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The Main Challenges of a Transcriber


On the surface of it, transcription sounds pretty simple. To convert audio content into written form, one simply has to listen and write. How difficult can that possibly get? While transcribing is not rocket science, it isn’t that simple, either. Transcription comes with its own unique set of challenges that you must overcome to produce quality content.

Common Challenges Involved in Transcription

Do you have some transcription work and are considering handling it yourself? Perhaps you have a company, and instead of hiring specialized transcribers, you task your employees with the job in an effort to save some money. Does this approach really work? As you read on, you’ll discover that transcribing is not as straightforward as it sounds. Here’s what can possibly go wrong.

Inaudible Audio

It’s every transcriber’s dream to work on clearly audible audio, which makes the job that much easier. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes the content is marred by inaudible sections, poor sound, unfamiliar accents, background noise, and so on. Professional transcribers may utilize specific equipment or software to make the content more palatable. In the absence of such resources, the quality of the finished work will be compromised.

Industry-Specific Lingo

Every industry has its own terminologies that the layperson may not understand. As a transcriber, you may specialize in one or two fields, but you cannot be a jack of all trades. Whenever you attempt to transcribe content that is out of your niche, you’ll face unfamiliar terminologies, initials, brand names, personalities, and so on. You’ll have no choice but to pause the audio every so often so you can research the jargon, making the work slow and more tedious.

The trick here is to source audio transcription services from a reputable company. Such providers have a large pool of transcribers who specialize in different niches. Therefore, you can always find a team of professionals who matches your needs.

Decoding Group Conversations

Conversations with multiple participants present a whole new challenge in transcribing. Meetings, interviews, conferences, podcasts, and other engagements could have anywhere from two to tens of participants. The first challenge here is identifying who said what, so you could credit every statement to the right speaker. That is especially tasking if you’re dealing with an audio file as opposed to a video. Here, you must be keen on the smallest of details, such as tone, accent, volume, and any other aspect that differentiates a speaker from the rest.

In group conversations, you’re also likely to deal with overlapping voices, interruptions, background murmurs, and so on. In such situations, you can consider negotiating with the client so you do not have to provide a verbatim transcript.

Physical and Mental Fatigue

Transcribing can be exhausting in multiple ways. Physically, sitting down for hours strains your body and can lead to back pains. To avoid this, go for an ergonomic seat and practice the correct sitting posture.

Mental fatigue comes from hours of concentrating, trying to grasp every word. Sometimes, the audio files are long and tedious, especially if the topic at hand does not interest you in any way. Let’s say you’re transcribing a conversation about the World Cup, for instance, yet you’re not a fan of the sport at the very least. That makes the job even more tiresome.

When handling such lengthy and not-so-interesting topics, divide the content into segments and do them one at a time. Taking regular breaks serves to refresh your body and mind and give you the energy you need for your next task.

Meeting Strict Deadlines

How long does it take to transcribe an hour’s long audio? At average speed, this will take at least four hours. Depending on the quality of the audio file, the transcription process could take even a whole day. No matter the quality of the audio, you’re required to meet the deadline set by the client without fail. Sometimes, you’re out of time and have to negotiate for an extension. Some clients will graciously grant it, while others will take offense and may penalize or even terminate the working contract.

Transcribing is often a race against time, which is at times won, and at others not. Try to set your own deadlines hours before the official deadline so that in case of any delays, you won’t disappoint your client.

Final Word

We hope that you now have a bigger picture of what transcription entails. Fortunately, you don’t have to navigate the course by yourself. Expert transcription companies such as GoTranscript can take the job off your hands so you can concentrate on other aspects of your business. Transcripts offer not only an easy way of sharing information but also a crucial backup should anything happen to your audio or video files. For these benefits and more, outsource your audio transcription needs today.

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