Misconceptions About Transcription

Transcription is an easy way to make a little extra money on the side, some people even do it full-time and have become quite successful. There are quite a few misconceptions about transcription that I would like to clear up. I personally do transcription from home on a full-time basis and I love it.  Hopefully this post is the beginning of you becoming a full-time transcriber too!

This blog post will cover:

  • Transcription is simply just typing
  • You don’t need to proofread
  • Every audio file you receive from a client is straight forward and easy to hear
  • It is impossible to distinguish between speakers

Transcription is simply just typing

The act of transcribing an audio file is quite a bit more than just simply typing.

You have to listen to the audio, notice any accents, get rid of the umm’s, ooh’s, and ahh’s, along with getting the content down to usually around a 95% accuracy. I know that may sound difficult, but it’s really not once you get the hang of it.

I transcribe hour-long interviews for a client, and most of the people he interviews are from other countries from all walks of life. When I get used to the accents, I can quite easily understand what they are saying.

Though, when you are just starting out, it might be a little hard, but do not be discouraged my friend, good things will come! When I first started, I was a little slow, but I worked my way up, and within a month I had five solid clients who were giving me work weekly.

In other words, this won’t happen overnight but if you stick to transcribing, you can make a living at it.

You don’t need to proofread

When people say “You don’t have to proofread”, it makes me cringe. Proofreading is part of the job, and should be taken as seriously as the actual act of transcribing the audio.

When I am transcribing, I will get the entire file done, and then go through it first with a spell checking application; and then I will physically scroll through the pages and re-read the document. A lot of times when you are trying to type really fast, or using some type of short hand, things can get misspelled.

So, it’s always necessary and very important to go through and proofread. Doing so can be the difference of keeping a client because of your accuracy or losing a client because your work looks sloppy and unprofessional.

As a rule, I like to proofread because in my experience, if you do great work, word travels, and a lot of my current clients referred me to new clients. So, proofreading is more beneficial to your client along with the prosperity of your future career.

Every audio file you receive from a client is straight forward and easy to hear

This is not always true in the case of transcription audio, I wish it was.

Sometimes people forget that they are being recorded, and tend to mumble or speak very quickly. Or the meeting is in a place that is exceptionally busy with background noise.

And on occasion it can even sound like the recorder is in someone’s pocket. This can seem a bit discouraging, but there are software programs out there that can slow down the audio file and help to eliminate background noise.

But that software is a topic for another post. With these programs, the lack of good clear audio becomes less of an issue which helps you to get more files done and make more money.

On the other hand, some audio files you receive will sound crystal clear, as though every person had a microphone to their mouth speaking slowly and clearly because they knew they were being recorded.

Those are the files that will make transcription a breeze, and they come up a lot more frequent than the files with bad audio, thankfully!

It is impossible to distinguish between speakers

And finally, the age old question I have heard a hundred times: don’t they all sound the same?

How can you tell who is who? It is quite simple really.

I have never listened to an audio file, in the last three years, where two of the speakers sounded the same. Everyone has a different pitch to their voice, a different way of forming the same word. And this has never been an issue for me for the eight years that I’ve been doing this.

I’m not even sure where the original question came from, but if you as a new transcriptionist and cannot tell the difference between two speakers, there is a simple solution.

In most if not all audio files, it is some type of conversation between two or more people.

Both of these people take turns speaking. So when you hear person A is speaking and then the sentence is not completed or does not make sense with the flow of the paragraph, you know that at the break, it was then person B speaking.

But most if not all audio files the speakers take turns speaking.

On occasion you will receive a file where the speakers try to talk over one another and neither one of them is audible. In that instance, you should speak to your client and explain the problem you are facing. I have come to find that clients are exceptionally nice, when you discuss any problems you are having.

As an example, I had received an audio file once with four speakers, and they were all talking over one another, and I simply could not decipher anything any of them were saying.

Right away I spoke to my client and explained the dilemma, they told me not to worry and that they would report it to their supervisor and the block of six minutes was labeled as inaudible.

The only time I have seen a transcriptionist run into trouble is when they do not talk to their client and simply do not do the audio and brush it off.

If you really want to frustrate your client, that’s a great way to do it and lose credibility at the same time.

Make it simple, keep a line of communication with your client always open, and the doors will continue to open for you.

With transcription, there are easy days, but also some hard days. In the end, it’s all worth it.

I am a stay at home mom, and the freedom it has given me to work from home and still be with my children can’t be beat.

Even before I was a mom, I was a transcriber alongside my full-time job and it make me quite a bit of extra money on the side.