Digital dictation is a method of recording and editing the spoken word in real-time. The recording is done by the use of a digital recorder. Digital recorders are lighter have a longer battery life and are able to record a for a lot longer utilizing the same media, as compared to analog tape based dictation machines. The files generated with digital recorders vary in size(kilo bites or mega bites) depending on the manufacturer and the format the user chooses. The most common file formats that digital recorders generate have following extension WAV, WMA, and MP3 true dictation machines record in the DSS and DS2 format.
The DSS and DS2 file formats compress audio allowing for greater portability. In some cases speech is recorded where sound quality is paramount and transcription unnecessary, e.g., for broadcasting a theatre play; such recording uses techniques closer to high-fidelity music recording, rather than those discussed here.
Digital dictation offers several advantages over traditional cassette tape based dictation:
- The user can instantly rewind or fast forward to any point within the dictation file to review or edit.
- The random access ability of digital audio allows inserting audio at any point without overwriting the following text.
- Dictation produces a file which can be transferred electronically, e.g. via WAN, LAN, USB, e-mail, telephony, BlackBerry, FTP, etc.
- Large dictation files can be shared with multiple typists.
- Sound may be CD quality and can improve transcription accuracy and speed.
- Digital dictation provides the ability to report on the volume or type of dictation and transcription outstanding or completed within an organization.
Dictation audio can be recorded in various audio file formats. Most digital dictation systems use a lossy form of audio compression based on modelling of the vocal tract to minimize hard disk space and optimize network utilization as files are transferred between users. (Note that WAV is not an audio encoding format but a file format and has little or no bearing on the encoding rate (kbit/s), size or audio quality of the resulting file.)
Digital dictation is different from Speech Recognition where audio is analyzed by a computer using speech algorithms in an attempt to transcribe the document. With digital dictation the process of converting digital audio to text may be done using a digital transcription software, typically controlled by a foot switch which allows the transcriber to PLAY, STOP, REWIND, and BACKSPACE.
Portable, hand held, digital recorders are the modern replacement for analog handhelds. With amazing quality and durability, professional level digital recorders offer crystal clear hi-fi recording with familiar functions and operation. Digital portables allow easy transfer of recordings by simply docking or plugging into a computer. Digital recorders eliminate the need for cassette tapes. Professional digital hand held recorders are available with slide switch, push button, fingerprint locking, and barcode scanning options.
Another common way to record digital dictation is with a computer dictation microphone. There are several different types of computer dictation microphones available, but each one has similar features and operation. Olympus Direct Rec, Philips SpeechMike, and Dictaphone Powermic are all digital computer dictation microphones that also feature push button control for operating dictation or speech recognition software. Simply plug the dictation microphone into an open USB port on your computer, load compatible dictation or management software, and start dictating.
Call-in Dictation System
Call in dictation systems allow one to easily record their dictations over the phone; anytime anywhere. With call in dictation systems the author simply dials a phone number, enters a PIN and starts dictating. Easy touch tone controls allow for start, pause, playback, and sending of dictation audio file. The call in dictation systems usually features a Pod that you plug your phone line into. Then pod plugs into your computer stores your dictation audio recording in compatible transcription or management software.
Currently there are several digital dictation applications available for your mobile phone. With mobile dictation apps you can record, edit, and send your dictation files from anywhere in the world. Wireless transfer of dictation files decreases turnaround time and enhances personal productivity. Mobile dictation applications allow users to stay connected to dictation workflows anywhere and anytime.
Types of software
There are two types of digital dictation software:
- Standalone digital sound recording software: Basic software whereby the audio is recorded as a simple file. Most digital sound recording applications are designed for individuals or a very small number of users, as they do not offer a network efficient way of transferring the audio files other than email, they also do not encrypt or password protect the audio file
- Digital dictation workflow software: Advanced software for commercial organizations where audio is still played by a typist but the audio file can be securely and efficiently transferred. The workflow element of these advanced systems also allows users to share audio files instantly, create virtual teams, outsource transcription securely, and set up confidential send options or 'ethical walls'. Digital Dictation workflow software is normally Active Directory integrated and can be used in conjunction with document, practice or case management systems. Typical businesses using workflow software are law firms, healthcare organizations, accountancies, or surveying firms.
"Digital Voice Recorder Buyer’s Guide". Retrieved 2011-06-01.
"What is Digital Dictation?". Retrieved 2013-01-07.