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).




Transcription Gear: Typing Gloves

If you have every experienced the pains of long term typing fatigue, you know that it can be excruciating. Word Wizards is dedicated to taking care of our professional transcription typists, and we have a new product that seems to help relieve / prevent some of the strain. Presenting, handy dandy typing gloves!

Transcription Gloves in ActionClose up photo of transcription typing gloves.

 

These gloves are for the hardcore transcription professional. Day after day, hour after hour, our transcribers pound away at the keyboard. A lifetime of this abuse starts to add up, and eventually, the transcription professional’s most valuable tools, their hands, start to feel the damage. Its a serious problem, both for those who type for a living, and for those who employ them.

Valery gives a thumbs up while wearing transcription gloves.

It is our duty to take good care of our dedicated transcription specialists, and we have offered to purchase these gloves for our employees who want them. Remember, these gloves wont solve all your problems, the rigors of professional transcription are not for the faint of finger. However, its the little things that add up to preserve yourself in this profession, which is why were happy to provide anything that benefits our transcriptionists and keeps them operating at 100%.




Transcription Gear: Tinted Glasses Reduce Eye Strain

Word Wizards, Inc. is proud to boast that we take care of our transcription work force. As with any business, keeping our human capitol healthy is paramount to productivity, and more importantly its the right thing to do. We have long insisted that our staff use Ergonomic Keyboards while transcribing to reduce the chance of work related Carpal tunnel syndrome. We are constantly looking for new ways to take care of our loyal transcribers, and are now investigating the merit of a new innovation that can help keep everyone a bit more comfortable.

Look cool, and stay comfortable!

Look cool and feel good!

Have you ever stared at a computer screen for hours at a time and felt the burn of computer related eye strain? Do you work in an environment with blinding halogen lights and or florescent bulbs beating at your brain? Fortunately for you, recent advances in computer eye wear can relieve some of the pain and woe associated with long hours in front of the screen. Our transcription staff has long complained of the painful consequences of staring at a screen for hours on end, and we are hoping that the use of this cool product could help keep everyone a little bit more comfortable.

Transcribe in style and comfort:

Look and feel good

There are many options out there for computer glasses. We are now recommending that our transcriptionists use a pair of these glasses while working for long periods of time. Some are more expensive than others and some can even be outfitted to your existing eye wear prescription. Lets face it, transcription work can be somewhat tedious and boring, and it can be even worse if your eyes start to get fatigued after hours on the job. Word Wizards welcomes any opportunity to keep our people feeling good, especially when the work never stops rolling in and our people are transcribing at maximum capacity.




Understanding Professional Transcription Services

When the Word Wizards go out into the world, we often get asked the question, “what does a transcription company do and why would someone need that?” As always, simple questions require not so simple answers. As defined by Wikipedia, “A transcription service is a business which converts speech (either live or recorded) into a written or electronic text document.” In truth, the function and value a transcription service provides depends on the clients’ specific needs.

For example, a video producer with 12 hours of raw documentary footage will look to us for a much needed time code transcript. Our expert transcriptionists provide a time stamp every 30 seconds that corresponds directly to the footage, as it would appear in the video editing software. This enables a producer or editor to quickly search through their footage and identify and isolate specific portions of their media.

Example of a transcript with Time Code for use by a video producer.
An example of a transcript in MS Word with Time Code for use by a video production company.

Another example, consider a legal expert that has recorded the audio from a 5 hour deposition. In this situation, our clients require transcription services for the production of an accurate text document containing a verbatim account of everything spoken in the session. Thus quality, accuracy, and timeliness is essential to ensure the legal integrity of the transcript.

A cartoon demonstrating the stress of not using a good transcription company.

The world of professional transcription services is always changing and evolving to meet the demands of the current marketplace. Some professionals no longer use a service to provide transcripts preferring instead to implement less than accurate speech to text software like Dragon Naturally Speaking. In the past medical transcription was a highly specialized and highly valued service, now with speech to text, the same service comes off the shelf in a shiny new box.

When Word Wizards began providing transcripts for professional use, we were literally the only game in town. Now we must fight to compete in the global economy, where budget concerns are causing our clients to look overseas for cheaper options, ignoring the lack of quality, accountability, and confidentiality.

A Graphic depicting the global economy in the form of a sphere with flags of each country in 3 D
Welcome to the global economy!

To our great delight, the old saying holds true; you get what you pay for. Furthermore, we wouldn’t be called Wizards if we didn’t have some innovative new ways of adding extra value to our transcription process such as captioning and I.V.L (Interactive Video Logging). Even now we are working on a secret new project that will change the game in the industry, just like we did when we first started adding time code to our transcripts in the early 90s.

A manilla folder with the words top secret in red inside a red box
Shhh!!!

Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion with release of our new transcription service, but for now, “The Mogul Project” will remain top secret.