Transcription Tips – Transcriptionist Best Practices

Hello out there in cyber space! On this wonderful Friday at the end of September, I want to share some tips that will help you be a more professional and trusted transcriber, whether you’re working for a company, or you’re a freelancer. Business, government agencies, private institutions and everyday citizens rely on transcriptionists to get the job done with minimal hassles. By following a few simple guidelines, you can make yourself a more valuable asset to your transcription clients.

Be Realistic

My first word of advice is to never accept more work than you think you can handle comfortably and within the deadline specified by the client. People will usually understand if you can’t take a high volume of work, but they will be very upset if you DO take work, and then you fail to complete it up to snub or on time.

In addition to the needs of the clients, you have to consider the long term implications of how much work you take in over time. Pace yourself! Many transcribers burn about because they start by taking as much work as possible and get in way over their heads. For a while you might manage to get it all done but remember, you’re in it for the long haul.

Be Honest

Honesty is always the best policy. Stick to the truth and the facts and people will begin to trust you. Never inflate your page count or labor metrics in any way. Sure, you might be tempted sneak a few dollars extra here and there, but people notice, and they do NOT like it. Like I said earlier, your in this game for the long haul. The best asset you have is your reputation, and honesty get you a long way to trust, once you can be trusted by a client they will be much more willing to send you their work.

Another point about honesty, if you happen to make a mistake, fess up to it right away! Be honest and genuine and fix the transcript errors without complaint or additional charge. Everyone makes mistakes, were only human after all, but if you make them, own them, and show your merit as an ethical person and learn from your mistakes.

Get the Details and Get It Right

Make sure to ask for every specific detail about the job BEFORE you receive the transcription work. Prepare yourself by reviewing the exact requirements of the project and you will spend more time typing and less time fixing problems at the end. You only get paid for the work performed, not for figuring out how everything should look once its all done. With that in consideration, make sure you and the client are on the same page (pun intended) on all the specifics before the typing starts so that you don’t ever have to go back and fix things that could have been avoided.

Here are a few things to hash out with the client before starting a new transcription project:

  • Transcript template
  • Formatting
  • Font and style of text
  • Margins
  • Time code requirements and formats
  • Headers and file names

There are many more things to consider, once you build a relationship with the client they will appreciate you knowing exactly what they want and how they want it.

Do Your Best Every Time

Always do your best work, its simple. I think were about done for this article, but if your interested in receiving more articles like this via e-mail, please sign up for our mailing list (below or on the right hand side bar.) We provide tips on transcription like this, industry updates, technology spotlights, and much more.

Keep your fingers nimble and you shoulders loose, oh yea and if possible, use an ergonomic keyboard (click to read an article about the benefits of ergonomic keyboards).




CloudScript: The Future of Transcription Workflow

Word Wizards is proud to present our newest service, CloudScript!

Over 30 years of working in the media transcription industry has provided our team with rare and valuable insight into how and why people need our transcription services. We have noticed an important trend in the past few years, the name of the game these days is speed, convenience, and price. Production teams must to be able to work faster, more efficiently, and at lower operating costs than ever before to survive. Well, we have designed CloudScript to answer the call for a new solution.

Stated simply, CloudScript lets you click on any time code in your transcript and jump to that point in the audio or video file. Using a simple online form you can instantly convert any transcript with time code into a “media-synced” transcript. CloudScript is intended to make your workflow easier while writing, editing, producing or otherwise working with transcripts.

Watch our short video below for a quick demonstration!

Visit the CloudScript Home Page and Sign Up for your free trial Today!

 




Transcription Tech: A Salute To The Foot Pedal

When we first got into the transcription game, the technology of the foot pedal was top secret and complicated. In fact, we had to pay a private engineer to make our transcription foot pedal system to work properly in conjunction with our secret time code technology. Almost every component in the primordial transcription system was analog, and our competition still doesn’t know how we did it. (little do they know, it was magic! Remember, we’re wizards :)

Your a wizard!
Never forget, we're the original Word Wizards!

Snap to the modern day and we find that foot pedal transcription systems are a dime a dozen, and can be bought cheaply off the shelf. Unfortunately, the innovation of controlling audio or video transcription software by foot pedal is vastly under appreciated. So today I just wanted to give a quick salute of appreciation to the the one that always works “under foot” and never seems to complain. We remind all of our fellow transciptionists that when foot pedals hit the scene, productivity increased to the point where this industry became a full time job.

Always under foot of a good transcription and never complained once!
Respect the pedal...

If you don’t agree with me, just try to transcribe your next 5 hour job without one of these little wonders to help you. Manually pressing the play, pause, and rewind button reduces transcription productivity and efficiency by 50% or more! The transcription world will forever be in debt to the one who took this secret time saver and brought it to the masses. Now the only question is which one do you choose?

Beware The Foot Clan!
Just don't team up with the Foot Clan! (please forgive the Ninja Turtles reference)



The Joys of Dropbox

I’ve been late to the party most of my life, so it’s no surprise to me that I’ve only now discovered Dropbox, while I’m sure the rest of the world has moved onto the Next Big Thing. But that’s okay, I’m here to tell you that I’ve spent a fair amount of time flailing about the Cloud to no avail. Mostly I’ve been working through Apple’s buggy MobileMe service, which Apple converted to iCloud when they updated Mac OS X late this summer. But it has its limitations with our despotic router, mostly with reliability. I keep asking myself this question: if I go home without today’s work on a flash drive, can I get to my data at work if something comes up? The answer always seems to be, “Possibly, but probably not tonight.”

Similarly, I’ll inevitably forget some—or all—of my work at home and rather than have to go home and get it, I’d really like to be able to log into my computer at home and retrieve the data. But the answer to the question, “Can I log onto my Mac at home through Back to My Mac?” is a fairly steady, “No.” Our router does not allow shenanigans of this nature. Honestly, this router would be right at home leading a large, Central-European country in the 1930s (whose ancestors are also famous for sacking Rome, probably because there was nothing on TV that night).

There are plenty of solutions. Most corporate entities employ some form of VPN scheme, but that usually means having to configure your router and employ VPN clients, which is an allocation of IT resources that doesn’t make sense when all you did was foolishly forget your work at home. I imagine I could enable my iMac at home to allow me to tunnel in via SSH (all Macs are essentially Unix boxes at heart) and retrieve the data that way if I had to. But ick. And asking our router to do anything it doesn’t want to do is like asking Queen Latifah if she likes girls or boys: it’s apparently none of my business.

Enter Dropbox. The beauty of this software is that a) it exists on multiple computing platforms, meaning Mac, Windows, mobile operating systems, even Linux; and b) it’s free. It’s like having your data on a flash drive that you can access from any of your computers or mobile devices, but that you don’t have to put in your pocket. Dropbox, in short, means never having your data put through the laundry.

I could take space up here describing what it is, but the Dropbox folks do it better (which saves me from having to do it at all). Suffice to say that it’s changing my life. And it’s saving my company money: I think I may have put our last flash drive through the wash.

 




Word Wizards Launches Video Logging Interactive Service

Word Wizards Inc. was an original pioneer of the commercial transcription industry. We were one of the first firms in the world to offer transcription with time code, and have continued to innovate throughout our years in business. Our original service package of transcription and graphic design services has grown to include a laundry list of post production and design solutions.

Write up on the “new” transcription with time code service by Word Wizards Inc. in VIDEOGRAPHY Magazine, 1997

Word Wizards’ latest innovative service is called Video Logging Interactive (VLI). With VLI we seek to further simplify the post production process by combining our expertise in different areas like never before. This new project is years in development and enables our video production clients access to their transcriptions and logging meta data like never before. For more information on Video Logging Interactive, click here to see the VLI page on this website.




Audio Description: Legally Required Starting November

 

Word Wizards Inc., now offers a complete solution for creating broadcast, internet, or YouTube media with Audio Description for blind and low vision individuals. We are working non-stop to help prepare our clients for the beginning of The 21st Century Accessibility Act’s enforcement in October of 2011. In October, video content providers under the laws of the U.S.A. Federal Government will be required to provide a significant amount video that includes audio descriptive media. At least 50 hours of audio description content will be required by ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, and the top five non-broadcast networks. Click the following link for more information regarding our Audio Descriptive Content Solutions.

To see an example of Audio Description in action, click the following link

http://www.longtailvideo.com/support/jw-player/22/making-video-accessible#Accessibilty_Example

Follow this link for an overview of the legislation as it appears on the website of The National Association of the Deaf.

http://www.nad.org/issues/civil-rights/communications-act/21st-century-act