One of the most common questions prospective transcriptionists ask us is "Do I need a foot pedal to transcribe?" Truthfully, no, you don't. In fact, one of our best transcriptionists never uses a foot pedal. We personally prefer using one and honestly believe you're making life harder without one, but it's up to you to decide what works best for your needs. If you opt not to use a foot pedal, you'll need to set up hotkeys on your keyboard, which we'll be discussing more in a future blog post.
If you're like us though and you believe a foot pedal is a necessary tool for efficient transcription, consider your options carefully. Some cost more with little added benefit, while others will simply leave you frustrated. Our top choices for audio transcription foot pedals include:
1) Infinity USB Digital Foot Control with Computer plug (IN-USB2) - This is our number one foot pedal recommendation for both new and experienced transcriptionists, and it's the same foot pedal we've used for many years too. In 2008 our founder began using the Infinity foot pedal, and to this day it's still the same one we recommend. It's by no means the flashiest option, but it is much more affordable than other options. Despite being cheaper than other brands, it simply works, and it has never given us a problem (knock on wood). The Infinity foot pedal is also highly compatible; it works with Express Scribe and other transcription media players, and it works with both Macs and PCs; many brands will not work with Macs, so be mindful of this when you make your purchase. For just $49 as of this writing, Infinity is the most cost efficient and effective option.
2) Philips ACC2330 4-Pedal Customizable Anti-Slip Foot Control for Digital Systems - This foot pedal from Philips is one of the most expensive options, but its design is also one of the most ergonomic. According to the product description, its design came from researching the movements that occur during the transcription process. The pedal inclines gently from the center, allowing the transcriptionist to make an easy and smooth transition between the various functions. For example, you can stop and start with just a slight movement of your heel. By removing the need to lift one's foot, the Philips foot pedal increases the efficiency of the transcriptionist while simultaneously decreasing physical strain and discomfort. If you're looking for a high-end foot pedal that may prove more ergonomic and comfortable than most, consider the Philips brand.
3) Vpedal Wireless Transcription Foot Pedal, 3 Function - Perhaps the most unique option, the Vpedal stands out from the crowd due to its wireless nature. While other foot pedals will annoy you with their USB cords, the Vpedal has a modern look and feel that leaves you untethered and unchained. Its wireless nature doesn't limit your options either; it's compatible with both Macs and PCs. Its downfall is akin to other wireless devices like wireless mice and keyboards; it's more expensive than its wired counterparts, and reviewers complain that over time it begins to freeze up and randomly disconnect from its wireless connection. For the super health conscious, it is worth mentioning that any wireless device may also expose you to unnecessary radiation. It's up to you to decide if these seemingly minor nuisances are worth the convenience of going wireless.
So there you have it, our top three choices for foot pedaling your way through a successful transcription. When in doubt we recommend the Infinity brand for its cost efficiency and effectiveness. Despite being cheaper, it works like a charm. The other two options are great if you're looking to get fancy, but they're certainly not necessary. Of course, other options are out there too, but be careful; some popular foot pedals like the Olympus foot pedal won't work with Express Scribe, which we encourage our transcriptionists to use.
What do you think? Is there a great foot pedal that we left off this list? Let us know in the comments below. Happy transcribing!