Transcription Machines – Why You Need One

Transcription machines are typically used by businesses and professionals to transcribe audio or video recordings of meetings, interviews, and other events. They can be a helpful tool for anyone needing an accurate, written record of what was said.

Several types of machines are available, so selecting the best transcription equipment and the right tools that best meet your needs is highly important.

This guide will help you select the best machine for your needs.

What is a Transcription Machine?

Transcription machines can be divided into two subsets: automatic and manual.

A manual transcription machine requires a transcriptionist to listen to the spoken words and type them onto a document. Conversely, an automatic machine uses speech recognition software to convert the audio into text. Even though both methods use digital dictation when performing comparative analyses between the two, manual transcription fares better than automated transcription. As a result, the manual transcriber is often preferred for legal, law enforcement, and medical transcription applications.

The History of Transcription & Dictation Machine

Edison phonograph transcription machines

The first transcription machines were created in the late 1800s, more commonly known as dictation machines. This early dictation machine with a built-in microphone was used to record speech for playback. Later, using manual transcription, the audio was transcribed onto paper. The first commercial dictation machine for manual transcription was released in 1877. This machine was called the Phonograph and was designed by Thomas Edison.

The Phonograph was followed by several other transcription machines, including the Dictaphone and the Stenograph. These machines allowed people to transcribe audio recordings more quickly and accurately.

Transcription machines continued to evolve throughout the 20th century. In the 1978s, electric typewriters began to replace manual typewriters as the preferred type of transcription machine. And in the 1980s, personal computers became powerful enough to be used for transcription purposes.

The Benefits of Using a Transcription Machine

There are many benefits to using transcription machines, as they offer features that make transcribing data more manageable and efficient. For example, thanks to digital dictation, we can control playback speed, rewind and fast-forward through recordings, jump rates, pause, and resume transcription.

In addition, these machines can often be operated hands-free, which is beneficial when transcribing long or difficult recordings.

For example, with a transcription machine, medical transcriptionists can quickly transcribe audio files of patient information and interviews. This is a time-saving tool that can help to improve accuracy and efficiency in the workplace.

Automated transcription can create text versions of lectures, making it helpful for students who have difficulty taking notes by hand or for anyone who wants to have a written record of a lecture or presentation.

And in the legal field, court reporters use them to create verbatim transcripts of court proceedings, and law firms use them to transcribe interviews and depositions. Furthermore, paralegals and legal assistants often use these machines to create witness testimony summaries or transcribe general dictation from their bosses.

Using a machine can save time and money for any business professional. However, if accuracy is essential, we recommend using human transcriptionists for the best results. They have the experience and expertise to ensure that your transcript is accurate and error-free.

The Different Types of Transcription Equipment

There are several types of transcription equipment available on the market today. Although many people have switched to digital forms of recording and playback, there are still a few holdouts who insist on using good old-fashioned cassette tapes. If you are working with clients who rely on traditional transcription equipment, you’ll need to use an old-fashioned approach. The old-fashioned transcription equipment is user-friendly. It comes with several parts, though.

Microcassette Transcriber

Microcassette transcribers are essential for anyone who needs to capture audio recordings and convert them into written text. This machine is small, portable, and looks like a cassette player. It is ideal for use in various settings as it’s a simple piece of equipment. For example, in medical transcription, a doctor might record his findings. 

Microcassette transcribers work by playing back audio recordings at a slow speed so that they can be transcribed accurately. A transcriber can complete the process manually or with the help of software that converts the audio into text.

There are several benefits to using a microcassette tape transcriber, including the ability to create accurate transcriptions, the machine’s portability, and the equipment’s affordability. With so many benefits, it’s no wonder that micro-cassette transcribers are still very popular.

Foot Pedal

An ergonomic foot pedal is an essential part of transcription equipment. The ergonomic design makes it easy to control the machine and ensure accuracy. Transcriptionists use a foot pedal to start and stop recordings. Doing so keeps their hands free so that they can type.

Pair of Headphones

You’ll need a set of comfortable headphones to listen to your recordings for long periods. Some people also prefer earbuds, but we highly recommend headphones.


You can’t type without a computer. For most transcription jobs, you must be familiar with using Microsoft Word. Also, you must be able to use this software quickly and efficiently.

A Keyboard

We recommend using a high-quality mechanical keyboard to prevent pain and injury to your hands and wrists, as in this profession, typing speed matters. So, a comfortable keyboard is a must, as it’s perfect for increasing typing speed significantly.

Digital Transcription Equipment

Digital transcription equipment is essential for anyone who needs to transcribe audio files in 2022. Without it, you would be stuck transcribing with traditional equipment, which is a tedious and time-consuming process. The right set of transcription equipment allows you to quickly and easily transcribe. Many different types of digital transcription equipment are available, each with its own features. Some machines are designed for general use, while others are specifically designed for medical or legal transcription.

Many options are available if you are looking for a general-use digital machine. These machines typically have basic features that allow you to transcribe audio files easily. 

Computer requirements

If you’re looking to get into the transcription business, you’ll need a good computer. Here are the minimum requirements:

  • A processor speed of at least 2.5 GHz
  • At least 8 GB of RAM
  • Multiple USB ports.
  • Windows 7 or higher, or Mac OS X 10.6 or higher
  • 250 GB of Harddrive space
  • Microsoft Word or a similar word processor

With these minimum requirements, you’ll be able to install your software and start transcribing audio files. However, for best results, we recommend upgrading your processor speed to 3 GHz or higher and increasing your RAM to 16 GB or more.

Dual Monitors for Transcription

In the world of transcription, having two monitors is becoming increasingly popular. This is simple: it allows transcriptionists to simultaneously see the audio they are transcribing and the text they are creating.

There are a few different ways to set up dual monitors for transcription. The most popular method is to use one monitor for the audio player and the other for the word processor. This allows transcriptionists to have all the tools they need right in front of them, making it easier to transcribe accurately and quickly.

Another popular method is to use one monitor for the word document and another for a web browser. This allows transcriptionists to research words or phrases that they don’t understand while still being able to listen to the audio.

No matter which method you choose, having dual monitors for transcription can significantly increase your accuracy and efficiency.

High-Speed Internet Connection

For many people who use these machines, high-speed internet is a necessity, not a luxury. It allows them to download and transmit video and audio files fast.

Transcription software

There are many different types of transcription software available on the market. Here is a look at some of the features that you should consider when choosing which is suitable for you:

Ease of use: The software should be easy to use and understand, even if you are not tech-savvy.

Accuracy: The software should be able to transcribe accurately, so you don’t have to waste time correcting errors.

Speed: The software should be able to transcribe quickly to complete your work promptly.

Compatibility: The software should be compatible with your computer and operating system.

Olympus AS-9000 Transcription System

The Olympus AS-9000 Transcription System works best with Olympus DS Series Digital Recorders. It features 4 button foot controller, headset, and next-generation software.

Legal and medical professionals requiring security will appreciate that the Olympus AS-9000 transcription system offers 256-bit AES Encryption. For example, the AS 9100 can playback encrypted files from Olympus digital recorders, which cannot be done with third-party transcription software. 

Why Should I Hire a Transcriptionist When I Can Use AI?

You might want to hire a transcriptionist instead of using AI for a few reasons.

Thanks to improvements in voice recognition, AI transcription has become more popular in recent years but, it is still not as accurate as a human transcriber. This is especially true if the audio quality is poor or there are multiple speakers.

Second, AI software can be expensive to purchase and maintain, while hiring a transcriptionist is usually less expensive.

Finally, a human transcriber can provide value beyond just transcribing words. They can also add context and notes that can be helpful later on.

Ditto Specializes In Business Transcription

All sizes and types of businesses rely on Ditto Transcripts for their transcription needs. We only use U.S.-based human transcriptionists who undergo a criminal background check before working on your vital audio and video files.

Ditto is HIPAA and CJIS-compliant, offers quick turnaround times, and custom transcription services. Contact us directly at (720) 287-3710 or email our management team at [email protected].

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Ditto Transcripts is a U.S.-based HIPAA and CJIS compliant company with experienced U.S. transcriptionists. Learn how we can help with your next project!