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Dictation Tips – How to get best results from your audio typist

Helpful Tips. KeyboardYou have dictated a letter/document and it comes back to you typed perfectly. All you have to do is sign and send it. Sound familiar? If so, you’ve cracked it. If not, you may need to consider these dictation tips… read on.

I have encountered some interesting recording styles in my 30 years: the microphone so close you can hear breathing; eating, drinking, driving, stuttering, shouting and even cleaning their teeth (it’s true!).

When you type regularly for a client, you become used to their voice speed, idiosyncrasies, phrasing, etc, to the point where you second guess a missed word or meaning.

In a self-employed environment where you rarely type up sound files from the same people, things are more demanding – we’re getting to know each other!

Whether you’ve dictated before or are new to it, it’s useful to have some guidelines. Take a fresh look at the tips below to enhance your dictaphone skills, get value for money and ensure your typing comes back perfect and error free:


  • Speak clearly (don’t mumble), with the microphone not too close to your mouth
  • But at the same time, not too far away so it picks up background noises like aircon, photocopiers, TV, music, noise when driving, washing machines and children playing (to name a few!)
  • Ensure people introduce themselves and are near the microphone
  • Provide a list of speakers if possible
  • Start recording before the meeting to avoid missing speech
  • Let us know if you like things to be in a certain format/font
  • Provide templates if necessary
  • Let us know if you would like capital letters for certain things, e.g. Report, Deed
  • Spell out difficult words, products, place names etc.
  • Consider the purpose of the transcript. How is it to be typed:

verbatim (includes every spoken word, false starts, repeated words, stutters and ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’);

intelligent verbatim (excludes false starts, repeated words, stutters, ‘ums’ and ‘ahs); or

edited (converted from spoken to written English so it flows properly, to include correct grammar, no false starts, repeated words, stutters and ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’)



Put these dictation tips in to practice and you’ll end up with your documents typed perfectly, every time!