How to Transcribe in 5 Simple Steps

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Whenever you have an interview with someone or when you record a speech or meeting, these audio files can be converted to text and published on your website for the sake of followers who would rather read than listen, and to help with your SEO.

While there are a number of audio-to-text software packages, they can’t be relied on to produce a high-quality transcript except in cases where the audio is very clear. Additionally, some software needs to be trained to recognize individual voices before they can produce a good transcript. Therefore, it is essential to have the files transcribed manually for the purpose of accuracy. Transcription, however, does not come easy. You have to train yourself to listen carefully and type fast. This article highlights some of the tips that you can follow to help you transcribe easily:

  1. Listen to the entire audio first

Before you start transcribing, you should first play the entire audio. This is important for two key reasons. One, it allows you to familiarize yourself with the content of the audio. Two, you will be able to transcribe faster and more accurately when you listen to the audio first. When you listen, pay keen attention to the words, listening carefully without writing anything. Once you are done, you can get ready to transcribe.

  1. Choose your transcription software

If the audio is clear, you can transcribe using speech recognition software such as Dragon Naturally Speaking. However, when you use such software, the transcript is not 100% accurate and so you will often still have to go back and listen while you edit. For audios with multiple speakers and background sounds, the best approach is to transcribe them manually. To do this, you will need your computer, a good set of earphones and transcription software. The most common transcription software is Express Scribe or InqScribe. You can use the free version for audio files (for the video files, you will require the paid version).

  1. Adjust the speed of audio

After downloading and installing Express scribe, load your audio file, press play and start typing in a text editor as you listen. You can reduce the speed of the audio, pause, rewind and speed up the audio using the hot keys. Press F2 for slower speeds, F3 to increase the speed, F7 to rewind, F4 to stop, F9 to play, F8 to fast forward and F10 for real speed. These are just the default settings, and you can adjust the keys to perform different functions.

  1. Avoid too much rewind

In order to transcribe fast, avoid rewinding too much. If something is not clear after listening a couple of times, mark it as inaudible and come back and listen again once you are done with the entire audio. At times you may have to consult your dictionary or the search engine to check some words or phrases that sound unfamiliar. Transcribing one hour of audio should take 3 to 6 hours depending on one’s typing speed and the quality of the audio.

  1. Proofread and edit

Once you are done, proofread your work and edit. Play the video again as you read through the text. Fix any grammar issues to ensure that the video has a good flow. Go through the final document at least twice; those who view the transcript will not take any grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes lightly, so make sure do a perfect job.

Skills you need to transcribe well

English: A transcribe needs to have a good command of English. One should easily recognize spoken words and write them correctly. They should be able to differentiate words that sound the almost the same but have different spelling and meanings like their and there, and two and too.

Listening skills: The accuracy of the final transcript depends on the listening skills. Some speakers talk too fast and some have unclear accents and thus you need a good listening ear to accurately write what they are saying.

Patience: Some audios can be really unclear and thus you have to listen again and again before you clearly get what the speaker is saying. This requires a lot of patience.

Typing speed: A typing speed of 40 words per minute is recommended otherwise one takes too long on one audio. And when you take too long on one task it ruins productivity.

Transcribing is essential for any business that produces audio content such as podcasts or videos. However, it is a process that requires skills, time and. It is therefore often better to outsource the task to a professional transcriber so that you have enough time to focus on other business processes. To learn more about how we can help with transcription, please feel free to contact us and our team will be happy to assist you.