These days physical media is a rarity, and this prompted me to consider how transcription would have been conducted before, during and after the era of physical media. Transcription in general was a difficult job before the late 1960s, as a secretary would have to be at the location of the person/people who needed this service. Shorthand was obviously favoured and then written/typed up after the fact.
How Physical Media Changed Transcription
The introduction of cassette tapes and portable recorders revolutionised the world of transcription. Transcribers could be posted the cassette tape and could work in a location of their choosing and for multiple clients. Cassette tapes had their own inherent issues though; price to produce on mass, damage to the spools/cases, lack of support, and obviously, security due to numerous ways in which data integrity could be compromised.
The Digital Age
We then stepped into the digital era, with Sony releasing the PCM-501ES digital audio device in 1984, and variants from other companies following, allowing the general public to record digital audio, which could then be stored on VHS or Betamax. This trend would continue until the release of optical disc solutions, which reduced the space requirement of multiple cassette tapes and allowed for hundreds of hours of dictation to be stored on computer hard drives or multiple compact discs. Similar problems faced transcription with optical discs as with cassette tapes, especially when talking about cost and data integrity.
The Internet Revolution
A third transcription revolution occurred in the early 2000s, when the internet became a mainstream business tool. Dictations could be recorded on a digital voice recorder, uploaded to a PC, and sent via e-mail to anybody worldwide. These files could be edited easily, and playback changed and adapted on the fly to suit the transcriber. Accuro, established in early 2003 as an in-house transcription company, recognised this trend and pushed forwards with online transcription, a simple e-mailing transcription service that served Accuro and its clients well for many years.
Accuro have adapted to meet the needs of the end user, and the introduction of Accuro Online in 2008 was our first step in this evolution. A website which allows dictations to be uploaded to with a high level of encryption (ensuring data integrity), which are then transcribed by a transcriber with relevant experience who would log in to the same portal, before being edited by an in-house editor and made available again for the client to download.
This then evolved into an application called Accuro Express, which now makes transcription easier than ever for the end user and our transcribers. A simple drag and drop application that streamlines the transcription process for all parties involved.