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7 Quick Tips for Transcribing Beginners

Christopher Nguyen
Christopher Nguyen
Posted in Zoom Sep 6 · 8 Sep, 2022
7 Quick Tips for Transcribing Beginners

Want to start working as a transcriptionist but still looking for tips for transcribing for beginners? We’ve got your back.

Whenever you watch a video on Youtube or a movie, do you notice how they often have subtitles on the bottom part?

These subtitles are transcribed from the audio track of the video. Transcribing is converting an audio or video file into text form. This text can be used to create subtitles, closed captioning, or even a full transcript.

If you want to become a transcriber, you need to know that while it looks simple enough, it’s easy to make mistakes as a transcriber. Not only that, if you want to become a professional transcriber, you need to know that it’s not just about accuracy.

So we’ve created this article for you. This article focuses on providing you with tips on becoming a better transcriber. Most of the information here is for beginners, but even seasoned transcribers might find a gold nugget here and there. But before we go directly to our list of tips for transcribing, let’s talk about transcribing in general.

What Does a Transcriber Do?

A transcriber is someone who converts audio files into written transcripts. This can be done by listening to the audio recording and typing out what is being said or using speech-to-text software.

Transcribing is an essential task because it helps create a written record of what was said in the audio file. This transcript can then be used for various purposes, such as creating subtitles for a video, providing closed captioning for a live event, or creating a text version of an audiobook. 

In some cases, the transcript may also be used as legal evidence. As such, transcribers must have strong listening skills and attention to detail.

What Makes An Excellent Transcriber?

So what are the qualities that make somebody an excellent transcriber? An excellent transcriber must have great hearing, fast typing skills, and the ability to type without looking at the keyboard. They must understand different accents and dialects, and they must be familiar with a wide range of vocabulary. 

In addition, transcribers must be able to work quickly and accurately under pressure. They must be able to meet deadlines, and they must be able to maintain a high level of concentration for long periods. Finally, transcribers must have an excellent working knowledge of grammar and punctuation. These are the essential skills that a superb transcriber needs to be successful.

The journey to becoming a seasoned transcriber is not an easy one. However, things can get a bit easier if you follow the tips for transcribing we have compiled. These tips will help you become better at transcribing – making you work faster with fewer errors.

Tips for Transcribing Like A Master

Get the Right Gear

If you’re thinking of becoming a transcriber, there’s one thing you need to know: it’s not just about being able to type quickly. To be successful in this field, you need to have the right gear. That means investing in a good quality headset and foot pedal. A headset will allow you to hear the audio. Find one that will cancel all external noise so you can focus on the audio you are working on.

Another item you might want to invest in is a foot pedal. A foot pedal will allow you to pause, rewind, and fast-forward the recording. In addition, you’ll need to be comfortable working with different transcription software programs. There are many various programs available, so it’s essential to find one that suits your needs. With the right gear and software, you’ll be well to become a successful transcriber.

Follow The Instructions and Don’t Hesitate to Research.

Transcribing can be rewarding and challenging to work from home, but it’s important to remember that not all transcription jobs are the same. Before you start transcribing, read any instructions that the customer has sent with their file. This will help you understand their specific needs and expectations.

Once you start transcribing, be sure to follow any formatting instructions carefully. It’s always better to set things up correctly from the start than to reformat a document after you’ve already typed it up. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. 

Finally, if there are terms you aren’t familiar with, don’t be afraid to do a quick online search to make sure you’re using the correct spelling and definition. It’s better to pause your transcribing to get the right word than to wing it and have to face edits after you submit your transcription.

Sample the Audio First

Before you start transcribing, it’s always a good idea to check the audio quality of the recording. To do this, listen to the recording from beginning to end. Pay attention to the volume and clarity of the recording, and make sure that there are no interruptions or background noise. This way, you can ensure that the transcript is accurate and that there are no problems with the audio itself.

Once you’re satisfied that the audio is good, choose the most manageable file for you to transcribe. This will help you save time and energy as you work. If you have any questions or concerns about the audio, don’t hesitate to reach out to the right people for help. You can ensure that your transcriptions are accurate and error-free with a bit of preparation.

Pay Attention to the Details

As a transcriber, you must pay attention to the details. This means taking note of accents, speaking speed, and any nuances in the audio. By paying attention to these details, you’ll be able to create a more accurate transcript. As soon as you get better at picking specific cues from speakers, transcribing their words and understanding what they are trying to say becomes much more accessible.

One way to improve your attention to detail is by taking notes while transcribing. This will help you keep track of specific words or phrases that you might need to look up later. It can also help you ensure that your transcript is in the correct order.

Practice, Practice, Practice

The best way to improve your transcription skills is through practice. People who excel in what they do, whether sports stars or creatives, swear by practicing as one of the best teachers.

Start by transcribing short audio files and then work your way up to longer files. You can also try transcribing videos or podcasts. The more you practice, the better you’ll become at it.

Break The Work Down into Smaller Pieces

Dividing the work into smaller portions instead of going through the audio in one go helps to make more accurate transcriptions. This may take more time, but when you start, this helps ensure that you don’t miss or type incorrect words. Doing this helps make it easy for you to remember what was said. 

Once you are done with your transcription, always review your work. This is an essential step in the transcription process as it helps to catch any errors that may have been made. Reviewing your work also helps to improve your accuracy over time. With practice, you will be able to transcript documents more quickly and with fewer errors.

Keep Yourself Comfortable

When it comes to transcription, comfort is critical. You want to sit in a position that allows you to type for long periods without getting sore. You also want to have enough space to move your hands around without hitting anything. That’s why it’s essential to invest in a comfortable chair and make sure you have enough room to work. If you can do that, you’ll be well on your way to prospering in your career as a transcriber.

tips for transcribing

Basic Guidelines in Transcribing

Now that we are done talking about the different tips for transcribing, we will also mention a few of the more basic guidelines for transcribing. Note that these guidelines are basic but not universal. As such, it is always good practice to check the guidelines set by your client or employer first.

  • If the file you have in hand has no audio, report it. Only the audio should be included in raw transcripts; time codes, headers/footers, speaker tracking, and other features are not required.
  • Nothing should be left out of the audio unless it is explicitly stated.
  • If there are inaudible parts of the recording, mark them in the transcription with a ____.
  • If the people in the audio are laughing, mark it as [laughter] or [chuckle].
  • If the speaker does not finish a sentence or pauses in the middle of one, note it with an ellipsis(…).
  • Informal contractions such as gonna, kinda, and wanna should not be expanded.
  • The number one to nine should always be written out as words unless specific measurements.
  • You should limit yourself to two or fewer mistakes for every ten comprehensible words spoken.
  • It would help if you started a new paragraph for every new speaker, and an empty line should separate each section.
  • If the speakers often use fillers, you can omit them unless it’s strict verbatim. This also goes to utterances like uh or uhm.
  • Transcribe background conversations only if they are audible and clear.