Shorthand Transcription

Shorthand Transcription | The Pros and Cons

Shorthand can come in handy while getting your foot in the door with transcription. Though is can be a little difficult to come up with your own system for creating shorthand. Using this format will help you complete files faster, but can have a couple drawbacks. But the benefits could outweigh the negatives, and help you to make more money faster!

This blog post will cover:

  • What is shorthand transcription
  • Pros of Shorthand Transcription
  • Cons of Shorthand Transcription
  • Creating your own system

What is shorthand transcription?

First of all, what is shorthand? The answer is quite simple. Shorthand is basically just a system you create through rapid writing or typing of abbreviations and symbols.

More simply put, shorthand is a short and simple way of expressing, referring, or dictating what a person is saying.

There are two major systems for shorthand, the first is Teeline shorthand created by James Hill and the other is called Gregg shorthand created by John R. Gregg.

Shorthand is a great way to speed up the time it takes for you to transcribe an audio file.

Often times, speakers will talk very fast, and completely forget that they are being recorded. So, it can often be hard to quickly type what they say when they are speaking so fast.

Shorthand is an easy way to type a couple letters instead of entire words to capture what the speakers are saying.

This method of transcription is often if not explicitly used in the court system. When you see a person sitting near the judge with a weird looking, typically gray, keyboard, they are using shorthand.

If you looked up close at the keyboard, you would see that they are about half the size of a normal keyboard, and there is not usually a screen.

The court transcriptionist uses shorthand to get down what everyone says, and they have to do it in real time. So shorthand is an absolute must for them, especially when the accuracy of those documents needs to be 100 percent.

A little about the different methods of shorthand.

First, the Teeline technique removes unnecessary letters from words, making typing entire words easier and much faster.

Though when the letters are removed, you still have to be able to understand what you are looking at.

Vowels are often removed when they are not the first or last letter, and often times silent letters are also removed.

This can be great for speeding up transcription, but if you are not used to using shorthand it could be hard to program your mind to omit letters.

And it could also be hard to go back after you’re done with the audio, and type out the whole words. You could shorten it so much that you can’t remember what the word is supposed to be!

Second, is the Gregg technique which is a form of stenography similar to cursive. So this form would be used explicitly with written dictation.

For example, if you get a job to transcribe a conversation in person, using the Gregg technique could be quite useful to keeping up with the conversation.

This technique uses a variation of cursive, using longer or shorter strokes to differentiate between words, letters, and different sounds.

The stroke thickness is the same throughout, unlike other similar types of written transcription techniques.

Simply, it is based on curved or elliptical figures and varying lines to form the words.

Just like the Teeline technique, both can be difficult to learn to use fluently. The latter is not used very much anymore, it is still popular in places like Latin America.

Pros of Shorthand transcription

This method of transcribing an audio file has the potential to help you make more money faster.

Shorthand is a great way to speed through files. Allowing you to accept more contracts and clients. Also, it’s a great addition to put on your original proposal or profile page!

Using shorthand allows you to keep the audio file at a 100 percent speed dictation. Meaning, you get through the file faster.

If you are able to get through files faster, you will have a much faster turn around time for your clients, and you will be able to complete more files, resulting in more money for you!

Shorthand, can be a little difficult to adjust yourself to at first, but in the long run, it is a great way to help you speed up the process.  Also, shorthand is not a method that many people know anymore. It is a bit rare to find a transcriptionist who is proficient in shorthand.

This fact alone could help you to land a job with a client. Having something a little extra over the competition will always give you an edge.

And you could even get a temp transcription job with the court! Act as a per diem employee, they pay very well, and you usually get free lunch of the people of the jury.

Cons of Shorthand transcription

Of course, when there are pros and cons of everything, but the cons of shorthand are few.

The only cons of shorthand I have come across throughout the years is the fact that is can be a little difficult to learn how to do.

Once upon a time, they used to teach kids how to use shorthand in school! Of course, that was before the computer.

Shorthand systems, especially the written ones, are usually difficult and convoluted. They are very similar strokes that could mean a whole lot of different words and letters, or even sounds!

However, a typed shorthand such as the Teeline technique could be quite beneficial. I personally use the Teeline technique, and I have to admit, it was not easy at first, but after about a month or so, the practice really started to pay off.

I no longer had to slow down audio, and I was able to get through the files faster. My turn around time increased and that really appealed to my clients, resulting in more contracts, and higher pay rates.

Again, the only drawback was the difficulty level of learning it, and going back through the file and typing in the omitted letters.

Other than those two things, I have not found any other negatives from the use of shorthand.

Although you will be writing in shorthand, and have to go back and fill in the missing letters and complete the words; this system is still much more efficient concerning time than the alternative.

Having to slow the speed to such a degree that it will take you double to time to actually complete.  Just don’t make the symbolism and omission of letters so much that you can’t remember what word you’re trying to convey.

Shorthand is a lost art, one worth reviving in my opinion.

Creating your own system

The great thing about innovation is that you don’t have to follow the norm.

Once you have decided that you want to try shorthand, start off small. Create your own technique and shorthand for different words or sounds.

You can use the Teeline technique but tweak it a little bit.

You can easily create your own formatting for whatever makes sense to you, and makes the transcription process easier.

The ultimate goal is to be able to spend the shortest amount of time on every file. We are here to make money.

Usually clients pay for audio hour, not hour worked, so the ability to use shorthand to make the time you personally spend on transcribing the file shorter.

If a client is paying 15 dollars for an hour of audio, and you spend the time to type of every single letter, with the speech slowed down to 60 percent. You will not be making nearly as much money as you could be.

It will end up taking you three or more hours to complete one audio hour. So you potentially just made (technically) five bucks an hour.

We definitely don’t want that, we want to be lucrative entrepreneurs!

So try out a shorthand technique that is already established. Search for different techniques, find one you like and use it.

Or create your own, and get to it!

The faster you complete the files, the more you can do. The more files you can complete, the more money you will make.

And making this the most lucrative opportunity is what it’s all about.