Audio content makes it easy to consume information. But sometimes, you need the recording turned into text for other uses–that’s where a transcriptionist comes in. Whether you are transcribing to extract pieces of data or turn the whole audio into text, it’s best to ensure the final copy reflects whatever is in the audio.
Transcription can be complex, especially if you have never tried it before. It is also time-consuming because you must play the audio back severally to capture everything. Other times, the source content isn’t audible and requires extra attention to transcribe.
The good news, you can always hire a professional transcriptionist to handle this project for you.
This post has been updated in September 2021.
Skills of a Transcriptionist
Generally, a transcriptionist’s job is to listen to audio and produce an accurate text copy. Nevertheless, there’s more to this job than meets the eye of the average John, Jane, and Jill.
Here is a list of skills that a transcriptionist does:
1. Understanding a Projects Needs (Reading Instructions)
Going through project instructions helps an expert understand its specific needs. Here is where they take the time to ask for clarifications, if any.
All professional freelancers don’t begin projects until all instructions are clear. Skipping this stage leads to simple mistakes that can become catastrophic later.
2. Listening to the audio
What process should you follow when turning a recording into text? Do you wear headphones, play the recording and start typing?
While this may work, you will spend longer than you would or struggle with context (especially) if the speaker is not audible.
On the other hand, a professional transcriptionist listens through the podcast to understand the context before typing anything.
Doing “cold listening” simplifies your work down the road because you know what to anticipate when you begin transcribing.
3. Ensure accuracy
The text you produce off audio should reflect the context in the source. Therefore, an expert transcriber’s most significant task is to create an accurate script.
Accuracy is a big deal: you don’t want to share wrong information, especially if the transcript is for official or public use.
Many times, expert transcribers for freelance platforms like Bunny Studios guarantee 98 to 100 percent accuracy.
4. Differentiate verbatim from non-verbatim
Transcription work is divided into verbatim and non-verbatim.
- Verbatim: also known as actual verbatim, this type of transcription tries to note down all the speaker’s words (in a recording), including filler words, e.g., uh, um.
- Non-verbatim: in this form of transcription, the transcriber turns audio to text while leaving out filler words and repetitions.
In essence, a transcriber works to understand project instructions and produces a copy that fits one of the above needs (either verbatim or non-verbatim).
5. Formatting and punctuating the script
Once the script is ready, it’s crucial to punctuate and format it to reader-friendly text.
Formatting can involve distinguishing speakers using different speaker tags or just breaking the script into paragraphs if the recording is a narration.
Transcribers also punctuate the final text into a script that’s easy to read. They know when to add essential punctuation marks, e.g., commas, full stops, etc.
Where to Find a Transcriptionist
Does the transcription process sound technical to you? What if other errands are already eating into your time?
Fortunately, you can outsource to an expert in this technological age.
Chat with us at Bunny Studio and know more about our transcription services
Remember, transcription work is “delicate.” So, don’t just pick any freelancer or company: vet and check their previous work before hiring.
So what are your options when looking to find a transcriber for your projects?
a) Transcriber from a Freelance Website
Many freelance sites that offer writing services have added transcription to their offerings, thanks to the increasing demand for transcribers.
Platforms like Bunny Studio vet, test, and add professional transcribers to its growing freelance team. Your role as the project owner is to prepare detailed guidelines of what you expect, and an expert will get cracking ASAP.
You can also request samples from freelancers before working with them. Spend time going through their script to ensure it matches the audio. Read it along with the audio to double-check script accuracy. Also, remember to check their formatting and punctuation.
Once you spot the right freelancer for the job, you can proceed to employ them. If you hire a transcriptionist from a freelance service, the platform acts as the intermediary between you and the transcriber. The site’s role is to ensure accuracy as per your instructions.
Freelance sites also facilitate communications and ensure your project completes in good time.
b) Work with a Transcription Company
Some companies specialize in transcription services. These firms sell their services for a fixed fee and handle your transcription professionally.
When looking to outsource a company, it’s important to scrutinize and check previous work before sharing your project details.
When looking to choose a service, look for stuff like:
- Reviews or what people say about their work
- Their social media presence
- Does it promise to keep your work confidential?
- Their prices versus other companies
Most of these companies charge a fixed rate for transcription services. Thus, all you have to do is prepare a detailed explanation of what you expect.
c) Hire a Solo Freelancer
While most transcribers register to sell their experience on freelance platforms, some build their online presence and win projects directly.
Solo workers handle everything on their own, from marketing their skills to job search and signing contracts.
Most of them have their own sites or search for projects on job boards that post opportunities for clients looking for solo freelancers.
In the end, getting an expert transcriptionist for your project depends on your vetting process.
Be thorough in checking their portfolios and past reviews by former clients. This lot can be tricky because they work without supervision.
The Qualities of a Competent Transcriptionist
Anybody can turn a recording into text, but only an expert understands the rules and best practices.
For instance, what do you do when you’re not sure of a word because it is not audible? Do you skip or assume it?
Well, ask the experts. These should be people with years of experience in transcribing content.
Experience matters because this job requires patience and a knack for correctness.
Remember, every little detail must appear as it is in the audio unless you give custom instructions (in which case the transcriptionist should follow).
So what are the details to check before you hire a transcriptionist:
i. Are they experienced in that type of Transcription?
As said earlier, experience is priority number one because transcription jobs vary in nature. For instance, when looking for a medical or legal transcriptionist, you must search for an expert who understands the niceties of the job.
Are they familiar with the jargon used in these types of work? For how long have they done medical or legal transcriptions?
Ask them to show past projects of the type of transcription you want.
Also, be sure to consider “types” in the context of verbatim and non-verbatim.
ii. Do they have a knack for accuracy?
The text you end up with should reflect the context in the source.
Remember, it’s wrong to share inaccurate information, especially if the transcript is for official or public use.
Expert transcribers should guarantee a 95+ percent accuracy. They must also be keen to edit the final text to perfection, making the script easy to read. Moreover, they should understand when to add essential punctuation marks.
iii. Can they work with speed?
In this era of info and data madness, most projects are time-bound and must be tackled as soon as possible. We know that producing a script for a recording is a daunting task, but this shouldn’t be an excuse to miss deadlines.
Missing a deadline can be annoying, especially if the content was time-bound, e.g., for a product launch or news.
If possible, organize a timed test to gauge a transcriber’s speed. If not, check out services that guarantee speedy delivery like Bunny Studio.
iv. Do they understand the importance of confidentiality?
You can’t compromise on privacy, especially if the audio contains information that you consider valuable and confidential.
Crucial business information, legal documents, medical info, etc., are all confidential documents. Hence, make sure your service provider understands the importance of privacy.
If possible, sign a non-disclosure agreement to hold someone accountable if the company/freelancer leaks your audio or shares it with someone else.
Hire a Freelance Transcriptionist From Bunny Studio
At Bunny Studio, we offer affordable transcription services for clients like you. We have a talented pool of transcribers ready to turn your recording into text in as little as 24 hours.
Submit the project details in a few steps and leave everything else to our friendly support agents and talented freelancers.
Bunny Studio also has an internal quality control team that goes through the deliverable to confirm script accuracy before sharing with clients.
If you need any corrections to the final work, we handle that too.
Whether you are transcribing to extract pieces of data or turn the whole audio into text, it’s best to ensure the final copy reflects whatever is in the audio.
Transcription can be challenging, especially for newbies. It is also time-consuming because you must play the same audio severally to capture everything. Other times, the source content isn’t straightforward and requires extra attention to transcribe.
Instead of going through this hassle, it’s better to outsource the task to a professional by:
- Searching for a freelancer on websites
- Posting your offer on a job board and get bids from solo transcribers
- Working with a transcription company
Submit the details now and hire an experienced transcriptionist from Bunny Studio to get an accurate script.