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Editing Transcriptions Editing Transcriptions

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Editing transcriptions can be tricky.  There are two ways to do it, and I definitely prefer one over the other.  I can take what a transcriptionist has typed while listening to the recording and edit that into logical sentences, correct spelling and a layout that quickly tells the reader who said what.  That's the hard way because I'm just reading words, not listening to the speaker at the same time. 

The easier way (notice I didn't say easy - transcriptions are never easy because recording conditions and speakers' voices are rarely ideal) is to listen to the original recording while editing what the transcriptionist wrote.

The huge advantage of the latter is that I always hear words the transcriptionist didn't, and catch words and phrases they completely misinterpreted.

I've also been the transcriptionist and done the subsequent editing after an author's original attempt to use a voice-activate transcribing service failed.

When I edit a transcription, I prefer to have the recording to listen to, at least for my first read-through. My last such job was for a designer of dental offices, and he not only mumbled a lot or turned away from his microphone, he used many medical terms. The transcriptionist had guessed at what he was saying. Because I spent much of my childhood in a dental chair, I knew quite a few of the terms. The rest I looked up on the Internet. It also helped that I understand "deep" Texas accents!

The speaker wanted his seminar lectures and Q&A sessions turned into a book, and that's what we did.
Before you hire a transcriptionist or transcription editor, here are some things to find out:

    • Are they familiar with the topic?
    • Do they know how to do searches on the Internet?
    • Are they able to turn rambling sentences, half-finished sentences, interruptions, etc., into something coherent AND interesting to the reader while maintaining the "voice" of the speaker and tone of the content?
    • Are they able to meet your standards for layout?

For the last one, you have to know what your standards are. No fair saying, "Well, you're the professional. You tell me what it should look like."


Saturday, April 01, 2006  |  Permalink |  Comments (0)
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