Now and then we have a day that is just moving along great. The dictations we get are easy, the dictator speaks clearly and at a nice even pace, and we are truly “in the zone.” We begin to feel really good about our day and how it is going. Surely today will be the day that you have an awesome line count and are highly productive. And then, ZAP!
Enter the difficult dictation! You know the one. The doctor speaks 110 miles an hour, slurs words, and it’s hard to make any sense of it. Or maybe it’s that dictator with the accent, the one you can NEVER understand. We continue on, though, because that’s what we do. When you get to the end of the report, you go back to review. Maybe it’s not as bad as you felt. You still have 15 blanks. So much for being in the zone, right?
Those difficult dictations can turn our entire day around, but only if we let it. Much better is to make up your mind to master the tough ones. I had a doctor once years ago who was pretty difficult. He came from Pakistan and his accent was just one I could not get. I had all but given up until I realized that I had literally convinced myself I would never be able to do it. Once I focused on mastering him, it did get easier, although he was always a bit of a challenge.
Each MT needs to develop a system that works for them with the difficult dictators. Maybe you go through the entire report and leave blanks where you are stuck, coming back to relisten at the end. Maybe you set a rule of how long you will try to get something before you send it to QA for help. There’s no right or wrong answer here, everyone has their own system. What is important is finding a system that works for you and using it to make things easier.
The important thing is that you keep trying! In the end, you can master these kind of dictations just like you did the easy ones when you first started out. Thomas Fuller was quoted as saying “All things are difficult before they become easy.” This is no different!
What tips can you share with others on how you handle the difficult dictations? What have you found that works really well?