Skills Medical Transcriptionist in the Southeast Region

Find out what skills you typically need to work as a medical transcriptionist in Canada. These skills are applicable to all Court reporters, medical transcriptionists and related occupations (NOC 1251).

Essential skills

See how the 9 essential skills apply to this occupation. This section will be updated soon.

ReadingCourt Recorders and Medical Transcriptionists
  • Read e-mail and notes from co-workers, customers and colleagues. For example, court reporters read e-mail in which lawyers request copies of transcripts. Medical transcriptionists may read physicians' notes about edits to transcripts. (1)
  • Read entries in dictionaries and glossaries. For example, stenographers in legislatures read entries in the Hansard Dictionary to check terms specific to published transcripts of parliamentary proceedings. Medical transcriptionists may read entries in medical dictionaries to use correct names for medical conditions. They scan sections of the Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties to find accurate spellings of prescription drug names. (2)
  • May read descriptions of equipment such as stenotypes and stenomasks in catalogues, brochures and advertisements. (2)
Medical Transcriptionists
  • Read text entries in medical records and reports. For example, medical transcriptionists may skim reports of medical exams such as ultrasounds and angiograms to ensure they use the correct names for medical equipment and procedures. (2)
Court Recorders
  • May read sections of their transcripts aloud to all parties present in courtrooms. (2)
  • Read manuals and guidebooks. For example, house and court reporters may read sections of language manuals and guidebooks such as The Canadian Style: A Guide to Writing and Editing, Hansard Style Guide and Le Ramat de la typographie to verify recommendations for punctuation and proper formatting. (3)
  • May read statutes, laws and case synopses. For example, court reporters may read case laws to verify the accuracy of quotes cited during court proceedings. They may scan lengthy case synopses to find accurate spellings of names of witnesses and defendants. (3)
Document use
  • Locate data on signs and labels. For example, court recorders may locate identification numbers on signs for court and hearing rooms. They may scan labels on recording equipment to locate names and icons for ports and microphone jacks. Medical transcriptionists may identify patients' names on file labels. (1)
  • Locate data in lists and schedules. For example, stenotype operators check the meanings of keystrokes in lists on their stenotypes and scan transcript indexes. Court reporters may locate case reference numbers in court dockets. Medical transcriptionists may locate barcodes and priority ratings for medical exams in lists of machine dictations. Senate reporters locate names and locations of committee meetings in weekly schedules. (2)
  • Enter data into lists and tables. For example, stenotype operators enter new words into stenotype dictionaries. Medical transcriptionists may enter types of documents and numbers of lines and documents transcribed into summary tables and log sheets at the end of their shifts. (2)
  • Locate data in entry forms. For example, court stenographers may locate business names and addresses in business registry summary forms. Medical transcriptionists may scan priority transcription forms to locate dates, times and names of doctors and procedures. (2)
  • Complete forms. For example, court recorders enter reference numbers and names of courts, districts, judges, plaintiffs, witnesses and legal representatives into transcript header templates. Medical transcriptionists may enter medical exam barcodes and dictated notes about patients' symptoms and medical procedures into electronic transcription forms. (3)
WritingMedical Transcriptionists
  • Write brief notes to co-workers. For example, they write notes to physicians to flag incomprehensible words in machine dictations. (1)
  • Write and edit text entries in medical records and reports. They transcribe texts from machine dictation and rough notes into medical reports and records. They edit transcripts carefully to ensure the accuracy of entries and the proper spelling of names, places, addresses, dates, medical conditions and treatments. (3)
Court Recorders
  • Write e-mail and notes to co-workers, colleagues, customers and service providers. For example, court stenographers may write e-mail to inform co-workers and subcontractors of progress on transcripts. Hansard reporters may write brief notes to ask legislative representatives to specify the spelling of unfamiliar names and technical terms. (2)
  • Transcribe audio recordings and the proceedings of courts and legislatures. For example, court recorders write every word they hear, including interjections. They edit transcripts by removing some repetitions, stutters and poor grammar to balance the readability and integrity of final versions. They may remove witnesses' false starts and interjections from transcripts of court proceedings when they determine the full meanings of testimonies are not changed. (3)

Measurement and Calculation Math

Court Recorders
  • May calculate times spent at job tasks using watches and clocks. For example, official stenographers calculate times for job tasks by subtracting start from stop times. (1)
Data Analysis
  • May collect and analyze data which describe their productivity. For example, medical transcriptionists may calculate numbers of lines in completed transcripts and numbers of dictations transcribed. Court recorders may calculate average times of transcriptions of live court proceedings. They may compare these productivity statistics to performance targets. (3)

Numerical Estimation

Court Recorders and Medical Transcriptionists
  • Estimate times needed to accomplish job tasks using past experience and occupational standards as guides. For example, court recorders estimate times needed to prepare transcripts for pre-trial examinations using established ratios of hours of recording to hours of transcription. Medical transcriptionists may estimate times to transcribe machine dictation sessions. (1)
Court Recorders
  • May estimate lengths of transcripts using past experience and occupational standards as guides. For example, they may estimate the lengths of transcripts in pages using standards such as pages per hour of recorded comments and proceedings. (1)
Oral communicationCourt Recorders and Medical Transcriptionists
  • Speak to co-workers, colleagues and customers about ongoing work. For example, court recorders may ask lawyers for their preferences concerning formats and due dates for finished transcripts. Medical transcriptionists may ask co-workers to identify barely audible words in machine dictations. (1)
  • Listen to live proceedings and recordings to verify comprehensibility, transcribe and sometimes repeat speech verbatim. For example, court recorders may listen to live court proceedings through head phones to ensure that each of several microphones in service captures comprehensible speech. They may speak in low voices into stenomasks to repeat and record everything they hear during court and legislative proceedings. They must follow the meaning of proceedings carefully so that they can accurately record what was said. Medical transcriptionists listen carefully to machine dictations made by physicians to transcribe their words accurately. They must recognize specialized medical terms and decode various accents. (3)
Court Recorders
  • Discuss technical matters and professional trends and issues with co-workers, colleagues and suppliers. For example, court recorders may discuss the quality of various digital recorders with suppliers. They may exchange opinions with colleagues on the advantages and drawbacks of switching to new recording techniques such as voice-recognition software and stenotypes. Francophone court recorders may discuss the application of the most recent spelling reforms with co-workers and colleagues. (2)
  • May discuss matters of decorum and protocol with co-workers and participants during proceedings in courtrooms, tribunals and legislative assemblies. For example, court recorders may make formal requests to judges that witnesses on the stand speak louder and more clearly. (2)
  • May facilitate hearings and make brief presentations. For example, court recorders may lead legal proceedings in the absence of other official representatives of the court. They may swear-in witnesses and conduct examinations for discovery. They may explain their roles as official recorders of proceedings at board meetings and in general assemblies. (3)

Problem Solving

Court Recorders and Medical Transcriptionists
  • Cannot understand words spoken during live proceedings and on audio recordings while transcribing. Speakers may have strong accents and speak too softly and incoherently. Background noise may also hinder hearing and understanding. Court recorders may interrupt court proceedings to ask speakers to speak more clearly. During court recesses, they may ask judges to request that lawyers paraphrase words spoken by witnesses with strong accents. Reporters at committee meetings may obtain printed copies of speeches to facilitate their understanding of words spoken by witnesses. Medical transcriptionists replay audio recordings several times, at varying speeds and volumes, and request second opinions from co-workers to help decipher words. They may check to see that probable interpretations match the specific medical contexts. (2)
  • Are unable to meet deadlines. For example, self-employed court recorders and medical transcriptionists may find they are unable to fill rush requests for transcription on time. They may call colleagues and subcontractors to see if they can assist. (2)
Court Recorders
  • May encounter words absent from stenotype dictionaries during live proceedings. Stenotype operators may add the missing words to their dictionaries during breaks. They may also listen later for the missing words on backup audio recordings. (1)
  • Experience failures of computers and recording systems during live proceedings in courtrooms, hearings and legislative assemblies. For example, stenographers may find their stenotypes fail during legal examinations. They inform lawyers and call recesses to attempt to rectify malfunctions. They may check their backup equipment to ensure they are recording reliably and request that their notes be recorded only. (2)

Decision Making

Court Recorders
  • Choose times to interrupt live proceedings to verify what was said. For example, court recorders may decide to interrupt witnesses in court who speak too quietly. They choose times when interruptions will not disrupt the flow of the proceedings. (1)
  • May decide to call legal proceedings to order and suspend examinations for discovery. For example, court recorders may declare short recesses when lawyers berate each other and degrade the integrity of the proceedings. They may decide to suspend proceedings when they consider the behaviour of the accused to be intimidating for some witnesses. (2)
Critical Thinking
  • Assess the readability and accuracy of transcripts. For example, court reporters may verify the accuracy of transcripts by checking transcriptions against original records of proceedings. They may also verify the accuracy of rulings by checking with judges. Medical transcriptionists may infer that important data such as patients' transfers between health institutions are missing and correct these omissions. They proofread transcripts for errors in spelling and dates, and to ensure texts are complete. They may mark incomprehensible words as missed. They use alternate words and phrases, and make minor edits to add clarity. They may also correct grammar when they can ensure that the integrity of the original meaning is not diminished. (2)

Job Task Planning and Organizing

Court recorders and medical transcriptionists receive work assignments from supervisors, secretary-receptionists, customers and automated systems. They have little latitude to determine priorities. They work with few interruptions during court and legislative proceedings. They may occasionally be interrupted by co-workers and customers who provide information and opinions as they transcribe from recorded texts. (1)

Significant Use of Memory
  • Remember the spelling of names and technical terms to increase their transcription speed and accuracy. For example, house reporters remember the names and ridings of parliamentary members. Medical transcriptionists remember the correct spelling of medical symptoms, conditions, procedures, equipment and pharmaceuticals.
  • Memorize keyboard shortcuts and macros when using stenotypes and word processing software. For example, for more rapid transcription, they remember keyboard shortcuts and macros for frequently used names, terms and phrases.
Finding Information
  • Find information needed to verify the accuracy of transcripts. For example, they search for details such as the spelling of trade names, hearing dates, witnesses' quotes, legal citations, medical conditions, therapeutic procedures and generic names for pharmaceutical products. They consult co-workers and customers, and search in specialized on-line dictionaries, directories, legal and medical databases, casebooks, reference manuals, maps and websites. (2)
Digital technology
  • Use databases. For example, court recorders may conduct searches for quotes and legal rulings in legal databases such as CanLII and Quick Law. Medical transcriptionists may access patients' medical history in integrated databases such as RadImage. (2)
  • Use communication software. For example, they exchange e-mail about work assignments and send attachments to customers, co-workers and service providers. They may also receive letters, memos and news bulletins from co-workers and colleagues by e-mail. (2)
  • Use the Internet. For example, they use the Internet to access on-line dictionaries, maps, telephone and business directories, and legal and medical databases. They conduct keyword searches using search engines such as Google in order to find accurate spellings and definitions of words. (2)
  • Use word processing software. For example, they enter legal and medical transcriptions into templates using programs such as Word and WordPerfect. They may edit transcripts using spell-check functions, format margins and add line numbers, headers and footers. Court recorders may create tables of contents, indexes and transcription macros, and import templates from specialized transcription software such as ChartScript. (3)
  • Use other computer and software applications. For example, they may use transcription software such as the The Record Player to control the playback of digitally recorded notes. Court reporters may use stenographic software applications such as Case CATalyst to enter notes, and transfer and translate recorded text from stenographs to text files. They also prepare templates, update transcription dictionaries and transfer texts to readable formats for their clients. Medical transcriptionists may use medical transcription software such as ChartScript and Dictaphone Enterprise Speech System to access lists of dictations to transcribe, select appropriate templates and obtain daily reports on numbers and types of documents transcribed. (3)
Additional informationOther Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Court recorders and medical transcriptionists coordinate job tasks with small numbers of co-workers and colleagues. For example, house reporters in legislative assemblies coordinate job tasks with transcriptionists and editors. Freelance court recorders may work with scopists to deliver high quality transcripts. They occasionally train new recorders and transcriptionists. (2)

Continuous Learning

Court recorders and medical transcriptionists update their knowledge of legal and medical terminology, and typographic practices by consulting co-workers, colleagues, dictionaries, directories, guidebooks and websites regularly. They may be required to attend workplace training sessions for new computer systems. Court recorders may read memos, newsletters and manuals and attend conferences to maintain current knowledge of procedures, products, trends and important debates in their profession.

Labour Market Information Survey
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