A transcription machine, or transcriber, is very simple to use. and includes a headset, software and foot pedal. The headset is important for clarity of listening. In addition to blocking outside noises, it helps to keep confidentiality. Transcription software is important because it allows the transcriptionist to start, stop, rewind and fast forward within an individual audio clip. Software can be used operated using shortcuts on the keyboard or by controlling playback with an electronic foot pedal which plugs into the USB port of the computer.
In the past, doctors generally dictated on micro tapes or regular cassette tapes, while a few physicians use "mini" tapes (A mini tape is similar to a micro tape, but shaped slightly different).
Some of the larger medical transcription services offer "call-in" systems. Physicians can dial a number and dictate over the phone, directly into a recording system at the transcription service. These systems are often digital with many incoming lines. Some systems allow the transcriptionists to access from their home, take the dictation off the call-in system, and then return it via the Internet to the service's main office.
Today, many doctors use electronic dictation machines, and upload the transcription to a server via secure FTP. Typists download the files and transcribe them on their computer using an electronic foot pedal.
For Windows OS, we like the GearPlayer software (foot pedal is an optional add-on)
For Mac OS, we like the All n' One Transcription Kit