Number of "inaudible"s in a transcript.
Thread poster: patyjs

patyjs  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:20
Spanish to English
+ ...
Nov 2, 2009

Hi everyone.

I'm curious to know how you all deal with the odd words and phrases that you simply can't catch when transcribing.

I submitted a transcription which admittedly had quite a lot (15 in a 45 minute audio, about 4000 words). The client (an agency) asked me to listen to it again because there were too many. Obviously, I had already listened as many times as the deadline allowed before I sent it back, but I agreed. I was able to confidently transcribe no more than 2 of these. I should make clear that we're talking about words or very short phrases and not whole passages. Others, I gave my best guess. I am left with about 6 which I am reluctant to even guess at (the context is medical).

I'd really like to know how others deal with this situation. The recording in question is quite good quality, and the speakers are, for the most part, understandable. There are just these odd times when I simply can't catch it. Does this happen to you?



Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:20
English to Spanish
+ ...
Someone else to listen Nov 2, 2009

You say the recording in question is quite good quality, and the speakers are, for the most part, understandable. Get someone else to listen to it and see how many more they can pick out.

We are not all blessed with the best of hearing, and I can say that applies to me also, my hearing is marginal. I have suffered when trying to understand audios. See if a person with sharp hearing can help you.

We were not all born to be transcribers.


José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:20
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Assigning blame Nov 3, 2009

Nobody wants to be the culprit for a transcribing job being impossible. I've had just too many such jobs that I had to turn down, as the "inaudible" part would be overwhelmingly larger than whatever was left.

So I wrote this article:

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.


patyjs  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:20
Spanish to English
+ ...
Thanks, Henry Nov 3, 2009

I had in fact already asked my husband (native Spanish speaker) to listen and he had trouble with exactly the same words. So it wasn't just me.icon_biggrin.gif

Thanks, Jose, your articles are very informative...I hope your/our clients read them, too. I had just read your other article on audio which you linked on another thread.

On a couple of occasions, when I went back to the audio, I immediately understood what was being said because I had forgotten what came before and therefore had no expectation of what I was going to hear. I used to teach and I know that the ability to predict can color one's success when listening to another language. In this case, however, the reverse was true. The interviewer said something like, "so in this case the treatment would be," inadaudible. On later listening this turned out to be "me decías" while I had been expecting to hear the name of a drug or therapy. I had been trying too hard to make it fit my prediction.

Thanks again.


Elizabeth Adams  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:20
Member (2002)
Russian to English
+ ...
earphones Nov 4, 2009

Hi Paty,
I have run into that problem before. Once someone else has listened to it, all you can do is mark it inaudible. That said, I accidentally discovered that when I use my ipod earphones the sound is much clearer than what I get out of my laptop's regular speakers. It was a big aha moment for me. So experimenting with external speakers and/or earphones might help in the long run.


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Number of "inaudible"s in a transcript.

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