Transcription Tips: 7 Ways to Improve Your Transcript

Transcription Tips: 7 Ways to Improve Your Transcript
Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy


If you own a phone or pretty much any other digital device, chances are you’ve already been introduced to the art of transcription.

Transcription services are used everywhere around us, from our phone’s speech-to-text services to the subtitles on movies.

But its uses can be much more professional than just entertainment; it’s used by language learners in their classes, by hired transcribers in courts, by journalists for oral interviews, and even by researchers who need written documentation of interviews or focus groups. 

So, whether you’re a journalist attending a conference that’ll decide the future of the world, simply a tourist taking French classes in Brisbane, or just a transcriber creating the captions for the most recent chick flick, polishing your transcription skills will benefit you greatly.

7 Ways to Improve Your Transcript 

Below we’ve discussed some tips you can use to achieve this:

1. Get the right software and hardware:

First and foremost, the basics. To be the best, you need the best, so don’t be afraid to invest money to get yourself the right pair of headphones or speakers, and then software that assists you.

You can find video software that makes the navigation of videos easier so that rewinding to listen to that word you missed is a less frustrating task.

Besides this, you can also buy hardware such as foot pedals, which will make the task of controlling the audio/video files much simpler.

Related post:- Transcription Foot Pedal: Choosing The Best One

2. Practice your speed typing skills:

Transcription isn’t a job that can be done when your typing skills are rusty.

Slow typing just won’t work here, you’ll end up spending several hours on a task you could have done in one hour or less.

So, it's very important to practice typing fast to ensure you get done early and have enough time to review your work.

But it’s also vital to ensure that you only type as fast as you can type accurately. Having to go back to make corrections slows you down drastically. 

Related post:- How to Improve Typing Speed for Faster Transcription (A Complete Guide)

3. Get comfortable:

Find the right workstation, clear your workspace, get snacks beforehand if you like to munch while working, and then get to work!

While working, a lot of us don’t pay attention to the chair we sit in, the height of the table, or the lighting in the room, even though all these details are important, to ensure we don’t tire before the job is done.

4. Reduce background noise:

It might seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised (we were) by how many transcribers don’t take the time to ensure their place of work is free of all distractions.

These distractions aren’t necessarily always people, sometimes even the noise of an AC running or the sounds from the street will compete for the attention of the transcriber and need to be ad before the assignment begins. 

5. Review the files:

Always ensure that the files (if any) that you’ve been given are of good enough quality and that all speakers are distinguishable.

If not, it's best to request a more refined version of the file or to review what you’re getting out of this job and see if it’s worth the amount of effort you’re about to put in.

6. Use and autocorrect software:

Having to go back over and over again to merely correct spelling mistakes adds to your already immense task, it makes much more sense to leave that to software already in the market specifically made for that.

But remember to revise the document once you’re done to ensure that all the words have been corrected to the right form and make sense in the context.

7. Take your time:

As mentioned above, it’s better to allow yourself enough time rather than rushing and having to type the same thing ten times.

You can get a rough estimate of how long you will need by either researching it online or timing yourself for a short section and then comparing the time it took to the remaining audio.

Even expert transcriptionists take, on average three to four hours for a one-hour recording. 

There are several rules one can follow besides these to make the process of transcribing more pleasant and more enjoyable. 

Besides these there are several other rules one can follow to make the process of transcribing more pleasant.

Staying engaged, for example; ensures that you’re invested 100% into the task at hand.

Another is, not omitting sections of files unless specifically instructed to do so. If a portion of the file is inaudible, just try to make sense of the sentence and improvise.

But most importantly, at the end of the day, if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, you will lose interest and it’ll become a chore. 

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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.