GoTranscript's transcription guidelines

You can find the test job at the bottom.
The files you'll have access to are confidential and they're not to be shared! Breaking this rule will lead to the worker's removal from the gt team.
Update 2019-11-18: Do not use a [sic] tag
Update 2019-11-25: Simplified number rules
Update 2020-03-05: Fixed grammatical mistakes
Update 2020-04-22: Keep the expression/interjection 'Oh' regardless of verbatim
Update 2022-03-09: Always do your best to separate the different speakers...
What do we do?
We provide audio transcription services, which means that we convert audio and video files into text.
In our system, you can pick the files you prefer to work on. You must have a PayPal or Payoneer account as we make payments only with PayPal or Payoneer. Payments are made every weekend, on Friday. Also, we cover the PayPal fee so you will receive the exact amount which you earned and there will be no fee to receive payment. To send a request for payment, go to the WORK section (STATS page). There you can send a request for payment.
  1. Every time a client uploads a file, you will receive an e-mail. After that, you need to go to the transcription jobs page and choose the files you want to transcribe.
  2. There you will also see the information about the turnaround time, text format (clean or full verbatim) and timestamping type if one is required.
  3. After your transcription is uploaded, you will see your current earnings on the stats page.
  4. Payments are made every weekend, on Friday. There will also be a statistics page where you will see how much you have earned for each file.
  5. All of your transcriptions are going to be checked by editors. You will receive a rating and comments to help you improve your work.
  6. If your average rating is better than 4.5, you can try to become an editor.
  7. Sometimes, the quality of audio or video files is horrible, so please let us know about that. We will contact the client and provide a refund for that file.
  8. Use US (American) spelling. Only use different spelling if a client asks that in the comments (use Grammarly).
Text format descriptions
Full verbatim
The text is transcribed exactly as it sounds and includes all the utterances of the speakers.
Those are:
  • Speech errors: "I went to the bank on Thursday-- no, Friday."
  • False starts: I, um, wanted-- I have dreamed of becoming a musician.
  • Filler words: um, uh, kind of, sort of, I mean, you know…
  • Slang words Kinda, gotta, gotcha, betcha, wanna, dunno…
  • Stutters: I-I went to the bank last Tu-Thursday.
  • Repetitions: I went- I went to the bank last Friday.
  • Only use these forms for the affirmative/negative:
    Mm-hmm, Mm (affirmative) or Mm-mm (negative)
    Uh-huh (affirmative) or Uh-uh (negative)
Example: DOCX or PDF
Clean verbatim
The transcribed text does not include:
  • Speech errors
  • False starts (unless they add information)
  • Stutters
  • Repetitions. Note: Keep repetitions of words that express emphasis: No, no, no. I am very, very happy.
  • Filler words: Words often excessively used by the speaker but when you take them out, you’re left with perfectly understandable sentences. uh, um, *you know, *like, *I mean, *so, *kind of, well, sort of… Be mindful of the context. Some of these filler words do not always function as filler words.
  • Expressions should be kept regardless of verbatim type: Oh my God, Oh dear, Oh my, Oh boy, Oh, et cetera.
  • Slang words must be written as "got you" instead of "gotcha", "going to" instead of "gonna", "want to" instead of "wanna", "because" instead of "'cause" et cetera.
  • "Yeah", "yep", "yap", "yup", "mm-hmm" must be written as "yes"; "alright" must be written as "all right."
  • Never spell "Ok" or "OK." It must always be spelled as "Okay."
  • Avoid starting phrases with conjunctions in clean verbatim. If you really need to add the conjunction, just expand the sentence. For example: "I went outside but forgot to bring my umbrella."
Note: For CV: Omit all the "yeah", "yes" reactions to retain a fluent text unless they are answers to given questions. DO NOT remove filler words if they change the meaning of the phrase.
FV example:
Speaker 1: Hey, Maya, I'd like to ask you something.
Maya: Okay.
Speaker 1: Someone told me, applicants must now present an ID before they can sign up.
Maya: Yeah.
Speaker 1: But I'm not sure if that is true.
Maya: Yeah.
Speaker 1: Okay, uh, is it true?
Maya: Yep.
CV example:
Speaker 1: Hey, Maya, I'd like to ask you something.
Maya: Okay.
Speaker 1: Someone told me, applicants must now present an ID before they can sign up. I'm not sure if that is true. Is it true?
Maya: Yes.
Example: DOCX or PDF
Timestamping types:
Timestamping time format must be: [00:00:00] (always in bold)

For example, if you do the 20-30 minutes part, your time stamping should start at 20, not 00
Every 2 minutes:
Example: DOCX or PDF
Every time the speaker changes:
Example: DOCX or PDF
NOTE: If there's a comment next to the audio file saying, "Please use the embedded time" or "burned-in time," you will need to download the file in order to watch the video and use the correct time.
Major rules:
  1. If you cannot hear what word is being said, mark that as inaudible or unintelligible and specify the time. Do NOT make up your own markings. Only use [inaudible 00:00:00] and [unintelligible 00:00:00]
    • Use [inaudible 00:00:00] when speech cannot be heard due to poor recording or noise (keyboard shortcut: Ctrl + K).
    • Use [unintelligible 00:00:00] when speech can be heard but it cannot be understood due to the speaker's manner of speech, accent, et cetera (Ctrl + I).
  2. When a speaker is using conjunctions like "and", "so", or "but" to connect longer stretches of thought, it's often a good idea to create sentence divisions in those places. Also, don't forget to cut out the conjunctions in those places when they're not necessary. Divide sentences in a way that the meaning is clearest to the reader.
  3. Longer speeches should be separated into smaller paragraphs. Paragraphs shouldn't be longer than 500 symbols (about 100 words or 3-4 lines in the transcription tool).
    Exception: transcribe lyrics like a poem.
  4. Never paraphrase or reconstruct the speech in the audio you are transcribing.
  5. Do not correct grammatical errors made by the speakers.
    NOTE: Do not use [sic] tag
  6. Always use the correct spelling for misspoken words.
    Example: If a speaker pronounces "niche" [neesh] as nitche.
  7. Everything with a time-stamp (e.g. [pause 00:04:24] [unintelligible 00:04:24] [00:04:24] [inaudible 00:02:24]) should be bolded. Nothing else besides the speaker labels and marks with time-stamps should be bolded.
  8. Never use () instead of []
  9. Every sentence should end with a punctuation mark. Except when the sentence ends with a double dash which means the sentence was incomplete, or an unintelligible or inaudible mark when you cannot be sure whether the sentence is a question or not.
  10. The beginning of every sentence should be capitalized.
  11. Never change spoken contractions (e.g. y’all, ain’t, don’t, can’t, it’s, et cetera.)
       Example: If the speaker says "it's", it should be kept as "it's" regardless of the verbatim
  12. Never use exclamation marks.
  13. Speaker labels
    • If the speaker's name is mentioned at some point or indicated in the title of the file, use it as the speaker's label.
    • Always use a speaker label even if there is only one speaker.
    • Make each speaker's role in the audio as descriptive as possible. For example, "Interviewer", "Interviewee", "Participant 1", "Host", "Facilitator", "Caller", "Receiver", et cetera.
    • If the speaker's full name is used at some point (for example, David Butterfield:), later in the transcription, the last name can be dropped (for example, David Butterfield: becomes just David:). The same goes for the titles (Doctor, Pastor, et cetera). This is optional and is not considered to be an error.
    • [new] Always do your best to separate the different speakers. If you cannot identify who exactly is speaking, add a question mark before the speaker label. (for example, ?David, ?Interviewee 2, ?Speaker 3)
    • Speaker labels must be written in bold, followed by a colon and space. NEVER use the Tab button, only one click of the Space button.
      Mark: Hello.
      Speaker 1: Some text.
      Speaker 2: Some more text.
  14. Occasionally, customers dictate instructions to format the transcription while they are speaking. These instructions should be followed when possible, but never transcribed. Follow customer requests for spoken directions such as a new paragraph, comma, period, or a bullet point (use a dash). Do not type out the instruction.
    If a speaker spells a word or a name: "My name is Anna. A-N-N-A." Don't put A-N-N-A in if it's a dictation type transcript, but do put it in for all other types of transcripts.
  15. Italicize film, book, magazine, song titles, as well as artworks, plays, TV and radio programs, foreign expressions, et cetera. Example: I watched an episode of Friends the other day.
    NOTE: There is no need to italicize social media sites, company names, the Bible, books within the Bible, versions of it or other sacred writings (Koran, New Testament, Genesis, et cetera). John 1:2–3. If multiple citations: John 1:3; 3:16; 6:14, 44.
  16. Abbreviations and acronyms should not contain dashes or periods.
    Right: USA, PhD
    Wrong: U.S.A., Ph.D.
    Right American English: Dr., Mrs.
    Right British English: Dr, Mrs (without the period)
  17. Always research the proper capitalization e.g., iPhone, UCLA, SaaS
  18. Always write links like this: Never write it like this: w w w dot facebook dot com slash groups slash gotranscript
  19. Sound events
    • Sound events that are significant to the audio should also be noted regardless of format (e.g. [laughs], [laughter], etc.). Use brackets [ ] for notes. Do not put timestamps. The notes must be in present and/or progressive tense, concise; must not exceed two words, grammatically correct, and written in lower case regardless of the position in a sentence.
    • Use [background noise] on a separate line for ambiance noise. Use [background noise] on the same line if a significant unidentified sound occurs while the speaker is talking.
    • [crosstalk], [silence] - can be placed on a separate line or same line wherever they occur. [silence] is used to demonstrate a short pause in speech; not less than 4 seconds but not longer than 10 seconds.
    • [pause 00:00:00] bolded and time-stamped is used to demonstrate a pause significant in a speech. It must be longer than 10 seconds for it to be marked. It is always on a separate line.
    • When the audio is cut or edited, use [sound cut] on a separate line or the same line; wherever the sound cut was done.
    • If a foreign language or a word (in this case, a language that is not English) is spoken, mark it as [foreign language] or [French language], [German language], et cetera if it can be identified.
      Note: Authors/titles/personalities/common sense things are an exception from this rule and must always be researched. For example: carpe diem, Jacques Chirac, Frédéric Chopin, alea jacta est, et cetera.
  20. Numbers
    • Spell out single-digit numbers, use numerals for all other numbers: zero, nine, 10, and so on.
    Exceptions can be applied for readability (incomplete list):

    Money: $1, $1.5 million, $1,000 (1 grand is 1,000, 5 bucks is $5, 8 quid is £8. Half a million dollars is $500,000).
    Years and eras: '90s, 1990s
    Age: 70s, 30s
    Percentages: 0.2%, 100%
    Measurements: 3 degrees, 12 feet, 8 centimeters, 7 pounds, 1.5 kilos, 28 square meters
    Mathematical equations and formulas: x = x + 2 or x ^ 3 = 8
    Bible citation: John 1:2–3
    Fractions: 1/3
    Postal code: 91210
    Phone number: 123-456-789
    Combination: If a sentence combines small [0-9] and large numbers [10 and up], transcribe all numbers in numerals.
  21. Times of the day and dates: always capitalize AM and PM. Do this: 2:45 PM, 5:00 AM. When using o'clock, spell out the numbers: eleven o'clock.
  22. Double dashes or a single dash
    • Use double dashes -- when there is a change of thought (false start) or a speech error, or to mark an incomplete sentence. Do this:
      • FV Speech error: I went to the bank on Tu-Thursday-- no, Friday.
      • FV False start: I, um, wanted-- I have dreamed of becoming a musician and--
      • CV False start that adds to information: Sage is-- You’re right, that boy is my son.
      • INCOMPLETE SENTENCE regardless of verbatim type:
        • I wanted to say something but--
        • Are you done with that or--
    • Use single dash -
      • When the speech is interrupted in a conversation, but the speaker continues his thought. Do this:
    Speaker 1: I thought he was-
    Speaker 2: Yeah.
    Speaker 1: -gone.

    FV Stutter: Why is this m-m-moist?
    FV Repetition: Why is this- why is this moist?
  23. Quotation marks
    • Double quotation marks "" are used whenever there is a direct quotation. Example: She said, "Don't bother telling me." Quotations are introduced by a comma, not a colon.
    • Internal dialogues are seen as direct quotations as well. Example: And then I thought to myself, "What if I can't make it?" (Notice how the question mark is inside of the quotation. This is because the quotation itself is a question. However, if the rest of the sentence is a question containing a quotation, then the question mark would be outside of the quotation marks).
    • When quoting, the first word of a complete sentence should be capitalized.
    • Do not use quotation marks in indirect quotations (when the speaker paraphrases what has been said). Example: The man said that he was in a hurry.
    • Commas and periods always go inside the quotation marks.
  24. If there are curse words in the audio, transcribe them word for word.
  25. Capitalize nouns followed by numbers or letters that are part of a series (E.g. Grade 8, Section B, Chapter 1, Article VI, et cetera). However, do not capitalize smaller divisions: page 1, paragraph 7, et cetera.
  26. If the conjunction [and, for, or, nor, so, yet] precedes an independent (main) clause, use a comma before the conjunction.
    Correct: Jack tried a new diet, but he still gained weight.
    Correct: Jack tried a new diet but still gained weight.
    Incorrect: Jack tried a new diet, but still gained weight.
  27. Do not remove the word et cetera unless the client asks otherwise in the comment section.
  28. If you do not prepare the transcriptions according to these requirements, you might be removed from the team of transcribers.
    Ratings which are given by editors:
    5 - from 96% to 100% accuracy
    4 - from 92% to 95% accuracy
    3 - from 88% to 91% accuracy
    2 - from 83% to 87% accuracy
    1 - from 0% to 82% accuracy
    • Transcribers should know that mistakes like the following will be harshly penalized by editors. Along with accuracy, editors will be rating your files based on your grammar mistakes and/or lack of research.
    • If a new transcriber finishes 3 transcriptions and has 3.6 or a lower average rating, he/she will be removed from the team.
Useful links:
If you are interested in working with us, you need to read the provided instructions again and then finish our test job (clean verbatim; no timestamping needed), which you can find here:
Let us know if you have any questions.