transcription - how to
Thread poster: Valérie Lopez

Valérie Lopez
Switzerland
Local time: 04:51
English to French
+ ...
Sep 29, 2013

Hello,

I am working on my first transcription job, ever.

I would like to ask some technical how to:

the recordings are short sequences of reports on client's visits.

There are hesitations and things like "he had or rather he has been"
what do you write? the whole thing or rather the final version?
Also, if something is said incorrectly do you write the correct grammar form or rather leave it as is?

THanks for your help, I have not really found anything that answer these precise questions, but if the answers are somewhere, don't hesitate...


 

Clara Chassany  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 05:51
Member (2012)
Finnish to French
+ ...
ask the client Sep 29, 2013

Hello Valérie,

I would suggest you to ask the client what he wants exactly, there are many types of transcription and basically it all depends on the context it will be used afterwards.

You might find this article interesting http://www.etranscriptionjob.com/Transcription-types-and-formats.html

Best regards

[Edited at 2013-09-29 16:41 GMT]


 

Valérie Lopez
Switzerland
Local time: 04:51
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Sep 29, 2013

Hi Clara,

I did end up asking them when i submitted the document.
I did as I thought the most appropriate given the content.

Have a good week ahead


 

Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:51
English to Spanish
+ ...
Stay away from transcription Sep 29, 2013

You are a translator, not a transcriptionist. A transcriptionist earns a lot less than a translator, so you are wasting your time doing that kind of work. Have one of them do it for you and then you do the translation.

 

KKastenhuber  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 04:51
Russian to German
+ ...
I disagree Sep 29, 2013

Henry Hinds wrote:

You are a translator, not a transcriptionist. A transcriptionist earns a lot less than a translator, so you are wasting your time doing that kind of work. Have one of them do it for you and then you do the translation.


I think you're over-simplifying things here. Transcription is not as trivial a task as it is often said to be. Also, since you don't know the rate the topic starter negotiated for the job, I guess you can't just state that "a transcriptionist earns a lot less than a translator". I for myself can safely say that I have completed many transcription tasks that ended up being more lucrative than translation projects.


 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 10:51
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
By instinct Sep 30, 2013

As long as it's not "wrong", it shouldn't be an issue. So either is fine.

There are exceptions, of course. I've done social work/psychology interviews where it is important to note down the interviewee's non-verbal responses as well. And since I type as I listen, I'll transcribe a lot of these utterances anyway.


 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:51
Russian to English
+ ...
I agree with Henry -- stay away from transcription. It is totally different than translation Sep 30, 2013

There are people specially trained to do it --many secretaries -- professional secretaries. They have special equipment to make it easier -- which slows down the text, at times, and allows for easy pauses. I am not sure if transcriptionists earn that much less-- it depends. They probably earn at least $30-50/hour.

Court reporters are top transcriptionists who perform the transcription task through the use of a special coding system and special equipment. They are very expensive. (more within the range of $600-1000 for 8 hours).

If you do transcriptions, you have to take down everything -- every single sound. It is for the client then to decide what to eliminate. (If it is for any other purpose than legal -- in legal texts they cannot take out anything)

I transcription of an one hour audio recording costs at least $600 if you do it through a professional agency.




[Edited at 2013-09-30 09:57 GMT]


 

KKastenhuber  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 04:51
Russian to German
+ ...
No, no, no Sep 30, 2013

LilianBNekipelo wrote:

There are people specially trained to do it --many secretaries -- professional secretaries.


That doesn't mean that a translator can't (learn to) do it, too, does it? Some translators happen to be pretty fast typists and are perfectly qualified to do transcription, so why should they (we) stay away from it? I agree it's different from translation, but then again, there are many translators who happily edit, teach or provide DTP services, and those are quite different from translating, too.

They have special equipment to make it easier -- which slows down the text, at times, and allows for easy pauses. I am not sure if transcriptionists earn that much less-- it depends. They probably earn at least $30-50/hour.


There is lots of easy-to-use software out there that does this, some of which is available for free. If you want to be even faster, you can also buy a foot pedal, but I've found that to be unnecessary as it increases my speed only very slightly, compared to when I'm using transcription software only.

If you do transcriptions, you have to take down everything -- every single sound. It is for the client then to decide what to eliminate. (If it is for any other purpose than legal -- in legal texts they cannot take out anything)


This does not correspond to my experience at all. I always ask the client about how detailed they need the transcription to be and the instructions they give me differ hugely, depending on what the transcription is needed for. If it's data that is to be analyzed for a linguistics paper, you might have to go into great detail, carefully noting down pause lengths, self-corrections, para-verbal anomalies, accentuation, etc. If it's for, say, social research, you might be asked to write down everything that is relevant to the content and ignoring everything else. And if it's an interview for a magazine, you might even be asked to slightly (or heavily) edit the original utterances, so the text is smoother to read. My advice is: Ask before you start! It can save you and your client a great amount of time and grief.

Finally: It's best to first find out what exactly is being asked of you (and maybe ask to hear a sample, so audio quality issues can be ruled out), then quote, not the other way around. Whether or not transcription is lucrative depends on the complexity of the task and on the rate you negotiate. I personally don't mind doing transcription at all and find it to be an excellent complement to the other language services I provide.

[Edited at 2013-09-30 11:12 GMT]


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:51
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
What is the end purpose? Sep 30, 2013

You need to find out what the end purpose of the transcription is. If you're transcribing prior to translating the text, you need to find out what the end purpose of the translation is too.

I once had to transcribe an hour-long interview of a famous rock star. Full of "ya know" "kinda" "in some fashion". I cut most of it, but left some in to show that it was speech rather than a written magazine interview. The guy was pretty incoherent, and in more than one question ended up contradicting himself.

The file was then translated into French, and the translator rang up to find out whether he really was that bad or whether I might not have misunderstood the text. After all, I'm pure Brit and this was America's Flavour of the Year... maybe I didn't catch some bits? She also saw fit to cut out some of the fillers, smoothing out some of the roundabout, vaguely nonsensical meanderings in the process. I think she probably couldn't face producing a text that truly reflected just how poor the rock star's oral expression was.

And yet, the client - the record label - was furious with us for making the rock star look like an idiot! We hadn't known that it was to be printed up as a freebie with his new CD. Of course we would have had to bill for editing...


 

Valérie Lopez
Switzerland
Local time: 04:51
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you so much all of u Sep 30, 2013

Hi guys,

I love the way any topic turns into a wonderfully expressed point of view sharing opportunity.

thank you for all the insights and illustrations all!

Have a beautiful busy week ahead guys!!


 
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transcription - how to

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