At Scribie, we believe in the importance of quality transcription. This is why we developed our signature 4-step process.
Let me note that our quality transcripts are made possible by our network of talented transcriptionists. We asked some of our pros to share some tips that help produce consistent, high-quality transcripts. Scribie pros, Martin, Danijela, Betty, and Sarah, share insights for how to be a transcriptionist and produce excellent transcripts at Scribie.
You may be a rookie transcriptionist or an experienced pro. Either way, you’ll benefit from these insider transcription hacks from Scribie pros themselves.
How To Begin Your Transcription Journey
1. Focus On What You’re Hearing
Betty suggests that you focus on the content.
Looking back I can see that I was hyper focused on punctuation and capitalization. I spent a lot of unnecessary time on those aspects. After a couple of years doing this it seems like those aspects are now much more intuitive and I focus more on what I am actually hearing.
2. Start Slowly
Sarah advises beginning Scribie transcribers to take their time to avoid mistakes and missing important key guidelines. She says,
Learn everything you can about the guidelines and how the process works. Study the changes made to your work by the QC and learn how to improve. Starting out slowly will likely help with gaining experience and enable a better and easier path to promotion.
3. Quality Over Quantity
If you’re planning a long-term career with Scribie, Danijela and Martin also recommend taking your time focusing on producing quality content.
It can get tempting to start producing quantity over quality in order to make some extra money fast, but in the long term, it really doesn’t pay off. Take the time to get familiar with the program, check for words you’re unsure about online, and make sure you’re submitting your best work.
Do not compromise the accuracy of a file for speed, there is usually more than enough time to work on a file. Double-check the file if you have to. If you can’t catch a word or a phrase at first, listen to it again, or come back to it later once you’ve reached the end of the file.
Pro tip: Martin adds, if a word feels incorrect, it probably is. Identify that which you’ll consider background conversation because transcribing this is unnecessary and almost impossible.
4. Bookmark the “Guidelines” Page
If you’re constantly referring to the “Transcription Guidelines” page, you’re not alone. Betty shares,
I was constantly referring to the guidelines on the Scribie web page which were a big help.
Ways to Select Your File for Transcription
What are some tips and tricks for choosing a file in Scribie’s transcription portal? Check out our transcribers’ responses below.
5. Assess Your Time and Energy
Betty assesses the time she has available, her schedule for the day, energy level, and file difficulty.
I have made the mistake of underestimating the time it would take me to finish a file. After hours of work I have had to cancel a file because of other obligations. I now have a pretty good idea of what I can attempt on low energy days vs. higher energy days.
6. Sort Files by Date or Length First
When Sarah gets ready to work on files at Scribie she usually sorts and samples them by date first to check for more urgent files.
I try to get an idea of how long the file is and how much time I have to devote to it right then. If everything sounds good, then I select it based on that criteria. If I don’t find any of the more urgent files to be a good fit for me right then, I change the sort order to length so I can try to work on something that better fits my available time, and then repeat the process of sampling before selecting the file I’ll be working on.
These transcription tips based on what Scribie’s transcribers have learned make the process faster and easier.
7. Google for Context
Knowing the context of a recording makes it easier. Danijela suggests that you do a quick search on Google to help identify words you don’t recognize.
Learn to recognize the context of a conversation and the background of the speakers, which helps identify words that sound foreign.
8. Find What Works for You
Many transcribers have their own style when working on a file. While Scribie provides you with built-in tools to make it easier, it’s important that you find a process that works for you.
Once you’ve landed on something that consistently produces good quality transcripts, which you’re comfortable with, you’re free to do your own thing!
I understand that [the built-in editor] has many tools to help transcribers, I personally do not use most of them
In other words, you’ll want to personalize your workflow and use the right tools depending on what you’re currently comfortable with.
9. Keep at It, You’ll Get Better
Many aspiring transcriptionists struggle in the beginning. This was also the case for Danijela, Martin, Betty, and Sarah. Eventually, you’ll improve and even learn new skills.
Now, as a QC, I know what to expect from a file just by listening to snippets of it (a feature I greatly appreciate), and can therefore pick and complete a project, even from transcription all the way to QC, without much hassle.
Even after working at Scribie for more than a year, I am still learning so much, whether it be new expressions, dialects, or simply an interesting new topic being discussed on the recordings.
We’re a Bunch of Friendly People
Danijela wants to urge fellow transcribers to not be afraid to ask questions, while Betty finds Scribie’s live chat feature “invaluable”. Danijela says,
Ask questions. Join the Slack community or write emails to the staff. If you’re unsure about anything, it’s much better to ask than to try and make sense of something on your own and risk making some major mistakes. Trust me, nobody will laugh at you for asking questions on Slack. I like to believe we’re a bunch of friendly people. Don’t forget, we were all rookies at one point!
I’ve learned a lot in this year, but I love the fact that I’m still learning and that the Slack community is constantly updating us with various tips and tricks on how to become even better.