Transcription is an essential part of any content-creation workflow. In addition to ensuring that all participants have access to the necessary information, quality transcripts safeguard against errors. Like any other job, transcribers have their struggles in ensuring they deliver pure gold. Not only do programs and services change daily, but even the most diligent transcribers can struggle to keep up with the latest edits, format changes, and other changes to the rules. Here are some of the best practices that transcribers need to follow and maintain so they deliver quality and strengthen their workflow.
- Use a reliable, error-free program
One of the biggest challenges in writing and editing is finding the correct program for each task. Many programs are available for various text-editing tasks such as grammar and spell checking, but you must find one that works best for your particular transcripts and tasks.
Reputable transcription services offer a variety of different programs to choose from. You can narrow down your options based on style, accuracy, speed, cross-platform compatibility, customer support, and cost. Before making any choice, you must try out the freebies to know how they operate. Most of them offer editing test online free services so you can ascertain their effectiveness.
- Keep your files organized
A transcriber must learn how to organize their files. Most of them keep track of their edits by using separate documents for each transcript. A separate document makes it easy to track the changes and gives you access to any other relevant information. It also helps the organization because you have a logical place to store all of your documents with transcripts instead of being scattered like loose pages in an old notebook.
The main downside of this method is that it requires more time and diligence, but once you’re comfortable with the process, it will prove very efficient in keeping up with multiple transcripts.
- Formatting is important
Some rules or conventions apply to transcribers when formatting files and transcripts into different formats. These rules help transcribers distinguish between narrations such as interviews and memoirs from fiction and novels from non-fiction.
General formats include full-page headings, section headers, proper bold or italic for titles, leaving space after paragraphs, double space between paragraphs, and parenthesis.
- Practice makes perfect
Every transcriber starts with some sort of personal preference or learning style that’s hard-wired into them while they were growing up. It doesn’t matter how hard one tries to change one’s preference. It won’t go away entirely because it’s just how we’re wired, but transcribing can be learned like anything else if you practice enough, study enough material, and practice on the job until you get it down pat.
The main thing is for the transcriber to remember that this is a huge part of their job and that taking the time to learn and practice is the best way to learn. This will help produce a much clearer and more organized transcript in less time while giving it an overall professional look and feel.
- Be Prepared
Preparing for the actual transcription means predicting the questions and answers that will be asked in a particular situation, such as a court. The transcriber must be prepared with the answers to any questions that may come up. They need to practice their interviewing skills to prepare for these encounters with lawyers.
They should also make sure they have a variety of typing styles and methods (such as shorthand) so that if there is a need for a commitment, it is possible and easy to demonstrate this commitment. Any notes or prepared statements should be properly typed out before taking a step forward into courtroom relationships with lawyers and judges.
- Master Your Typing Skills
If you’re transcribing multiple documents, which most people do, it’s important to master your keyboarding skills. Know the shortcuts of the programs you use and take the time to practice. For example, if you use Microsoft Word, experiment with your keyboard shortcuts until you get them down.
The same should be done for programs on your computer or software on your phone. Additionally, consider learning how to type in another language like French or Spanish because some transcripts require translation from a different language into English. This is because most audio transcription will also offer quality translation services.
- Have a Comfortable Work Station
You should have a comfortable workspace or quiet, sanitary environment to transcribe in. The best place to be is somewhere where you can take breaks and move around enough to walk around the room. If this isn’t possible at your office, find a place where you can close the door and turn off your phone and computer, so it’s not distracting you when you try to transcribe.
You should also be sure to have a good chair that supports your back to sit for long periods. Lastly, try to keep a pad of paper close by so that you can write things down if there are any mistakes in the transcript.
Being a transcriber will take some time, but once you have experience and learn the hacks, the work is well worth it. You’ll likely build up a passion for transcribing once you know how to do it well. You’d then be able to transcribe effectively and scale your transcription career.