Why are *transcription* jobs posted?
Thread poster: Robert Forstag
Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:49
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
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Oct 13, 2009

It never occurred to me to ask the question before, but transcription, like filing, typing, and routing phone calls, is a clerical function and doesn't seem to fall within the purview of anyone defining oneself as a language professional. "Proofreading" and "editing" represent tasks that language professionals do. But transcription?

It seems to me including this kind of work on the jobs board acts in a way to subtly devalue the services we provide. Or am I being too sensitive?

[Edited at 2009-10-13 16:09 GMT]


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Lutz Molderings  Identity Verified
Germany
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German to English
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transcription may also involve translation Oct 13, 2009

Maybe because transcription sometimes also involves translation.
I've only done one transcription so far. It involved both the translation and transcription of a 30min conversation.

But I agree. Transcription itself is more a clerical job.


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Daniel Šebesta  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
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English to Czech
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Linguistic knowledge may be required Oct 13, 2009

Robert,

I agree with you that this may often be a rather mechanical task that doesn't require much linguistic knowledge.

However, I've had transcription jobs that did. Sometimes people need a slightly reworded, "printable" transcription, without all the err's and mhm's, anacoluthons, and other features typical of spontaneous speech. Sometimes, on the other hand, you need to capture the speech extremely accurately, including pauses, hesitation, parallel speakers, tone of voice, etc., which may even involve some knowledge of conversation analysis.

I must admit that I don't like the regular, boring transcription jobs but I do include them in my service portfolio to offer a fuller range of services. Fortunately, this sort of transcription is not required very often.

Daniel


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Alessandra Martelli  Identity Verified
Italy
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Member (2009)
English to Italian
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My two cents Oct 13, 2009

Hi Robert

Transcription as a stand-alone service surely looks "off topic" to a language professional, but I have some regular customers who purchase transcription AND translation of conferences, meetings and so.

In such situations, transcription is not "clerical", but it is a step of a "one-two" service, and I actually don't feel ashamed or "less professional" for providing my customers what they actually need.

I would never type their correspondence or answer phone calls, but if they ask me to provide a transcription of a conference in English about - let's say - Hegel and his role in German idealism and then translate the conference speech into Italian.. well, I don't see anything wrong with it.

Have a nice evening


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
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TOPIC STARTER
To Alessandra Oct 13, 2009

Thank you for taking the time to respond.

Point taken, but you are referring to instances in which the transcription is part of a larger project. The postings I am referring to are stand-alone, and do not seem to involve conferences about Hegel or Croce.

Kind regards.


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Alessandra Martelli  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 13:49
Member (2009)
English to Italian
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That's a shame.. Hegel and Croce were great :-) Oct 13, 2009

Robert Forstag wrote:

Thank you for taking the time to respond.

Point taken, but you are referring to instances in which the transcription is part of a larger project. The postings I am referring to are stand-alone, and do not seem to involve conferences about Hegel or Croce.

Kind regards.


Dear Robert,

I guessed you were talking about stand-alone transcription jobs and, in such postings, I totally agree with you, unless some linguistic knowledge is involved in the process.

All the best


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Yolanda Broad  Identity Verified
United States
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MODERATOR
Job poster looking for someone outside own country's language Oct 13, 2009

Often, job posters need to find someone with dual language skills to transcribe material, when the job poster isn't posting from a country where the language is spoken. In such cases, a bilingual professional is needed to bridge the linguistic gap.

Note also that the description of what jobs may be posted on ProZ.com is:

ProZ.com's job posting system is provided solely for the purpose of announcing jobs of interest to language professionals. Postings that do not concern jobs, or that concern jobs that are not of interest to translators, interpreters or other language professionals, are not allowed.
http://www.proz.com/?sp=siterules&mode=show&category=jobs_posting


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:49
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
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TOPIC STARTER
To Yolanda--with postscript Oct 13, 2009

Thank you for your reply.

The postings that I've seen, relating to transcription of English text, typically do not require skills in any other language.

If work of this nature is considered appropriate for posting on this site, then why not drafting routine office correspondence, filing and data entry as well? After all, these duties also involve language skills....

P.S.

I do see what you mean in instances where, say, an agency in Spain needs someone to transcribe audio material into English. Yet, in most such cases, the work involved is still not something that would meet the criteria you have cited for posting on the Jobs Board here. In other words, a clerical task is a clerical task, wherever the provenance of the job.

[Edited at 2009-10-14 04:28 GMT]


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Why are *transcription* jobs posted?

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