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The quality of a user's dictation will have the greatest influence on:

the quality of our typing; and on
the speed at which we turn around your work.

We encourage all users to read the following notes.

Dos and Don'ts
Avoid Over Used Words
Similar Sounding and Confusing Words
Dictating Numbers
The International Alphabet

Dos and Don'ts

DO Assemble any papers, reports, before you start dictating.

DO Make sure you are in a quiet area so your dictation can be heard clearly by the transcriptionist. If you require a background noise reduction microphone we will wherever possible try to supply this at our cost.

DO Identify yourself at the beginning of your dictation.

DO Always state then spell full details of: addressees, their full name, proper mailing address; file numbers; reference numbers; patient record number; subject matter.

DO Speak clearly and at a regular pace.

DO Pause slightly before speaking when starting your recorder and pause briefly before stopping recording. This prevents words from being “clipped.”
DO Speak with inflection in your voice. Monotonal voices tend to put transcriptionists to “sleep.”

DO Speak with your mouth at the recommended distance from your particular brand of microphone for optimum sound levels.

DO Edit out any errors you make.

DO Spell unusual technical words that are not in day to day use within your profession.

DO include punctuation, especially when starting new paragraphs.

DO include “open” and “close” quotation instructions.

DO get a colleague's dictation tape and, using a transcribing machine, sit down and spend just one single hour trying to transcribe his/her dictation. I absolutely guarantee it will be an eye-opener.

DO NOT Mumble. Speak clearly without letting your voice fade-out at the end of sentences.

DO NOT Eat, drink or chew gum when speaking.

DO NOT Try to spell words you don't know how to spell. If the word is unusual, just say it as clearly as possible and the transcriptionist can usually confirm the spelling if required.

DO NOT Say "period" for the end of a sentence. The proper phrase when dictating is "stop" or preferably "full stop."
DO NOT Shuffle papers, open drawers, rearrange your desk, rip paper, or make loud sudden noises when dictating.

DO NOT Forget to say "End of Dictation" at the end of your dictation, so the transcriptionist will know there is no more dictation to the end of the tape.

DO NOT Burp, slurp, cough, sneeze, eat, drink, chew gum, clear nasal passages, "pass wind," urinate or defecate while recording dictation. (Yes, all the aforementioned have been heard by our team!

DO NOT Dictate while driving. It's dangerous and the sound quality is usually poor.


Avoid Over Used Words

Wrong or Over-used Try Using
Very Avoid or use sparingly
Very normal Normal
At this point in time Now
At that point in time Then
At the present time Now
In the near future Soon; specific date/time
As per per; according to; as
In close proximity to Near; close to; proximal
I am in receipt of I have; I have received
In the matter of Regarding
Very near Near; close
Is on no medication Is not on medication

Similar Sounding and Confusing Words

You should be aware of similar-sounding and other confusing words and spell them or dictate them clearly. Some words should always be spelled to avoid confusion or to make sure an inattentive transcriptionist does not transcribe the word incorrectly.

Here are just a few words of which you should be aware:

accede : stick to agreement
exceed : surpass
accept : receive
except : exclude
adapt : adjust
adept : proficient
adverse : opposed
averse : not interested
affect : change, influence
effect : (v) to bring about (n) result, impression
all right : all right
alright : outdated usage
allude : refer to indirectly
elude : avoid
allusion: insinuation
illusion: apparition
already: previously
all ready: everything prepared
altar : place of worship
alter : to change
appraise : value
apprise : inform, notify
assistants: helpers
assistance: help
capital :seat of government; money
capitol : building where legislative body meets
cease: stop
seize: apprehend
cite: speak of
sight: vision
site: location
complement: collection
compliment: praise
continual : happens frequently in time: close succession
continuous : uninterrupted
council: praise
consul: ambassador
console: comfort
counsel: advice
descent: decline
dissent: disagree
disapprove: condemn
disprove: discredit
elicit: extract
illicit: illegal
eligible: qualified
illegible: indecipherable
emigration : moving from a country
immigration : moving to a country
eminent : outstanding, revered
imminent : threatening to happen soon
farther: forward
further: additionally
floe : large sheet of floating ice
flow : move, run freely, circulate
formally: in a dignified way
formerly: previously
imply : speaker implies (suggests)
infer : hearer infers (perceives)
incidence: occurrence
incidents: situations
lay : to set down, to place or put an item down
lie : to recline
passed: go by
past: earlier
principal : first in authority; main participant; amount of a debt less interest
principle : basic truth or assumption
pray : to ask for by prayer or supplication
prey : animal hunted or caught for food; victim
residence: dwelling
residents: occupants
right: correct
rite: ceremony
wright: worker
write: compose
their: posessive form of “them”
they're: they are
there: at that place
stationary : not moving: fixed
stationery : writing material: letterhead, envelopes, etc.
suit : a set of clothes; legal action
suite : number of items making up a set, series, or sequence
waiver : the giving up of a claim
waver : to hesitate; also tremble or quaver
through: by way of
threw: tossed
whose: of or relating to whom
who's: who is
your: of or relating to you
you're: you are

Some words seem to be difficult to hear clearly when transcribing. Even a thorough knowledge of terminology, medicine and anatomy will not help if a transcriptionist cannot hear if the doctor said “inter” or “intra” as these prefixes can legitimately precede many words and make sense in context. Make sure to emphasize the ending with words like this, as in “inTRA,” “inTER.” You could also say “intra, that's “RA.” (Saying each letter separately.) The transcriptionist will know to what you are referring. Whenever possible, do not use contractions. Avoiding contractions can even improve the accuracy of transcription from poor dictators. For instance, a poorly-enunciated “doesn't need” can sound like “duzzzneed” which can sound exactly like “does need.” If this error is made and not caught one can only imagine the different life-threatening situations that could occur. This nightmare can be avoided by dictating clearly “does not need.”

Since even small words can change the whole intent of a report or thought, it is very important to get into the habit of saying them clearly. Even not clearly saying, or not saying loudly enough, words like “in,” “an,” “on,” “and,” “if,” “off,” “of,” “has,” or “is,” can send a transcriptionist into a frenzy.

Here is just a short list of words that should always be said clearly to avoid errors:

    has / had / have
    hyper / hypo
    in / an / on / and
    intra / infra
    intra / inter
    is / as / has
    of / off
    super / supra

Dictating Numbers

Numbers are sometimes a problem for inexperienced dictators. Most "teen" numbers can easily be confused with "ty" (pronounced "tee') numbers such as: 13/30, 14/40, 15/50/ 16/60, 17/70, 18/80. Dictating numbers properly and in the accepted manner is a good way to avoid any misunderstanding and is simple.

Here are some examples of how you should say numbers:

Number                Dictate
15 .....................  "Fifteen. That's one, five."
50 .....................  "Fifty. That's five, zero."
17 .....................  "Seventeen. That's one, seven."

When dictating file numbers, medical numbers, etc., Social Insurance or Social Security numbers, make sure you know the pace of the number. By this, I mean a number that is listed as "1234 567 899" should NOT be dictated as 123, pause, 4567, pause, 899. Just pausing between numbers, even if your pause is clear, as in "1234" (pause) "567" (pause) "899," is not good enough, as the transcriptionist still may not know where to place the spaces between numbers. Rather, try to keep the pattern of the number as well as stating the separating spaces, by saying "1234, space. 567, space. 899." Proper "number pace" is important to transcriptionists, as the number is more easily transcribed and is also more likely to be accurately transcribed. (Try this: sit at your computer and have someone tell you an unknown number of unknown length, without them stopping, while you type it exactly as it should be.)

If you are dictating a long number, keep the numbers in groups of three or four, for easier transcription. Very important also is the point that "0" (zero) is a number; "o" (oh) is a letter. The number "506" should be dictated as "five, zero, six," not "five, oh, six." This is of the utmost importance in file numbers that include letters of course, as the transcriptionist will consider all "o" sounds as the letter "o," and will transcribe it accordingly.

The International Alphabet

If you know the "International Alphabet" please make use of it whenever you can in order to minimize errors. If you do not know it, we have included it below for your reference. (Knowing this alphabet comes in handy in lots of other areas of one's life where giving information orally needs to be accurate.)

The International Alphabet as adopted by the United Nations


In Closing . . .

Dictation is a skill that can easily be learned and always improved upon. If you make the effort to do it correctly, you will find your dictation is often transcribed easily and without error, meaning you do not have to spend time reviewing what you have already dealt with. You will also gain the admiration of your personal or pool transcriptionist(s), as there is nothing more enjoyable than transcribing the dictation of someone who knows the rules and cares about the person on the receiving end of the headphones.

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Outsourced Typing
Legal Transcription
Digital Dictation
Medical Transcription
Data Entry
BPO for Lawyers, Doctors
and Accountants

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