Basically, transcription involves listening to a recording of something and typing the contents up into a document, which is then returned to the client, giving them a written record of what’s on the recording. Typically, this will be an interview – which might be something a journalist has undertaken with someone they’re writing about, or part of a study, where a researcher has interviewed subjects and needs to record their responses. It can take absolutely ages to type out a recording like this – much longer than you think it will, particularly if you don’t type very fast!
When I learnt to audio-type, it was all done with tapes and a special pedal you pressed to play and rewind the recording. These days, although you can still get the pedals, it can all be done with MP3s, some special software (I use some provided free by NCH) and the function keys on the keyboard take the place of the pedals. You can even speed up or slow down the playback.
The time it takes to transcribe a recording depends on several factors:
- the speed at which the people are talking
- the number of people talking
- the clarity of the recording (background noise, phone interview … )
- the clarity of the speaking voices (accents, speaking English as a second language, mumbling … )
If you’ve got lots of interviews to transcribe or need to have a dictation, a lecture, a radio programme or a presentation turned into text, it’s worth contacting a professional transcriber like me to do it for you.
Pricing for transcription is here.
Related posts on the Libro blog: Learn why humans are better at transcription than machines, find out how to develop a career in transcription, and learn about the tools of the trade.