The route to better transcription
April 20, 2009 6:19 AM   Subscribe

Looking for your transcription hints and tips!

I've just starting transcription (ie, typing from digital files) on a freelance basis. I'm doing fairly well but I'm sure there are load of ways I could work faster and more accurately - Word shortcuts, playback software (at the moment I use ExpressScribe), optimising the time it takes me to check things.

Are there any transcribers out there willing to share their hints and tips? Anything at all would be useful.

posted by low_horrible_immoral to Work & Money (6 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Are you working on a Mac or PC? On the mac side of things I'd suggest using "text expander"
posted by mathiu at 7:02 AM on April 20, 2009

Foot pedals to control playback!
posted by zachlipton at 8:21 AM on April 20, 2009

I'd second the foot pedals. I used them when I worked for a law office, and they were really easy to get used to. Made a huge difference, especially for those of us who remember rewinding tapes again... and again... and again trying to get the lyrics to songs :)

One thing I did recently that was pretty helpful even without foot pedals is that I just kept typing. So I'd type as far as I could go, and then pause while it kept going, and then when I felt like I could jump in again, I started going. So I'd get all the way through, and then I'd start again and fill in the gaps and check the stuff I'd already done. Plus it gives you a better sense of context than if you're constantly rewinding to get to the last sentence.
posted by Madamina at 10:07 AM on April 20, 2009

Get a USB foot pedal. will give you a good idea of what is available and what the prices are.

I recommend you use autotext in Word for things like signature blocks and industry specific terms.

I am happy to answer any specific questions. MeMail me if this will be helpful.
posted by Sheppagus at 2:05 PM on April 20, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers! Madamina I've started doing that too, w/regards to typing, and it's made a big difference.

Sheppagus - will do, many thanks.
posted by low_horrible_immoral at 12:49 AM on April 21, 2009

I'm a typist at a law firm. Here are a couple of things that came to mind:

As I believe is common practice with law firms, my company has a suite of templates set up for frequently used document types - letters, contracts etc. It saves a ton of time already having the formatting done if you get the same types of documents often. Plus I'm sure your clients would appreciate the consistency of formatting if they don't set their own requirements.

Being familiar with the keyboard shortcuts in Word saves a bunch of time. In addition to these, our firm has a bunch of macros installed for quick formatting.

You might also want to try an ergonomic keyboard if you don't already. For me, it took a little getting used to but now I swear by it. It's a lot more comfortable to use.

Good luck with your work!
posted by madforplaid at 2:44 AM on April 21, 2009

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