A foot pedal is a tool most often used by transcriptionists who transcribe dictation. It usually resides under the desk, and the transcriptionist will press on the foot pedal with their foot to start, stop, pause or rewind the recording.
A transcriptionist without a foot pedal will need to use the mouse to stop the recording, to rewind it 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 workflow, and makes it more difficult to catch every word. Most transcriptionists find a foot pedal to be an invaluable time-saving device when compared to the alternatives.
Instead, the foot pedal allows the transcriptionist to manipulate the recording as needed without ever needing to take their 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.
Foot pedals come in two basic formats, analog and digital. Tape transcribers and direct wired/dial-up transcription machines use the analog style foot pedal. The digital foot pedal connects to the computer, typically through a USB port. Analog foot pedals use micro switches that are operated by the individual pedals located on the foot pedal platform. Most pedals have three pedals with one large center platform for the play/stop function and two smaller pedals located on the right and left side of the main pedal. These provide for rewind and fast forward functions.
The analog transcribe machine has circuitry that takes the various changes in voltage level applied to the inputs and use those to determine what the user wants the machine to do.
The digital foot pedal connects to the computer, typically through a USB port. The foot pedal may look the same as an analog pedal on the outside but the difference in inside the pedal and not visible without taking things apart. The digital foot pedal has a small circuit board that takes the changes in switch position and converts them into 1s and 0s that are then sent by way of the USB port to the transcription software on the computer.
Finding the right foot control
Begin a list of important information about your transcriber or computer including the transcriber manufacturer and model number or in the case of a PC whether it is a Mac or Windows PC.
Step 1 – Transcriber
Examine the connector port usually found on the back of the unit. Make a note of the type of connector. If you already have a foot pedal and it needs to be replaced, then look for identifying names and numbers on the bottom or back.
Step 2 – PC
Determine what software you are or will be using for transcription as the software often determines which foot pedal is will work with. Most new software will work with a USB or serial (9-pin) connected pedals. Some older software supported the game port (15-pin). Most computers five years old or newer will have USB ports.
Step 3 – Consult
Visit TranscriptionGear.Com and look for a foot pedal that is designed for use with your specific application. Match the replacement foot pedal to your current pedal by looking at the pictures and descriptions. If you are unsure which pedal is the right one, call the Product Specialist Team at (888) 834-2392 Option 1, and they can help you determine the proper pedal.