How to Start Transcribing Audio to Text
If your professional life requires you to record and transcribe audio often, then you are familiar with how difficult this part of the job can be. Indeed, there aren’t many tasks that prove more time-consuming than transcribing audio to text. You should plan for the transcription time to take at least twice as long as the length of the recorded text, but that could be much longer (think 5-10 times as long) if the transcriptionist is inexperienced, if there are multiple speakers, or if the audio quality is not good. Follow these three tips to maximize your efficiency.
Transcription Tip 1: Invest in the Right Equipment
Transcribing audio to text can be a painstaking process, so set yourself up for success with the gear that will make the task as easy as it can be. A good pair of headphones is essential, as background noise will interfere with your ability to effectively discern what the speaker is saying, especially if the audio file is of less than stellar quality.
Make sure you are set up with a comfortable office chair before transcribing audio to text, too. Don’t make the rookie mistake of camping out on the couch or your bed, comfortable as it may seem. You will need to be upright, comfortable, and supported to successfully attend to this task.
As transcribing audio to text is time-consuming, chances are you will be staring at your screen for longer than you might prefer. Downloading a screen shading app is a wise choice–this technology modifies the light emanating from your computer screen to reduce eye strain and fatigue and to fend off blue light that can disrupt sleep cycles.
Transcription Tip 2: Try a Dictation Tool
There are dictation tools available for individual use, and they can be helpful for speeding up the process of transcribing audio to text. Web-based word processing software often offers a voice-to-text or voice-typing tool. To cut down on the overall time your transcription takes, you can activate this feature.
Keep in mind that these tools, especially free versions, are not very sophisticated. They won’t be able to format the text into something you can use, they won’t be able to discern multiple speakers, and they will likely make many mistakes with homophones since they can’t use context to understand what’s being said like a human transcriptionist can. You will absolutely need to plan to edit, fix and format the transcript while you follow along with the audio.
Transcription Tip 3: Enlist a Professional
There is no getting around the fact that transcription makes major demands on your time. Even with the necessary equipment and tools, you may find that you or your employees’ time is better spent elsewhere. Consider hiring a professional transcription service. Professional transcriptionists make short and accurate work of transcribing the audio files cluttering up your to-do list, and free you up to dedicate your time and energy to other pursuits.
The best services are staffed by experienced professionals who have transcribed audio files for a wide range of purposes, and can adapt easily to their customers’ needs.