Transcription Skill

One of the misconceptions about of audio/video transcription is that it’s all about typing. Typing is definitely one of the key skills required, but there are other skills which are equally important, if not more. In this post we’ll elaborate on some of those skills.

Context:

Applying meaning to words and interpreting them is a uniquely human ability. It’s a feat which machines are yet to achieve. We listen to spoken words and combine it with our own knowledge and thoughts to interpret it. During transcription we come across a lot of words which sound similar and have to use context to arrive at correct word. Eg. illicit vs elicit. These words sound similar, but the meanings are vastly different. The correct word depends on the usage.

Memory: 

We often face the situation that the speaker’s voice is partly un-clear and only a syllable or two can be heard. These are the places where we leave blanks. However, ¬†sometimes we can recall the word or the phrase being used in a similar sentence, which fills in the last piece of the puzzle. This is quite similar to the fill-in-the-blanks type of exercise, with additional hints from the audio file.

Research:

Research is one of our strengths. Since multiple people are involved in the transcription of each file, we have that many hands for the research. Google is our best friend for the research, but even searching on Google is a skill in itself. We have to use context again and add something to the search terms. It requires few tries before we find what we are looking for. Names of people and products, acronyms etc. are good examples. Google Maps works amazingly well for names of places.

Knowledge:

Knowledge is not a skill per se, but we use it everyday in our work. The discussion topic in our files vary widely. So general knowledge, current affairs, etc. is good to have.

At the end of the day, it’s accuracy which matters the most. We have to rely on much more than our typing skills to ensure that the transcript is 98% or more accurate. If you are looking to start transcription and/or getting your audio/video files transcribed, then you should consider these factors as well.

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