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What Is Digital Dictation?

By A. Leverkuhn
Updated May 23, 2024
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Digital dictation is the process of recording human speech in a digital format. Some of those who are familiar with traditional dictation may think that digital dictation involves the kind of efforts used in “speech to text” software. The reality is that most experts use this term simply for changing over analog audio or capturing real-time audio on a digital recorder, in a digital format.

Those who need to evaluate the tools used for digital forms of dictation should understand the variety of equipment that is currently on the market. This includes PC-based digital dictation resources, as well as digital handheld recorders. Other alternatives include the use of “call-in software,” where the user can make digital recordings of dictation remotely from their mobile phone. Call-in software allows for the least effort on the part of the buyer - the individual can just speak into their phone, and the digital dictation service will archive the audio in digital format.

Another issue with digital types of dictation regards the formats that will allow users to go back and access different parts of an audio stream. Some digital dictation tools include track markers, to split up speech into different parts that can be separately manipulated or analyzed. Other tools only allow for a single digital audio stream. It’s important to think about how these different formats will help people use the results of digital methods for dictation later, since without a way to access key pieces of the audio, digital forms of dictation could result in huge problems that end up wasting time and effort when the user or others need to get specific details from an audio stream.

People who are looking at the different kinds of available digital dictation tools should understand the common methods of hardware compatibility for these products. Many digital dictation machines utilize a USB port, allowing users to simply download audio streams onto a computer hard drive or other storage device. Alternately, some newer models allow for wireless transmission. It’s important for shoppers to research the means used to archive sounds, because without a way to back up digital audio on hard drives, the handheld devices may ultimately not be worth much to the user.

Digital forms of dictation allow for efficient storage of speech. Some of those in the medico and legal fields or in related areas, including doctors and attorneys, might use this type of dictation to store patient/client information. Others in a variety of fields and industries can also use digital dictation to decrease the cost, effort, or space involved in keeping audio information on hand.

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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