Rogers Word Service began in 1983 as a purveyor of transcription, copy editing and proofreading services. As we continue provide those services in 2015, often for the same organizations for whom we worked in 1983, it is interesting to think about how the way we provide these services has changed over the past 30+ years. Transcription & editorial services has definitely undergone a "analog-to-digital" migration just as profound as the rest of society.
In 1983, the personal computers and Macs that are now commonplace did not exist. Our equipment array consisted of an IBM Displaywriter with an impact [mechanical] printer, several workstations, an array of standard, mini- and micro-tape recorders/playback units. Our transcripts had to be compatible with whatever word processing program our clients were using, whether it was WordStar, Multimate, Microsoft Word or any of another half-dozen word processing programs.
We also had a phone-in dictation machine that had a four-unit microcassette carrousel, with each tape holding up to 30 minutes of dictation. I used to think of it as a telephone-operated vending machine that dispensed low quality, unlabeled tapes that must be transcribed immediately.
Our 1983 client mix was comprised largely of film/video production and market research companies, governmental entities, broadcasters, writers, professional practices and academic institutions. The courier bill was often higher than our office rent because everything was on tape and had to be physically transferred from the client to us and then back to the client.
After 32+ years in the transcription and editorial services business, I still enjoy it. But please don't try to tell me about the good old days. Sure, things ain't what they used to be; they're much better now. And if I never see another microcassette to be transcribed, that's fine with me.