Good old fashioned dictation

In a time where there’s an app for everything – including apps which can transcribe audio – taking dictation the old fashioned way is a dying art.

Joan Holloway from Mad Men

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However there is still a demand for this service. Several of my clients ask me to audio transcribe for them. One dictates letters and reports to me, for others I transcribe interviews they have recorded and videos.

It’s ideal for people who prefer to think aloud and record their ideas rather than type them, and for getting a verbatim record of a discussion.

I’m obviously biased but I think the advantages of having a human to process the audio rather than a piece of software are clear. Even if the software is very accurate (and given the complexities of accents and homonyms it’s unlikely to be), you will still need to go through it carefully to check it has correctly spelled words, names, capitalised words correctly etc. In the end you won’t have saved yourself much time, effort or money, if any.

Effective audio transcription needs the proper equipment. I have a transcription foot pedal which allows me to control the playback, transcription software to play the files and control speed, and a headset to ensure good sound quality.

For clients the process is easy:

  1. Client uses app on smartphone or audio recorder to record themselves
  2. Client uploads the audio file to Dropbox or emails it to me (this is very straightforward with a smartphone)
  3. I transcribe the audio, proofread it and format it to the client’s requirements
  4. I upload the Word document to Dropbox or email it back to the client.

It usually takes 3 times the length of the audio to transcribe, check and format it. So 20 minutes of audio will take 1 hour to transcribe.

If you have audio you would like to be transcribed please contact us for a quote.

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