Digital transcription allows you to dictate your thoughts, plans, letters, meeting notes, interviews and more. You dictate into a portable device and then either save the audio file or transcribe it for sending on to others. It’s a brilliant time-saving innovation for busy entrepreneurs everywhere.

There are a number of ways to do this, and the method you choose will depend on how you want to record and transcribe. If you are writing reports after a meeting, you might just have a system on your PC that allows you to dictate directly to your machine, which transcribes as you go. But if you want to dictate notes on the go, you could use software on your smartphone, or buy a dedicated hand-held device.

Why dictate?

Dictation helps you to save time. Whilst it may take a little getting used to, once you’re up and running, everyday tasks will become much more time-efficient. In fact, if you’re really looking to save time, you can dictate and then send the files to someone else – like a virtual assistant, secretary or admin support – to transcribe the files for you. Then all you have to do is check them over to make sure you are happy.

Successful entrepreneurs understand the value of time, and the value of good quality shortcuts that give them more hours in the day to concentrate on business growth and development. That’s one of the reasons why dictation software is making a serious comeback, and why it’s creeping up the list of things entrepreneurs say helps them to get more done.

Things to think about

Use – do you just want to record your own thoughts and notes, or do you need to record high quality sound? The higher quality you need, the more likely it is that a dedicated recording device will be a better choice.

Recording time – how much recording time do you realistically need before you’ll be able to download the sound files? The longer you need – for example if you’re recording lectures, conference addresses or long interviews – the more memory you will need.

Options – do you just want a simple record, pause and playback system? Or do you need something more sophisticated, with track marking or voice activation? Some integrated smartphone apps offer these options, but may also drain your battery, so think about usage versus practicality too. You might also want a Bluetooth connection, or be able to record using the microphone in your earphones, so make sure you check out all the features before you buy.

Transcription – this is the process of converting your audio file into text. You’ll need dedicated software to do this, and there are plenty of options on the market, both free and paid-for. For example, Google, Microsoft and Apple all have their own versions of transcription software, but there are also solutions like Dragon Naturally Speaking which can do the job for you. You might also find that, if you’re buying a separate hand-held dictation device, it comes with access to transcription software that you can use. Or you could look for an agency that offers audio typing services.

Transcription accuracy

Recording your voice notes is pretty straightforward. What you really need to be confident about is the transcription. We all know from autocorrect on phones and tablets how easy it is to make a mistake. And in business, you can’t afford to send out an email, a letter or a report which has mistakes in it.

One of the easiest ways to avoid this is to find a virtual assistant business. At the very least, a VA can transcribe files for you, but if you find someone with the right skills, they can transcribe a newsletter straight into the format you need it – so they can compose a MailChimp email campaign or put a presentation together from your dictation straight away.

Start talking now

If you’re considering a move to digital transcription in order to make the most of your time, take the time to look at the recording and transcription options available. Feel free to call us on 0800 994 9016 or use our contact form in the menu above to find out about either our virtual secretary service or our other virtual pa services for small businesses.


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