A digital foot pedal is a tool most often used by transcriptionists who transcribe dictation. The digital foot pedal will connect to the computer, typically through a USB port. It will then rest under the desk, and the transcriptionist may tap the foot pedal in order to start, stop, or pause the recording, as well as to increase or decrease the speed at which it is playing. Most transcriptionists find foot pedals to be invaluable, time-saving devices.
Transcriptionists generally work with medical or legal practitioners who frequently record dictation, but do not have time to transcribe it. Instead, a transcriptionist will receive the dictation, and will be responsible for accurately typing the notes or reports. Often, transcriptionists have very short deadlines, and need the ability to work quickly. This is where a digital foot pedal becomes helpful.
Once the foot pedal is attached to the computer, it may be used with virtually any transcription software program. A transcriptionist without a foot pedal will need to use the mouse to stop the recording, to rewind it in order to listen more closely, or to slow down the pace of the recording if it is difficult to understand. Every time he or she needs to do this, she will need to take her hands off the keyboard and click the mouse, which interrupts work flow, and makes it more difficult to catch every word.
Instead, the digital foot pedal allows the transcriptionist to manipulate the recording as needed without ever needing to take her hands off the keyboard; these devices generally work by simply allowing the transcriptionist to tap different areas of the pedal for different commands. This helps to improve accuracy and save time, both of which may make the client more likely to hire the same transcriptionist again. Though some transcriptionists do work with companies, many are freelance workers, and it is especially important to consistently deliver satisfactory work, as they are often paid by the word.
In addition to a digital foot pedal, a high-quality transcription headset as well as a comfortable keyboard and well-positioned monitor are all important investments for transcriptionists. The headset prevents the transcriptionist from having to rely on the computer speakers. As someone who sits at a computer all day, it is important for a transcriptionist to be ergonomically comfortable as well, and foot pedals can assist with this. Digital food pedals may be slightly expensive, and often need to be ordered online, but many people consider them to be worth the investment.