How To Create Good Transcripts For Audio/Video Files

The year is 2020 and everyone is trying to secure a job while on the other side of things, cooperates are laying off their employees left to right and center. This has led many people into trying out online jobs with the hope that they can stay afloat until the pandemic comes to an end. There is an array of online jobs that freelancers can get on with and that range from creative writing to academic writing to graphics and design. Everyone is spoiled for choice, but the catch is that you must at least have experience in order for you to take up any of these jobs.

One of the online jobs that everybody is trying to get their hands on specifically is transcription. Transcription is a job where transcribers create transcripts from already recorded audios/video files by typing them out. As simple as it sounds, it really takes a lot of discipline and keenness in order for one to make it big in the transcription world.

I’m writing this article so I can help you have a full circle look into what it takes to be a transcriber and how you as a beginner transcriber can come up with conclusive transcripts that will impress your clients and keep them coming back for more of your services.

Transcripts are written or typed records of any proceedings. Transcripts are used to record court proceedings, business meetings, and even as records of radio, film, and television programs. In order for you to be a pro in creating transcripts, you need to be extremely attentive and be able to type or write as fast as possible so as to keep up with the files you are working on and meet your client’s deadlines.

Steps for creating conclusive audio transcripts

Below are some of the steps that go into creating conclusive transcription transcripts:

  1. Writing the Transcript- For people who do transcription as a profession and have been for a long time, it’s a no-brainer, it’s not as easy as it sounds! Transcription is one of those online jobs that need skilled individuals who are very keen and attentive in their work. It is important to know that creating a 10-minute audio transcript will not take you 10 real-time minutes. It might take you close to two hours and this is the first thing you need to know when creating audio/video transcripts because it’s a fact that deters many people from proceeding in this profession. If you have a fairly slow typing speed, the time might be over two hours, and make peace with it if it’s something you seriously want to pursue.
  2. Listen to the recording- Every single time before you work on an audio/video file, be sure to listen to the recording. There are very many reasons this is a requirement. For starters, you will tell what audios you are dealing with. From time to time you will meet terrible audio qualities, but most times you will definitely meet good audio qualities. Another reason you should listen to your audio prior to working on it is that you will tell which kind of transcription it is, which gives you context when researching different jargon. The last reason you should listen to your recording is, so you can approximate how long it will take you to finish it and hand it back to your client on time. Always listen to your audios before you work on them, and I promise it will save you a great deal of time.
  3. Change the speed of the audio recording if necessary- If this is not the holy grail step of transcription, then I don’t know what is. I try to imagine how transcription would be if you had to work with the original speed of a file, and I can’t even finish the imagination because it would definitely be really hard and tedious. Slowing down the speed when the original speed is too high will make it easy for you as the transcriber to keep up with what is being said. Fastening the speed when the original audio speed is slow will help you not lag when you set it to a speed that you are comfortable with. Audios can be slowed down, stopped, and paused, so you can better understand audios, which further improves the quality of a transcript. Remember, our primary aim here is to come up with good transcripts.
  4. Format your transcript- Unless otherwise, always format your transcripts. From time to time the client will not mention that they need their transcripts formatted but it should be something you automatically do whenever you are working on any transcription file. Your transcript should include page numbers, a title, and the date. When doing Legal transcriptions, you will find the transcripts having abbreviated versions title, and that also is a form of formatting which makes the transcript appealing. Formatting also includes naming all the speakers on your audio files correctly and using their names if mentioned in the audio. Be sure to note that a new paragraph should be started when there is a new voice, a new topic is introduced, or when someone is quoting what someone else has said. This is dependent on the rules and guidelines of a client.
  5. Transcribe every single word- One thing that you need to take hid off, is the fact that you need to transcribe all the words you listen to in audios. However grammatically incorrect it is, it should be transcribed when it comes to transcription. There is no changing of grammar in transcription, there is no paraphrasing and there is also no omitting or addition of words. Once you do this, the transcript won’t be the same as the audio file you were transcribing. Unless it’s a clean verbatim transcript, even the filler words and false starters are included when you are creating a transcript for transcription. In a scenario where you meet words that you can’t hear, then you have to tag it as [inaudible].
  6. Identify nonverbal communication- This is one of those steps that are highly dependable on the client you are working with. Sometimes you will work with clients who don’t really need nonverbal communication captured on a transcript, but unless the client makes it specific, it is always important to include them. During conversations, people often laugh, sigh, etcetera, and be able to note it down on your transcript. All those background sounds should always be included so they can provide a context for anyone who will read the transcript on its own with no audio. Never add your interpretation to nonverbal communication. For example, “[sighing with relief]” is incorrect. Simply typing, “[sighing]” is appropriate. Your interpretation might not be correct and might mislead people.
  7. Indicate pauses in the conversation- One skill that you should have as a transcriber is good writing skills. You should understand that conversations have ebbs and flows and that you should be able to illustrate this on your transcript. Having amazing writing skills will come in handy in this step where you need to know how to punctuate your transcripts. If someone pauses after he or she has said something, include this in your transcript using either ellipses or the word “pause.” For example, “My mother has been sick…it’s been so hard on me.” or “My mother has been sick [pause] it’s been so hard on me.” Whatever method you use, be consistent.
  8. Proofread the transcript. Unless you are not human, and you have a superpower that allows you to capture all the phrases and punctuations on an audio transcript, always make it a tradition to proofread your transcripts. Use a dictionary or spell check on a computer to make sure everything has been spelled correctly as we mentioned earlier, the transcript should be exactly how the audio is and so there is no need to correct the grammatical errors. The transcript should reflect the exact language used in the proceeding, which means no paraphrasing either. Proof-reading will help you come up with conclusive transcripts that are spelling error-free.
  9. Listen to the recording and read your transcript simultaneously. The last thing you need to ensure that your transcripts are in perfect shape and form is by listening to the audio while reading through your transcript. This helps you denote any words that you might have omitted or added unwillingly. This process is done to ensure that you transcribed correctly and can help you fill in any of the inaudible words. Again, your transcript should reflect the recording verbatim.

These steps if followed to the letter will definitely help you create great transcripts from audios on your transcription jobs.

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