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Advantages & Disadvantages of Using Machine Transcription Equipment

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The development of machine transcription

According to health and wellness author Connie Limon, physicians and other professionals before the 1930s and 1940s who needed to document information used shorthand. Eventually cassette transcribers were introduced in the work place, but these required the storage of multiple tapes. When digital dictation emerged in the 1980s, physical tapes were a thing of the past. Digital dictation also reduced background noise and improved sound quality. Medical Transcriptionists are workers who benefit from advances in these recording techniques. The Bureau of Labor Statistics describes Medical transcriptionists as those that listen to dictated recordings made by physicians and transcribe them into medical reports. This work usually requires a headset, foot pedals to control audio and a computer program used to key in text.

Advantages of machine transcription equipment

According to Shorthand, there are several advantages in using transcription equipment. One is that while a dictator talks into a machine, the transcriber can do other tasks, thereby increasing productivity. Also, a transcription machine records a a voice accurately, no matter how quickly it speaks. And once information is recorded, it can be accessed and transcribed by any available worker, making work more flexible.


Although machine transcription offers advantages, old fashioned techniques have their place. According to Shorthand, a human writer/transcriber knows when she's failing to record information, whereas the dictator using a machine may not be aware of a recording problem, such as dead batteries or mechanical failure, until he is finished dictating. Also, if something in a recording does not make sense, the writer can point this out, while the recording provides no answers to the transcriber when content is questionable. Transcription equipment also captures everything being recorded, while a live person knows what information is important to dictate.


Michael Staton began contributing professionally to several papers in South Carolina during 2005. He writes for "Upstate Be" magazine, covering local bands and writing his own weekly Internet column. He is also co-editor of a service industry magazine called "Industry." Staton holds a Bachelor of Arts in media studies from the College of Charleston.

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