Transcription is a type of online job where you, as a transcriptionist, listens to an audio or video file, and then converts it into a text file by typing words down as you hear them.
The transcribed document is referred to as a transcript, and it is the file that you deliver to your client for transcription work.
Transcription is a great way to make audio-only content to be more accessible to people who don’t consume content the way the majority of people do. For videos, transcripts are great compliments to close captions.
When transcribing a file, there are two main formats you can follow:
- Verbatim transcription and
- Non-verbatim transcription.
Main Types of Transcription Practices
1) Verbatim Transcription
Verbatim transcription is a type of audio or video transcription that records the exact words and phrases (word for word) of a speech, interview, or other recorded statement.
It is intended to be read by itself and should not convey information that was not said directly by the speaker.
This type of transcription is generally used for court proceedings and transcribed interviews where accuracy is the most important factor.
It's different from conventional transcription in that the goal is to produce text that sounds as close as possible to the original speech, using all the sound effects, filler words, and repetitions included in the recording.
2) Non-verbatim Transcription
Non-verbatim transcription focuses on producing clean transcripts, and thus eliminates all unnecessary utterances such as ‘thinking noises’ (um, err, I mean…), fillers, throat clearing, laughter, background noises, etc.
You may also be required to clean up incomplete sentences when doing a non-verbatim transcription job.
The decision to use verbatim or clean transcription largely depends on the preference of your clients or the company that you work for.
While many people don’t really think about it, there are two major transcription processes. One is where you transcribed within the same language, and the other is where the final transcript ends up in a different language than the one used in the original recording.
The steps involved vary in each case, so let’s take a look.
a) Monolingual Transcription
This is where the required transcript is in the same language as the main language in the provided audio or video recording. This is perhaps the main type of transcription process that you will use. Here, no translation is required.
b) Bilingual Transcription
With Bilingual transcription, you are provided an audio recording in one language, say English, and then you are required to transcribe it into another language, say French.
In this case, you may need to know the two languages or have someone else translate the transcript produced into the required language.
As you can tell, there are two approaches to bilingual transcription:
Single-stage transcription: With this approach, you listen to audio, translate the statement in your mind, and then type down the transcript in the second language as go along. You do need to be fluent in both languages to use this approach.
Two-stage transcription: This is where you first transcribe the file in the original language, and then you translate it into the requested language. In this case, you end up with two transcripts.
These kinds of jobs aren’t common, as companies with such needs prefer to hire different people to do the monolingual transcription, and then have the transcripts translated by another freelancer who is an expert translator.
Types of Transcription Jobs
The most common type of transcription job is general transcription. These kinds of jobs don’t require specialized knowledge to do and often pay a standard rate.
There are however specialized transcription jobs that can pay as high as $2 per line transcribed.
- Medical transcription
- Legal transcription
- Software/ coding / programming transcription
- Academic transcription
To be able to work as a transcriptionist, you may need the following equipment and tools:
- Noise-canceling headlines
- Laptop or a desktop computer
- Transcription software like ExpressScribe
- A document editor (Google Docs or Microsoft Word)
- Access to high-speed internet
Benefits of Transcription
There are a few reasons why businesses need transcripts of their recordings:
a) Accessibility: By transcribing audio files, businesses ensure that their content can be consumed by people with hearing challenges.
b) Repurposing: Audio files and videos are just but a few types of content. By transcribing these files, businesses get to repurpose their content into other forms, opening new use cases such as social media copy, blog posts, etc.
c) Flexibility: Sometimes readers may not be able to consume video content in video-sensitive areas such as libraries. Having transcripts ensure that people can still engage with your content.
d) Compliance: In the US, the Rehabilitation Act requires that you provide closed captions for video content.