How to Transcribe Audio File

So, you have an audio file which needs to be transcribed to text and have no idea how to go about it. Here’s how to do it.

The first thing you would need is ExpressScribe. It’s a free tool which enables quickly to start/stop/pause playback with hotkeys (or foot pedals) so that your hands are freed up for typing. To setup the hotkeys go to Control -> Hotkeys setup and enter your preferred keys. We suggest the following.

  • F7 -> rewind
  • F8 -> forward
  • F9 -> play
  • F10 -> stop

The useful thing is that these hotkeys are global. So you can control ExpressScribe even if it’s not the active application, which means you can type, play, stop, rewind, and forward without leaving your text editor. Very useful. Load up a test file and play around with the setup.

The second thing you would need is a good headset. Transcription is time consuming and when you wear it for long periods of time you may start feeling a bit of pain around your ears. Any headset with some padding around the earpiece will do. Do not play it on your speakers because then you will make lots of mistakes.

The third thing you would need is a text editor. You can use Word, OpenOffice.Org or any other editor of your choice. At a minimum it should have word completion and spelling auto-correction. While typing you’ll find that you misspell lot of words and to correct them you’ll have to stop and go back constantly. Auto-correction will save you time. Similarly auto-completion will save you typing, at least for common words.

Once everything is set up, you’re good to go. Bring up your editor, play the file, pause and type whatever you understood. Play-pause-type. Rinse and repeat till the file is complete. One pro-tip is try not to rewind too much. Rewind as few times as possible. Better still, instead of rewinding just mark the inaudible portion with a blank or make a guess, and after you’re finished go back and review the file. You’ll finish the file faster this way.

On an average it takes around 4 to 6 hours to finish 1 hour of audio. It varies by your typing speed,  the audio file quality and/or the diction of the speaker. Difficult files take longer. Plus, you’ll notice sometimes you cannot catch a few words, no matter how many times you rewind and play it back. Ask for a second opinion if you can.

As you would have guessed by now, it’s a painstaking task. It takes a lot of time and effort. That is exactly why we have the Audio Transcription Service. We do all the work for you and deliver a high quality transcript after 1 business day. For $75 you can get an hour of audio transcribed. We have a rigorous process and have transcribed over thousands of hours of audio to date. Try it out and check out the results for yourself.

On the other hand, if you like transcribing then check out our Freelance Transcription Program. You can work as a homebased freelance transcriber and get paid on an hourly basis for the work done.

One Response to “How to Transcribe Audio File”

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