Over the years, the usage of digital dictation equipment and speech recognition software has exploded in popularity. Many people work in environments where typing simply isn’t possible or efficient. For example, many doctors, surgeons, mechanics, and legal offices have taken to using digital dictation equipment to simplify and improve their workflow.

Medical practices all over the world are being encouraged with government grants and funding to switch over from traditional filing to Electronic Medical Records or EMRs. Implementing EMRs can be a lengthy and expensive process. Doctors typically find that typing out patient records simply takes too much time. Now, they use digital dictation equipment and voice recognition software to easily and accurately capture patient records.

Even high-performance military aircraft are using voice recognition technology to accomplish tasks such as safely commanding autopilot systems, setting and changing radio frequencies, and setting steering coordinates.

The latest innovation in speech recognition has come in the form of digital assistants on mobile phones, such as Apple’s iPhone. An assistant named Siri can listen to requests and offer suitable answers or tips. These types of pocket speech recognition are still in their infancy and have some way to go yet.

For some, this method of putting words onto a screen may seem like magic. But the process of saying words which automatically appear on a screen is a complex one that’s made easy through the power of high quality equipment and voice recognition software.

And while the software certainly does a lot of the visible work, it’s the equipment that makes it all happen.

In order to transmit our voice to a computer to be interpreted by voice recognition software, we must use a microphone. There is a huge variety of microphones out there for this very purpose, from small, affordable desktop microphones to high end, studio-quality mics.

What microphone you should use depends on your specific needs. Do you spend the majority of your day working with your hands? If so, a handheld microphone may not make sense for you. A headset option may work a lot better and free up your hands. If you typically work at a desk, a desk-mounted mic may be preferred. Whatever the case, it’s important to find a microphone that suits you best.


The voice recognition process begins with the aforementioned microphone. The user simply speaks/dictates what they want into the mic, which is turned on, connected to the computer via a USB cable for optimum sound quality, and connected to the voice recognition software.

As the words are spoken, they are transmitted as data from the microphone, to the computer where they are interpreted as sound waves. Those waves are then transmitted to the voice recognition software where the software’s speech algorithms will identify specific syllables and sounds as words. The software then displays the words you spoke as text on the screen.

It is important to ensure the text is being dictated in as clear a manner as possible. This means eliminating surrounding noise and background chatter and speaking in a clear manner. However, it is not always possible to achieve these two things. New and improved voice recognition software are beginning to make up for shortcomings like these.

For example, those using dictation equipment and voice recognition software in a busy medical clinic may find themselves surrounded by a great deal of noise that they aren't able to eliminate when dictating medical health records. In another example, someone may find it nearly impossible to avoid punctuating their speech with many "um" and "uh" sounds. New technology and software is making it easier for accurate dictation to take place despite setbacks such as these.

Some digital dictation systems include a pedal to use so that the microphone isn't always "listening". This way, the individual using the microphone and voice recognition software can pause between sentences and only press the pedal when they're ready to dictate more information.