Transcribing Numbers: The Basic Rules

Transcribing Numbers: The Basic Rules
Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy


When talking about the subject of transciption, many people automatically think of a piece of text. Although these services are widely used for transcribing text, they are also relied on for transcribing numbers. There are many distinct approaches to be aware of for business owners paying for these services, and for the transcriptionist providing assistance.

Here are the basic rules for transcribing numbers:

Writing vs. Numerals

It should be remembered that numbers zero to nine must be written out. For example, zero, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and nine. When the numbers reach double figures, they should be written as numerals. For example, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 20, 50, 100, and so on.

To make sure you are familiar with the use of writing and numerals, check out some sentences that use these rules:

  • "Jimi Hendrix was one of the most celebrated artists of the 20th Century. He had two children and despite his young death at age 27, his music lives on".
  • "Susie would like to have three bananas in her lunchbox, but her mother has to feed 10 children at the picnic and will only be able to give her one banana".

Exceptions for the Basic Rules

Although basic rules should be applied most of the time, there are exceptions. While the following exceptions may seem confusing, they will come as second nature when used each time you complete Transcription services:

  • Unit of Measurements - Instead of writing out small numbers, such as four degrees, you would write 4 degrees or 8 centimeters. This is because numbers will always be used for measurements, so it makes it less confusing.
  • Beginning of Sentences - Numbers should always be written out when used at the start of a sentence.
  • Writing the Time - When time is written on the hour, it can be followed by o'clock, p.m., or a.m.
  • Phone Numbers - When dialing or using a telephone sequence, the number must be written in punctuation marks.
  • Indicating Ratings - Single quotes can be used around numbers when ratings are being indicated. An example would be: The artist's new album had a rating of '4' out of '5'.

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Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy is the Cofounder & President of GMR Transcription Services, Inc., a California-based company that has been providing accurate and fast transcription services since 2004. She has enjoyed nearly ten years of success at GMR, playing a pivotal role in the company's growth. Under Beth's leadership, GMR Transcription doubled its sales within two years, earning recognition as one of the OC Business Journal's fastest-growing private companies. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two kids.