Transcribing an audio file could be much more time-consuming and difficult than people expected, and fluency in both the source language and the target language is not adequate. Following are some tips for transcriptionists to deliver accurate transcription with short turnaround time.
Consider whether you can handle the task beforehand
It’s very important to listen to the whole file and see if you can transcribe it before you accept the job. Even if you are very fluent in the language, the background noise and the recording quality may make it tough for you to complete the task; in addition, sometimes the speakers may have accents that you are not familiar with at all. It’s much better to tell the clients if you can’t handle the task before you accept it than tell them several days after you take the job.
Do necessary research if you are not very familiar with the topic
Sometimes you’d find the topic discussed in the audio file confusing and complicated for you. You may need to do online research to ensure that you get what they were saying, and that you use the right words and expressions in the transcription. But of course, if you still find it too confusing for you after the research, you may need to consider passing the job to someone with more knowledge and experience in that field.
Follow the format designated by the client
Sometimes the client may want the transcription to be delivered in a format the client desires. You may want to ask the client about the format and whether the client has any special request at the start. Of course, you can adjust the formatting after you complete the task, but it cost you extra time and increase the turnaround time of the project.
Ensure you can identify all the speakers in the conversation
It’s very important to identify who spoke a specific sentence in the conversation when transcribing an audio file. It’s very common that in a meeting, some people are sitting far away from the recorder and it’s very hard to hear them in the recorded file; in addition, the voices of two people can be very similar. In these situations, you may need to be patient, listen to the file for couples of times, and adjusting the volume to make sure you get to know who spoke that sentence.
Try to write down the words you get if you can’t transcribe the whole sentence
Sometimes due to poor recording quality, you may not be able to transcribe some sentences in the audio file. But rather than just skip those sentences, you should include the words you can hear in the transcription. Those words may be very helpful to the clients, and this can be the difference between an ordinary and an excellent transcription.
Do the works in a quiet place
Transcription requires you to be completely focused on the task. Any interruption by someone can be annoying and compromise the accuracy of your works.