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  • Writer's pictureKatie Millan

Manual Transcription: What is it and what's in it for you?


 

“You’re the first transcriptionist I’ve ever met. What do you do? Isn’t it just typing?”

“I don’t know what transcription is.”

“Oh, I just use Otter or Rev for that.”

 

I can guarantee with 100% certainty that I will be asked or told at least one, if not all three of these comments at any networking or business event I attend. Maybe, it’s because there’s a misconception that transcriptionists are antisocial vampires: we’re all night creatures suffering severe social anxiety that sleep in our home offices only coming out after dark to drink printer fluid.

scary man at night

Having been so immersed in the world of transcription for the last 10 years, (yes, I will admit, I live in my home office, but I swear, I don’t drink printer fluid- more coffee than is recommended , but not printer fluid), I just naturally assumed it was common knowledge: how transcription was done, what it was used for and who used it. Well, we all know what assuming things does...


Although, one thing that has alarmed me after many conversations is the sheer number of people who think AI generated speech-to-text transcription is the same as the service you would get from a manual transcription service (but that’s a whole other blog! Stay tuned!)


For the time being, I’m just going to break down what manual transcription actually is.

In short: Manual transcription is the art of transforming spoken words into written text BUT manual transcription is not just about typing what you hear.


In today's world of automated everything, manual transcription might seem like a relic from the past. However, it's still essential, especially when precision, context, and accuracy matter the most.


So what exactly does manual transcription entail?

First and foremost, it requires a skilled human transcriber who listens carefully to audio and/or video recordings and painstakingly types out every spoken word into a template specifically and carefully designed and tailored to each client. This process demands more than just nimble fingers; it calls for keen ears to catch nuances like tone, emotion, and even background noise. But it doesn't stop there.


After transcribing the content, the real work begins with editing. The transcriber goes through the text, correcting errors, ensuring proper formatting, and improving overall readability. This phase involves fixing grammar and punctuation mistakes, clarifying ambiguous statements, and making sure the text flows logically.

home office proofreading and editing

And then, there's proofreading.

The final step in manual transcription involves meticulous proofreading to guarantee a flawless transcript. A proofreader reviews the document with a fine-toothed comb, eliminating any lingering errors, whether they're pesky spelling mistakes, tricky grammar issues, or subtle formatting inconsistencies. This step is all about making sure the transcript is not just accurate but also coherent and polished.


But why does manual transcription, editing, and proofreading matter?

In fields such as law, medicine, and academic research, where precision and context are non-negotiable, manual transcription remains the go-to method. Automated transcription software often stumbles with accents, technical jargon, or multiple speakers, making manual transcription the preferred choice.


Editing and proofreading play a pivotal role in ensuring the transcript's quality. A well-transcribed document is easier to understand, contributes to effective communication, and serves as a reliable reference for future use.


Manual transcription is more than just typing fast. It's about preserving spoken words with utmost accuracy and clarity. So the next time you think about transcription, remember that manual transcription is a meticulous craft, finely tuned to deliver the best results for you.

 

This has been a public service announcement. Stay tuned for more fascinating facts about life as a transcriptionist or our upcoming video series, "So you want to be a transcriptionist?"


Thank you coffee




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