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What is transcription? What does a transcriber do?

22 Jun

One of the jobs I really enjoy – and which can really free up your time if you outsource it – is transcription.

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.

Want to learn more? Read my book: A Quick Guide to Transcription as a Career – buy from Amazon UK or visit the book’s web page for worldwide links and news.

 
 

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24 responses to “What is transcription? What does a transcriber do?

  1. transcribe

    August 18, 2011 at 7:41 am

    The transcripts serve as an imperative tool for the researchers. They can be utilized for further analysis and future research. Transcribers are a part of this process called transcription.

     
  2. flora

    January 20, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    hy, thank you so much for the information just saw a the word transcriber and wondered what it, its really interesting. are there any online paying sites for transcription that you could recommend. thank you in advance

     
    • Liz at Libro

      January 20, 2014 at 4:47 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Flora. I would advise having a look through all of the resources I’ve got on transcription before you go looking for jobs in it, as it’s quite a specalised and demanding role. Then have a read about how I look for freelance work – see the indexes and resource guides in the right-hand margin of this website (or read my book on the topic!). Best of luck if you decide to go into it – it can be very interesting work!

       

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