Demystifying Some of the Top Transcription Myths

Having worked in transcription for over a decade, I have heard just about every transcription myth that exists. After hearing them over and over again, I decided that it is time to demystify some of these transcription myths.

1. It takes an hour to transcribe an hour long audio recording

This could be the most popular transcription myth that floats around, but it does not hold any water. It can take longer than an hour, even up to three hours or longer, to transcribe an audio file. However, this depends on some aspects including:

  • The technical nature of the recording
  • The accents of those captured in the recording
  • The client’s formatting needs
  • The transcriptionist’s general experience

Another thing to have in mind is that audio recordings with multiple speakers generally take longer to transcribe. For instance, an hour long audio recording with multiple voices could take between 3 to 4 hours to transcribe.

The transcript also goes through a confirmation stage involving listening to the recording once again. This stage takes an equally longer time than the actual length of the audio recording.

2. Transcriptionists need to be fast typists

This is one of the other myths commonly floating around about transcription. It is in actual sense not true; in a s much as fast typing skills are an added advantage when it comes to transcription, what matters most is a keen ear to get down the right information.

The first step is to have a listen at the recording and to accurately type the information.

It seems like an obvious step right?

Surprisingly, this is the most difficult phase of transcription and even the clearest recording still takes time to transcribe.

Dealing with a recording with several voices is often the toughest task, as well as working on a recording with several voices with diverse accents. It can also be a difficult task to carry out transcription for a new client or on an unfamiliar subject.

Take note of the client’s requirements and guidelines to carry out the transcription effectively.

Clients have differing needs and it is important to accurately carry out transcription according to the client’s requests. Formatting requirements, whether verbatim is needed or not and the turnaround time are important aspects to note down when initially taking on the task.

3. Transcription is simply typing, anyone can do it – it’s easy!

The number of times I have heard this could make me a millionaire if I got a dollar each time.

It is true that technology has advanced and most people have computers at home, and pretty much everyone can type. However, not everyone can transcribe; transcription involves a combination of listening skills, hearing and documenting what you have heard. As easy as it sounds, it definitely is not that easy and that is why we are not all transcriptionists.

Transcription is also not everyone’s cup of tea and most people view it as an arduous task, hence the reason why most people outsource this work to others. The work also involves a good level of research to make sure that the names of people, places and terminologies are documented correctly.

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

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