Hiring a transcriptionist for dictated translations
Thread poster: Samuel Murray

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:14
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Apr 16, 2009

G'day everyone

Speech recognition programs are not available in my language, so I'm considering the path of dictating translations and having them transcribed. Do any of you use such an approach at all?

I've done some web and forum research and I discovered that US and UK transcription services ask between USD 2.25 and USD 3.50 per minute of recording. In my own country (South Africa), the rate seems to be R750 per hour of recording (that is USD 1.40 per minute of recording).

If I speak at 60-80 words per minute, using a local service provider would cost me roughly USD 0.02 per word, for the transcription. I can't use a US or UK service because they don't speak my language

What kinds of audio does one normally give a transcriptionist? Do I go "comma", "full-stop", etc? Will the transcriptionist find it annoying if I use a PING sound to indicate end of paragraph? How do I spell difficult words (I mean, what do I say when I spell it)? Is it common to give the audio files in MP3 or similar?

What other advice can you give me about using transcription for dictated translation?

Thanks
Samuel


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:14
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Yes, you dictate all punctuation Apr 16, 2009

Hi Samuel,

Just as you suppose, you should say "comma", "full stop", etc. You should make sure you speak very clearly and pronounce all letters, including letters at the ends of words which would be lost in normal speech.

You should spell out any long or difficult words, but first briefly comment that you will do so: "Let me spell that", and then just spell it out as you would normally. It is unnecessary to go to such lengths as "A" for "apple", "B for book", etc.

I am not sure if a PING sound will be OK to indicate the end of a paragraph. Yes, I suppose it should be all right. It is more usual, when dictating, to mention the new paragraph. What I mean is, you come to the end of a paragraph and you just then say "New paragraph".

Yes, I believe MP3 is a popular file form for transcription.

Good luck!

Astrid


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:14
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Spelling words, and pinging Apr 16, 2009

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:
You should spell out any long or difficult words, but first briefly comment that you will do so: "Let me spell that", and then just spell it out as you would normally. It is unnecessary to go to such lengths as "A" for "apple", "B for book", etc.


I guess when I get a regular transcriptionist I could just ask her what she prefers. But if it were you, or if you have experience in preferences, which of these would be more preferred (notice that I'm using a short word as an example here)?

THE QUICK BROWN FOX [PAUSE] LET ME SPELL THAT [PAUSE] EF OH EX [PAUSE] JUMPS OVER THE LAZY DOG [PAUSE] FULLSTOP

THE QUICK BROWN [PAUSE] SPELLING [PAUSE] FOX EF OH EX [PAUSE] JUMPS OVER THE LAZY DOG [PAUSE] FULLSTOP

THE QUICK BROWN FOX [PAUSE] SPELLING EF OH EX [PAUSE] JUMPS OVER THE LAZY DOG [PAUSE] FULLSTOP

I guess it also depends if the transcriptionist use speech slowing or pausing/rewinding as her main approach. For speech slowing, the second option above might be most useful, for it will tend to prevent unnecessary rewinds. For pausing/rewinding transcriptionists, I think the first or third method might be more welcome. But I'm speculating here...

I am not sure if a PING sound will be OK to indicate the end of a paragraph. Yes, I suppose it should be all right. It is more usual, when dictating, to mention the new paragraph. What I mean is, you come to the end of a paragraph and you just then say "New paragraph".


My reason for a PING is that "new paragraph" is a tongue twister in my own language, presumably more so when the jaw is tired.

Most of my paragraphs will be single sentenced anyway. My idea is to take the unformatted transcription, align it with the unformatted source text, create a TM, and manually run through the translation one segment at a time -- at that stage I can also proofread my own translation and add necessary formatting. Or I can use the TM to create an uncleaned file and give it to a reviewer and let him what he does best.

[Edited at 2009-04-16 22:15 GMT]


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:14
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
The first option Apr 17, 2009

Hi Samuel,

The first option out of the three would probably be the most usual, and the easiest for the transcriptionist. However, as you say, when you find a transcriptionist you can also ask her opinion on that.

After working with her for a little while, you will also find out which words she can already spell, and which she likes to have spelt out - and you can also discuss with her how strong her spelling abilities are before you begin working with her. It might be unnecessary to spell out most of the possible words if she is already a good speller, and it would be useful to both parties if words are not spelt out unnecessarily. If she is a very good speller, it may even be possible to restrict it to proper names.

I don't think she will mind the "ping", and will get used to it very quickly, and it does not matter whether she understands it to mean the end of one paragraph or the beginning of the next, as long as she starts a new paragraph when she hears it.

I hope everything works out well.

Best regards,

Astrid


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 19:14
English to Croatian
+ ...
Confidentiality? Apr 20, 2009

I don't think I could disclose the content of my (paid) translation work to anyone, if I'm bound with an NDA or similar.

Other than that, the whole idea sounds appealing.

[Edited at 2009-04-20 16:23 GMT]


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