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HomeBusiness TechDigital TransformationWhat is a Dictation Transcription?

What is a Dictation Transcription?

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Dictation transcription has been a valuable resource for a long time. In days gone by, a boss would call on a secretary. He’d dictate something that the secretary would note down in shorthand. The secretary would go away and use a typewriter to produce a document and bring it back to the boss to check and sign.

Technology has developed significantly since then. Alexander Graham Bell founded the Dictaphone Company to manufacture dictation machines that recorded voice on wax cylinders. Eventually, IBM introduced a device that used erasable magnetic tape. Later, microcassettes came about so manufacturers could make small, portable recorders.

Now, voice recording is so common and effortless that we don’t even think about it. There are small, high-quality digital recording devices at affordable prices, and anyone can simply record their voice on a smartphone to produce documents later.

Who Can Benefit From Dictation?

A lot of people express their thoughts and ideas more clearly while speaking. Some feel that sitting in front of a keyboard is a chore that stifles creativity. Many authors choose to dictate book chapters to allow more flow and creativity and avoid the dreaded writer’s block.

Dictation is also incredibly useful for anyone who has difficulty typing. This includes people with visual or physical impairments, which make using a keyboard more difficult. Let’s say you’ve injured your hand playing a sport. Dictation transcription would be an easy way to generate whatever documents you need until you recover.

Anyone who spends time away from a computer can also benefit. You can dictate an idea the moment it comes to you. You can use time productively while waiting for a meeting or traveling on public transport. Simply record your voice on your phone whenever you want, and have all the recordings typed up later.

Automated Dictation Software Versus the Human Touch

A quick Google search will give you a long list of free speech-to-text and automated dictation options. They all have their own pros and cons but suffer from similar drawbacks.

There is a learning curve to familiarize yourself with how the software operates, and you’ll need to learn and use a set of dictation commands. This can feel cumbersome and distract you from the content you want to dictate.

With human transcription services, you speak naturally and issue logical commands which a transcriber follows intelligently. This includes all of the obvious instructions, such as “new paragraph,” “bold last sentence,” and “period.” In addition, you can say things like, “Sorry, I meant “historic,” not “historical,” and a human transcriber will find and correct that word. Alternatively, you could say, “Go back and bold everything from in this paragraph,” and a well-trained person easily follows this instruction.

Accuracy is often an issue with automated software. It has problems correctly spelling the names of people, places, and brands. Accuracy could drop dramatically if you were in a noisy environment when you recorded your dictation. If you have an accent or mispronounce some words, that tends to generate a larger number of errors in the automated transcription.

Luckily, humans are great at coping with background noise, accents, and mispronunciations. Humans use the context of what you are saying to transcribe the content accurately. You can spell out any difficult words or names the first time you use them and know they will appear correctly throughout the transcribed document.

A text document from automated dictation software still needs to be checked carefully and thoroughly. Depending on the accuracy level, this process can take almost as much effort as typing out a document in the first place. You also risk missing a few difficult-to-spot but significant errors that automated transcription generates.

With a professional human transcription service, dictation accuracy is very close to 100%, and the document is formatted exactly as you want, so the checking process is quick and easy.


For anyone who prefers to dictate documents, dictation transcription services are a great idea. A professional, trustworthy company will do the hard work for you and return accurate documents formatted accordingly. If you have special formatting requirements, include those at the beginning of your dictation or add a short note when you submit the task. Go for a company such as GoTranscript, which doesn’t use AI tools and promises 100% human transcription for the very best results, and start enjoying all the benefits of dictation-transcription.

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