Use of Transcriber – Asides for Unclear Portions of Audio Files

The audibility of the recorded audio file can be blocked by the presence of noise or mumbles when the speaker is talking. This makes it challenging for the transcriber to hear clearly the words spoken in that portion. This becomes more complicated if the transcriptionist is required to provide verbatim transcription. Though the one recording might have put in place measures to ensure that there is no or minimal interruptions, sometimes some background sounds and interruptions resulting from the speaker are unavoidable. Making use of transcriber-asides can help the reader of the transcript to understand the context after being alerted of the presence of noise that hindered clear hearing. Here are some of the transcriber-asides that one can make use of on the typed text.

Background noise/sounds

This transcriber-aside is indicated on the portion of the text that was not audible enough due to background noise or sounds. The background noise may be caused by a passing plane, motor cycle, train or wind that makes other things to produce some noise. In addition, sneezing and coughing can amount to background noise. This might make it impossible for the transcriber to hear the response or comment of a speaker.

Audio Glitch

Audio glitch results from a technical hitch in the recording devices. This might cause a blank space where the speakers are not heard at all. This is uncontrollable if it happens during recording.

Laughter or sobs

At times the interview might evoke emotions from the participants leading to loud laughter or sobs. It is important to indicate this type of transcriber-aside as the respondent might continue to speak amid sobs or laughter hence interfering with audibility of a particular section of the audio file.

Many Voices

Many voices results from several people speaking at the same time. This happens mostly in brainstorming business meetings when all the participants want to give their views and comments on a certain topic. This hinders the transcriptionist from hearing what each of them is saying due to noise created from many voices.

? [question mark]

This type of transcriber-aside is used to indicate parts of the file that are unclear. In this case, the speaker might have uttered a word or made a sound that the transcriptionist can guess the real word or sound but yet not being sure about it.


Unintelligible transcribe-aside is used to notify the reader about a section of the audio file that is not audible. This can be due to the accent of the speaker that might be too deep at that point, mumbling or fast speaking at a certain section. This notifies the reader that no matter how many times the transcriptionist revisited the section, one could not grasp the words in that section.

Jessica Miller, Marketing Head in Transcriptionwave, General Transcription Services Company in the US.

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