Articles filed under Digital dictation

At Quill, we’ve recently launched an outsourced typing service, called Quill Type, in association with Law Society-accredited Document Direct. Here’s why the new addition to our outsourcing portfolio has come about…

Outsourced typing services are gaining traction in legal circles as law firms alleviate the unmanageable demands upon their limited internal typing resources.

You see, it’s the very nature of law that means practices generate lots of paperwork. Each legal matter requires a series of correspondence and documentation between solicitor, client, barrister and court. Other organisations are often involved too, for example HM Revenue & Customs, Land Registry and estate agents in residential conveyancing cases. These third parties necessitate interaction, mostly via written methods.

Voice recognition by Dion Gillard

With contributions from Gordon Healiss, Norma Laming and Greig Duncan

When I set up my web page on Transcription several years ago, it all seemed rather straightforward. I described the methods of input and output, the speed of the transcription, the security of the process and the cost.

Now, the concept of transcription has developed many new strands, in which the original concept of a transcription service from an external company is still present, albeit with great improvements in the input and output process, but with alternative options now also available, including voice recognition as the method of input and a process of automatic document generation, now merging with concepts of artificial intelligence.

In this article, I present three key strands of this topic.

Digital dictation revolutionised the way in which a lawyer could manage his workload. No longer was there a need to manage tapes. There were still a number of limitations when working remotely as the need to transfer the dictation to the secretary meant that the lawyer had to be logged into the office remotely to send the file to the secretary. Even with this limitation, however, the turnaround time for dictations to be transcribed was greatly reduced.

I had first thought about getting voice recognition software as long ago as 1996, and while I had been impressed by the wizardry, I had not been impressed by the functionality.

Having kept an eye on the reviews since then, particularly those that appeared in PC Pro (in my experience it provides a balanced and sensible view of hardware and software), voice recognition software finally seemed to have become a functional and worthwhile product.

Digital dictation technology has been with us for nearly 15 years and we have seen a steady progression from cassette-based recorders to MP3 devices. It is surprising, however, that the uptake of the technology was so slow in the early years. Indeed, even now, dictation equipment suppliers say that there is a significant proportion of the legal profession that still choose the old mini- and micro-cassette recorders when it comes to placing new orders.

Voice recognition has progressed enormously from the early days when you had to spell everything using the phonetic alphabet, alpha, bravo, etc. It is now a very useful tool if used in the correct way.