ensure they remain intact in the case of fire or theft.
With increased productivity comes increased profitability for your business. In addition, there are no consumables to be purchased and fewer repairs due to machine malfunction since there are less mechanical parts.
The initial cost is also much less than you might expect when compared to the cost of analogue dictation and transcription machines. You can view the full range of digital dictaphone recorders and digital transcribers – from leading brands, such as; Philips, Olympus and Grundig – at www.voicex.com.au