Peer to Peer Magazine

March 2011

The quarterly publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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The dictation is not stored on a tape, but in digital format on a small secure digital (SD) or media card, much like those used in digital cameras. An attorney can remove the card and hand it to a transcriptionist, or more importantly, the recorder can be plugged into a PC or docking station without removing the card. The voice file would automatically download, so it can be transcribed. The Benefits of Digital Dictation Here are a few of the advantages that digital dictation offers to law firms: • There is no need for attorneys to carry blank tapes, or scramble to deliver dictated tapes to support staff. Digital recorders, tablet computers and smartphone applications give attorneys the ability to dictate on-the- go, and download files for transcription at their convenience. • Digital technology ensures that an attorney’s tablet computer or smartphone device can be used for dictation, eliminating the need to carry a separate piece of equipment. • Digital technology facilitates quick and secure file downloads from the recorder. This eliminates the cost of delivery services and the risk of damaged, erased or lost tapes. • Digital technology allows users to append supporting documents to the original dictation. For example, an attorney can attach relevant e-mail messages or correspondence. • Encryption allows law firms and individual users to restrict access to files, so the dictation remains secure — no matter where it is recorded or transmitted. • Digital downloads help speed workflow by eliminating any delay between the time dictation is complete and the time transcription can begin. Transcriptionists can easily see jobs marked as “priority,” and transcribe them first. Faster workflow frees up time for other mission- critical tasks. It may also allow firms to reduce the size of their transcription pool, or to use outsourced transcription services anywhere in the world. “Digital technology facilitates quick and secure file downloads from the recorder.” • Dictation files can be uploaded directly onto transcriptionists’ computers. They are automatically notified that a new job has arrived, and they can see the priority and status of all pending jobs. An onscreen “player” allows the transcriber to use the PC as a transcription tool. • Files are identified by author name, date, client name or other data, making them easy to identify and track. • Clearer sound quality improves productivity and turnaround time, as well as the accuracy of the transcription. • Some digital recorders offer barcode scanners and voice command functionality. These features allow attorneys to automatically incorporate demographic information — like client ID or work type — into the files. In addition to improving accuracy and enhancing security, these features also make it easier to identify and retrieve files. A Word About Voice Recognition One of the features available with digital dictation and document-creation technology is voice recognition. It is a technology that has been on the market for a long time, but it has not gained widespread adoption. Voice recognition presents many additional advantages, but it is important for attorneys to understand precisely what the technology offers — and doesn’t offer — before deciding to incorporate it into a dictation system. Attorneys must recognize the differences between voice processing and voice recognition. Most systems today use voice processing — a file is recorded, and a transcriptionist listens to it, transcribes it and processes it. Voice recognition, on the other hand, converts the spoken word directly into written text. Transcriptionists do not need to key in every word; instead, they serve as “editors.” They review the transcription while listening to the dictation to catch inadvertent errors. Voice recognition can be added to digital systems for an additional cost, but can represent a significant time savings. While digital technology does not require the use of voice recognition, newer digital technology allows it to be added easily. In fact, some digital systems use the industry- standard Digital Speech Standard (DSS) voice file format, which automatically renders digital dictation files “voice-recognition- ready” so users can add this functionality at any time. Peer to Peer the quarterly magazine of ILTA 85

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