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Those of you who have been around for as long as I have will definitely remember when the internet became such an important part of our working lives and particularly whilst working at McGowan Transcriptions.

Even whilst writing this blog, I have just nipped online to see when the internet was first available – August 1991 (26 years ago)!

So, back in the early noughties, the big day finally arrived when I had broadband installed and it was with some trepidation that I turned on my PC and started to explore the big World Wide Web (whatever that was!).

I had thought to myself that I wouldn’t really need it – why would I when I had been working all this time without it?! I still had my old faithful hardback, Oxford Dictionary, Roget’s Thesaurus and various grammar books where I could check spellings and punctuation. I always made sure I read a newspaper daily to keep up to date with what was happening in the world because you never knew what subject matter would be researched next.

Even in my personal life, I had no idea how much I would depend on it and that it would be something I would look at and use every single day.

It didn’t take me long to realise that I literally could not produce an accurate transcript without the internet! It was only when broadband wasn’t working that I noticed how many times I wanted to check something on the internet, whether it be places, names, products, acronyms, titles, brands, languages, currencies, the list is endless. It is amazing how useful it is and it means we can produce transcripts which contain all the correct names, et cetera.

The Oxford Dictionary online is now my best friend and not the battered old dictionary that used to sit on my desk! So much time would be wasted flicking through pages trying to find an obscure word that you had never heard of before whereas now the word immediately pops up on my screen which means we can produce more transcripts much quicker.

As time has gone on, broadband speeds have got faster and faster, which makes life even better for us as transcribers when we’re trying to produce a transcript on a topic which we have little or no knowledge of. We can now do our own research and read about a topic online and then pass on that knowledge to other members of the McGowan Transcriptions team who are working on the same project.

Transcribing medical interviews can be particularly challenging especially when health professionals are talking about diseases and medications, and this is where the internet comes into its own. There is so much information available online with lists of brand names, side effects, pharmaceutical company names, medical trials, which all help us to decipher those sometimes baffling medical terms!

Another favourite of mine was the project about tractors! Those long-standing members of the team who also worked on that project will, no doubt, still remember those. By the end of that project, I was an expert on agricultural machinery and I don’t know how I could have done that work without the internet.

So, thank you, internet, for making my life as a transcriber working with McGowan Transcriptions so much easier and ensuring that we can produce accurate and good quality transcripts for our clients no matter what the subject matter.

Shelly Tarling – September 2017