1) Ask for a terminology list if necessary
If the audio file involves discussion of in-depth topics and industry terminologies are frequently used, the transcription project can be quite time-consuming even for an experienced transcriber as research needs to be done on those terminologies. Sometimes it may take you several hours to do the research to secure all the terminologies (both spellings and their meanings) you need to know to complete the project, while it only takes less than 10 minutes for the client to compile a list of terminologies that appear in the audio file. If you believe a terminology list can significantly reduce the turnaround time, feel free to ask the client to provide you with a terminology list.
2) Improve your typing speed and learn document formatting
Typing fast and accurately can save you lots of time: less playback would be needed, and proofreading would be faster as you make fewer spelling and grammar mistakes. In addition, you would feel less stressful when trying to keep pace with the conversation in the audio file.
Document formatting is important as well, as the client may need the transcribed document to be returned in certain formats. Proficiency in using computer software such as the Adobe suite and Microsoft Office suite can largely speed up the formatting process and reduce the turnaround time.
3) Find the transcription tool and software suitable for you
Some people like to use a foot pedal to help them control the audio file while transcribing, while others just prefer to use the keyboard shortcut or the function key on the mouse. For each option, there is various transcription software that may assist you to do the task fast and easily. Some of the software are free and some are not, but they may still worth the price if it can significantly boost your efficiency. People have different preferences, and you may try different options to find the one that works best for you.
4) Have a nice workplace that can keep you concentrated
Transcription is a job that requires you to be seated for hours and fully concentrating on the task. An ideal workplace should make you feel comfortable while keeping you active for hours. Moreover, it’s important to ensure that others won’t interrupt you often while you are transcribing.
5) Get familiar with the common dialects of the language
When you have time, try to get familiar with the common dialects associated with the language you transcribe. An unfamiliar dialect or accent may require lots of playbacks when you transcribe an audio file. Nowadays it’s easy to find video clips in which people speak those dialects online. As you get more familiar with them, it’d take you less time to complete the task.