A Good Pair of Ears and a Computer
By Jessica Perez – This job has taken me by surprise, so much surprise: I love it! It provides a flexible schedule. It provides interesting conversations: focus group discussions, presentations, interviews, and many other types of audio worthy of being transcribed and preserved! I have learned so much!
So, how did I come upon this? I did an internet search! Way With Words (WWW) is known for its rigorous transcription requirements. At WWW, we live and die by our friendly format guide. Yes, the guidelines are like a good friend, they give you direction and make the wonderful audio we are privy to, into beautiful, clear, easy-to-read prose that delivers the right inflection, and accurately depicts the audio file.
So, how did I get started? Listening, just listening! I love language, I love grammar, and I adore spelling… Proper spelling, that is! How can you get started, you ask?
Have a good pair of headphones. There is no replacement for a good set of ears, but some files benefit from the added help of a good pair of headphones, such as noise-cancelling headphones. I have a fairly cheap pair, and they work great! They have definitely been worth the $30! That’s too much money, you say? Well, don’t dismay! I started off using a set of regular headphones.
Have a computer with compatible software. All files are written onto MS Word, and as such, you need to have a computer that is enabled for this. You may also prefer to run specific audio processing software that may have specific operating system requirements. Take this into consideration. You will also need some space, not too much, for the audio files and transcripts to be stored while you are working on them.
Have an organization system. Keep all your files organized. It will make life so much easier!
Have a knack for following formats and adhering to deadlines! This one is self-explanatory.
When it comes to the actual transcription process, a few key things can be VERY helpful!
1. Sit in a quiet environment. You don’t need a sound-proof room. Personally, I sit on my bed and place the format guide next to me, just in case I need to quickly review something. Laptop on lap, coffee within reach, I get started!
2. Have your folders and files ready to start your transcription. Have a folder labeled with the name of your file. It will make it easy to keep track of each file (audio and text), and facilitate the downloading and uploading of these.
3. Make a template and use it! Making a template is easy, and will be oh so helpful! Consider having one ready with the correct formatting, so you can get started immediately! As you get your template ready to transcribe a specific file, don’t forget to cross-check the title with the ‘www’ file on your Scribeway page! It will have the correct spelling for the title, which may not be included in the name of your audio file.
4. Get started! Start typing directly into your template. It may be helpful to reduce playback speed to ~70%, depending on your typing speed. If you encounter an ‘inaudible’ word, try listening to that part of the audio at ~50% speed a few times. If it doesn’t become clear, place the [inaudible xx:xx:xx] tag instead of the word and keep going. Just make sure to type in the time at which you encountered said ‘inaudible’ word (so you can come back to it later), and keep going. Many times, the words that you miss can become clear from the rest of the document. The speakers may mention this term again, or you can find it through a Google search of the general topic.
5. Review, Revise, and Complete! Nothing is as beautiful as the ‘Aha!’ moment you get when you figure out what an ‘inaudible’ word means! This moment usually comes after finishing up a file, and getting the general gist of the topic, and getting used to the person’s intonation and speech pattern. Once you finish typing your file, go back and do a quick review. Listen to the audio again to make sure that the audio matches the text. Revise any text that was incorrect. Check online to make sure that you have correctly spelled the names of people and places, then smile and upload your document. You did it!
I love working with WWW! They have a very smart, kind, and friendly group of managers who are always available to help you with any concerns you may have about your file! Do you want to earn some extra income and have the flexibility of working from home at your own pace? Check Way With Words Jobs out HERE.
Jessica loves transcribing and everything language-related. When she’s not transcribing, she can be found taking a new foreign language course, walking, brewing coffee, or singing in the shower.