Digital Audio Transcription & Typing Services
It is often a misconception that transcription software used by professional transcribers automatically converts the speech into text. This is not the case, transcribers listen to the dialogue and manually type what they hear into an electronic text document.
Transcribing audio is the skill and art of listening to and converting recorded speech from either audio, video, podcast or any other recorded dialogue into a digital text document that you can read, edit, print, share, or copy & paste text for social media updates.
A transcriptionist or typist is often involved in repetitive work and meeting very tight deadlines. A typist is either looking at the text to be copy-typed or a transcriptionist listening to recorded speech and typing the text spoken. When undertaking the transcription or typing process, there are things that you can do to help you obtain better productivity, efficiency and accuracy.
As a touch-typist and transcriptionist with over 20 years experience, to help you achieve a higher capacity in the production of transcripts or copy typing text, I will give you my top 5 secrets to increase your typing productivity and speed.
Before starting any work at all prepare your workstation to the correct ergonomics for your stature. Preferably work with an ergonomic keyboard too. This is a picture of the ideal workstation set-up to prevent any strains on your joints through repetitive typing work.
2. Take regular and frequent breaks. I personally like to take a break from typing or transcription every 20 minutes for 5 minutes. Recommendations by the University of New South Wales in Australia also recommend taking breaks every 20-30 minutes, if only for 2-3 minutes. This gives you chance to stretch, give your eyes and ears a break too. Even after just a couple of minutes not listening to someone speak, or looking at the text to be typed, is enough to recharge and carry on more productively.
3. If you are a transcriptionist and using specialist software, such as Express Scribe Professional, make sure everything is set-up correctly and to your specification. Test your foot pedal is ready to use to what you are used to. When I am transcribing I like to have it set to jump 5 seconds back for if I don’t catch what the person said the first time round. Listen to the first few minutes of the audio and adjust the replay speed according to your typing speed and the rate of speech that is being spoken. Check there is no background noise, if there is, some software players have ‘background noise reduction’ feature such as Express Scribe Professional. Alternatively, if that hasn’t had an effect or has helped but not cleared the audio up completely try an online converter such as www.online-convert.com. I have found from past experience that converting an audio can sometimes help clear any background or interference noise. If it is not in a mp3 format I will always convert an audio into the mp3 format and then perform the background noise reduction feature again.
4. Check with your client the purpose of the transcript. If you are transcribing a video it may be prudent to produce the transcript in a text (.txt) file and not a word document if it is being used for closed captions. Syncing the speech with the text is much easier. If it is to be produced in a Word document utilise the auto-correct and find/replace if you need to perform several replacements of a word.
5. Ask your client for the names involved in the audio or how they would like them referred to in the transcript if more than one speaker. Before commencing also enquire as to whether there is any specialist terminology you should be aware of, and/or any websites that may help with research if you cannot quite make out the word.
So there are my five secrets to help you type more accurately and transcribe more productively. Even taking regular breaks may seem like it is time you could be transcribing, as many transcriptionists have to work to tight deadlines. This may feel the case, but in reality, because you have taken even just 2 minutes away from listening, you will return to your keyboard and foot pedal and type more productively because of it. From many years experience working from work as a typist and transcriptionist, I know that frequent breaks and the correct ergonomics, preferably with an ergonomic keyboard too, are instantly going to help you be more productive and complete the work much quicker.
Please don’t hesitate to use the ‘contact me’ form if you would like to ask any questions about transcription, typing or my virtual assistant services that I can offer.
If you have never outsourced your recorded audio or video to a transcription service or hired a freelance transcriptionist before, this Infographic should be of some help.
Many people think they can type and it’s easy to listen and type what is being spoken, take it from a freelance professional transcriptionist, it’s not. Transcriptionists also have to insert the correct grammar and spelling at the same time as intelligently paragraphing and making sure everything reads sensibly.
Equally, anybody that thinks they can type and that it’s going to be easy to earn extra money transcribing, either directly with clients or via freelancing websites, is probably going to end up costing their client requiring the audio or video transcription, time and money.
For entrepreneurs or small businesses, for example, that are on a tight budget, hiring a freelancer can be very attractive due to the economical costs. Established transcription services have websites with reviews from satisfied clients you have used their services. These services can be expensive and not so easily affordable for entrepreneurs or small businesses.
Established transcription services have websites with their reviews from satisfied clients you have used their services. These services can be expensive and not so easily affordable.
Freelancing to a professional freelancer can help you cut costs and retain the quality that you need and expect from your transcript. By outsourcing your transcription requirements to a freelance transcriptionist, that is professional touch typist with experience in listening and typing and what is spoken, hopefully not someone that is trying to scam you.
To guide you through your journey of outsourcing your recorded audio, video, podcast or webinar for transcription, I have created this infographic to help you find the best freelance transcriptionist, for a budget you can afford.
I am a freelance transcriber outsourcing my skills and 20 years of experience, that also helped me create this infographic.
With the advancement of digital technology, audio and video transcription has grown in demand significantly. If you need a transcriptionist that is reliable, fast and accurate then please do not hesitate to contact me.
Advancements in technology mean quicker and faster, more capabilities and devices and so on, digital technology grows in cyberspace. This provides more opportunities for the transcriptionist to provide digital transcription services remotely at competitive cheaper costs.
Transcribing is a niche skill-set that is not really spoken about but such a vital expertise that requires a lot of training, fast typing, and typing experience. Digital technology advancements are now enabling virtually anything to be recorded and if narration or natural occurring speech is within that recording then it should be transcribed.
Entrepreneurs, Business Coaches, Bloggers, Marketing Experts and much more are all utilising transcription services for the benefit of their businesses. They record podcasts, videos, webinars and video blogs for clients and readers. They hold teleconferences, teleseminars and business meetings for accuracy and productivity. Eighty-eight percent of businesses say that video is an important part of their marketing strategy; all should be accompanied by a transcript.
Here are the top 7 advantages of a transcript:
Virtuadmin offers a professional and secure quality low-cost transcription service; it is my passion to provide you with the most accurate transcript possible. With over 20 years experience audio typing, transcribing and video captioning Virtuadmin are flexible and would love to work with you, either for either a one-off transcription or on a long-term collaboration.
If you would like to make an inquiry or get a free quote, there is a contact form in the ‘Contact Me’ section of my website and would be pleased to assist you. All audios and videos are secure with Virtuadmin with the latest firewall protection systems for enhanced security. Why not let me give you a quote?
When I researched the subject further, that is when it became apparent that there are indeed different types of typist and the variations I am now going to explain.
An audio typist is someone who specialises in typing text from an audio source which they listen to. – Wikipedia
The source is a Dictaphone in which the person speaks into with instructions on where to pause, stop, start a new sentence or new paragraph. Sounds easy but having done this type of audio typing in the 1990’s from a microcassette this takes a lot of getting used to but once you have mastered it, in comparison to transcription (which I will explain next) this is an easier way of learning audio typing because you do not have to determine where the grammar, new paragraphs etcetera go it is all done for you by the person dictating.
A transcriptionist is similar to an audio typist, but the audio source is more likely to be a recording of someone speaking naturally instead of a dictation. – Wikipedia
So in comparison to an audio typist where I started over 20 years ago (see my post why I love being a transcriptionist) transcription is where I am the transcriptionist listening to a person either recording say calm relaxing affirmations to music I determine where ALL the grammar should be, the paragraphs and when to insert a necessary um or ah to read correctly. This can be easier with Interview transcription between they are a question and answer scenario.
Focus groups are a difficult area for a transcriptionist having to determine which speaker is saying what, inserting the correct grammar, paragraphing if one person has quite a bit to say. When there is more than one speaker when the speaker changes the typist starts a new line; a lot to think about when there are more than three or four speakers.
Of course along with this and being a transcriptionist the client may require the um’s and ah’s left in the actual transcript (known as strict verbatim transcription) and time-stamping for easy reference to the audio.
So although technology has made transcribing as a profession a lot easier and flexible in a much not going out to an office and using micro cassettes, you can download a mp3 or mp4 file and start transcribing immediately. But it is actually harder now because of all the responsibility that has since now transferred to the transcriptionist; recording meetings, interviews, phone conversations has never been easier, but in certain situations, background noise can be an issue in as much it is difficult to hear what is being said. Dictaphone dictation is usually very clear because the person recording is using specialist equipment aware that they are dictating and adjusts their voice accordingly; the typist has specialist equipment.
That’s not to say that a transcriptionist doesn’t have specialist equipment they do, pretty much the same as what an audio typist’s equipment consists off which is a headset, foot pedal, adjustable speed control, tape counter, backspace feature, pause, search.
A professional transcriptionist, however, will not have a micro-cassette player but professional transcribing software on a laptop or desktop that will indeed have adjustable play speed control, backspace feature used by the foot pedal so that the typist does not have to take their fingers off the keyboard and a headset to enable total clarity of what is being spoken and not hearing anything in the background within they are working in.
Medical Audio Typist/Medical Secretary
A medical audio typist usually types up clinical letters and notes from dictation of patients’ appointments, tests, operations and procedures and may work in a hospital or health centre for one or more clinician.
Another area that I have had experience in working as a medical audio typist in an outpatient department for a large health authority. A medical secretary has other duties apart from typing dictations for out-patients appointments, test or operations. A medical audio typist may type non-standard letters, take phone calls for the Doctor they are working for, file letters and reports, diary management, adding or removing patients from procedure lists, the list can go on depending on the department, job requirements and so on.
Medical transcription is a specialist knowledge type of transcription and can be carried out remotely in certain circumstance; outsourcing specialist types of audio transcription is becoming increasingly popular due to the cost saving and convenience. A medical secretary would not usually work remotely and would travel to their job.
A copy typist is someone who specialises in typing text from a source which they read. – Wikipedia
A copy typist and in fact any typist from the outset much know how to touch type. The reason for this is that a touch typist does not have to look at the keyboard, they look at the document they are reading from to copy type.
I enjoy copying typing because to me it is easy, just look at writing or notes and just type away! (I have been typing since I was young, though – see my post Why I love being a transcriptionist).
A stenographer / court reporter uses a special keyboard machine, shorthand, or voice writing equipment to produce official transcripts of what was spoken in a courtroom or official proceedings. A court report typically works for law firms, local government, local council meetings and other official roles.
I love being a transcriptionist, the challenges of keeping up with typing what is being spoken at the same time. I always aim to give as accurate a transcript as possible when listening to people, typing the correct punctuation and paragraphing. I dislike using inaudible time-stamps to indicate where I just couldn’t hear what the person said, or there was unexpected sudden background noise, or blank spot.
When I agree to transcribe an audio file I try to get a listen first, but at the same time I have to keep in mind that the potential client wants a quick decision. Therefore, if listening to a sample is not possible I try and gather as much information as possible about the audio recording and make a decision based on the information received.
If I am able to listen to the recording it involves downloading the file(s), uploading it to the professional transcription software I use in conjunction with my foot pedal. (I also have a specialist headset and an ergonomic keyboard.) This is time-consuming and not really covered in the overall amount that I would probably earn.
If there is interference in the background then my software player does have processes that can help minimise this and enhance the speech. Nearly always this helps to clear the audio to enable a more accurate transcript to be delivered back to you.
So for me, the challenge of typing in time with speech is more enjoyable when the audio is clear and there is good speech clarity because I can get into a flow of typing.
Video’s where I add the captions for enhanced Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and accessibility, for a relatively small fee compared to large organisations that wish to take a whole lot more for pretty much the same job regarding SEO and using transcripts as a better, more efficient organic way of getting higher results in searches. Video files can have good audio and be much quicker to transcribe.
The client can require research within the subject matter, for a transcriptionist it is always helpful to know this in advance. This helps because I can account for the extra time when determining a turnaround time. I take everything into account because I really do not like missing a deadline for an audio and not having the full information may result in this. Giving as much information from the outset, including the nature of the audio, interview, video, help avoid disappointing expectations of the client.
If the processes on my software player do not work I have to try and figure out another way to clear up the audio and I go to great lengths to do this first before I ever turn down an audio. All again in my own time before I decide if I can give you a good quality accurate transcript for your hard earned cash!
If I can clear up the audio I’m on a buzz before I start as I know then that it will be as accurate as it possibly can be, trying at all times to make it as perfect as possible. A challenge overcome and feeling good to get that transcript delivered back to you on or before the agreed time.
Time-stamping may not seem time-consuming but it can add extra time and cost to your transcript. However, it is a service that we can provide. Every 15 minutes or so is not too bad but every 2 minutes or five minutes does not enable an even flow of transcription to begin because the transcriptionist is watching the time clock of the audio to see when to place the next time stamp. As we have to stop and start continually no rhythm is gained and that’s why an extra cost is sometimes involved and time added to the delivery date.
If you are interested in my transcription service, I am happy to provide a sample of the templates I use for transcripts. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be in touch right away.
If you are thinking of learning touch-typing or a typist already but may wish to try diversifying into transcription again please get in touch either at email@example.com and I will send you links and give you all the help I can to assist you in starting your new career.
Interview transcription looks quite simple but in real life, it is very a complex and an intricate task. It should be noted that mainstream semi-structured and structured interviews necessitate a comprehensive transcription that needs to be accessible by the interviewee to scrutinize for respondent authentication.
Sociolinguistic research being the exception to the rule wherein the transcription needs to be understood from speech to print. It should be transformed in a manner that satisfies the interviewer and interviewee.
Transcriptionists need to artificially augment the language for lucidity and suitability. It is significant to take note that ethics should be taken into consideration while conducting transcription validation and understanding the requirements of the respondents. There has been a lot of debate on types of interview, questionnaire design, benefits and limitations of audio recording, but the very insignificant proportion has been written about transcribing the interview.
According to Holstein and Gubrium, 1995, p.78, “If conceivable the research needs to be taken into consideration for audio or videotape interviews. The tapes can be used after for transcription for close scrutinization. There is nothing mentioned about whether the transcription of an interview from spoken to written word can be problematic.
According to Rubin and Rubin, 1995, p86, “It is very significant to note how transcription was developed and how the transcriptions were substantiated. It should also be noted that transcription should integrate pauses and other non-verbal hints of what happened. If the transcriptions are in final revised drafts of the tape recordings, you should also consider what was left out.”
Selections for the treatment and conduct of transcriptions need to be followed up but the situations under which these selections about editing and verification should be made are ignored. It is a known fact that structured interview consists of closed questions and the interviewer will finish the transcription throughout the progression of the interview. There is no need for audio recording.
For different types of interviews, a wide array of linguistic features needs to be figured out like tone, emphasis, body language, the setting and so on. It is very important to take into consideration interviewee’s comprehensions and views. Woods (1996) and Bell (1993) recommend varied methods of partial transcription where the researcher preserves comprehensive interview notes and has critical passages of the tape transcribed. According to Rubin and Rubin (1995), “It is an embarrassment when you tape for preciseness and then do not have a comprehensive transcription at the finish line.”
Interview transcription can become one of the most tedious jobs that you will ever come across. It is very tough and extensive and requires a lot of concentration. Nearly around 6 hours need to be spent on each recorded hour for interview transcription. According to MCLELLAN, MACQUEEN and NEIDIG (2003), “Unsuitable and insufficient methodology of conducting transcriptions can lead to holdups in scrutinization and research conclusion, even presenting chief errors in the findings. This leads to failure in the attempts to enhance the efficacy of transcription which leads to greater delays.”
A research conducted by MEHRABIAN (1971) showcase that approximately 7 percent of information carried out by direct face-to-face communication is done through words alone and there is an approximate value of 38 percent which is integrated by vocal tones that enhance the information transmitted. But because it is very intricate to interpret symbols the procedure of transcription sometimes loses out the meeting of conducting transcripts.”
According to BAUER and GASKELL (2000), conversation analysts “We have created symbols that help in interpreting the missing pieces. There are certain symbols that have certain meaning but can be difficult to gauge and can be time-consuming but can be utilized to gather the missing pieces of information.
There Can be Different Reasons for the Interview Transcription Errors. The TWO Prominent Reasons Being Equipment Failure and Environmental Hazard.
About 10% of interview transcription errors are prone to equipment failure. There are bound to be some equipment failure when you conduct interview transcription. Whether, it is the recorder or camera stopping, batteries dying, electricity going out or other issues. Hence, it is very important for transcriptionists to have a traditional backup plan of pen and pencil. To avoid this embarrassment it is important to evaluate all equipment before the interview. It is also significant to have additional batteries at your disposal and a camera or third recorder just in case if there is some problem with the recorder.
Approximately 15% of interview transcription errors occur due to environmental hazards. Background noise is one of the most deterring factors disturbing the transcriptionist. The background noise may or may not be the only thing hampering the productivity of the transcriptionist. It can also be the sensitive microphone of the camera or recorder that intensifies the sound which hampers the transcriptionist to understand the conversation.
When the equipment is turned on and off the relentless disruption also breaks the rhythm of the transcriptionist. In order to avoid an environmental hazard, it is imperative for the transcriptionist to sit at a quiet place. It is also significant to have recorder or microphone close to record the conversation.
Oliver, Serovich, and Mason, authors of “Constraints and Opportunities with Interview Transcription: towards Reflection in Qualitative Research” (2005) claim that their differences between naturalism and denaturalize. Naturalism is when every word uttered is transcribed in a comprehensive manner while denaturalize is when the characteristics elements of speech encompassing stutters, pauses, nonverbal, and involuntary vocalizations are eradicated.
There is no fixed pattern of conducting interview transcription. Sometimes transcriptionists utilize a combination of both these methods.
This article was originally posted on http://www.hitechbpo.com/ August 12th, 2014
Image Credit: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/files/2010/08/Microphone.jpg