The Complete Course for Transcription Newbies

MODULE 1: TRANSCRIPTION RULES & GUIDELINES

 

Welcome to Module 1: Transcription Rules and Guidelines.

You may use these guidelines for transcript consistency if the client does not require you to follow a specific set of rules.

If you’re a subcontractor for a transcription company, rules and formatting style may vary.

Clean verbatim versus full verbatim.

Clean verbatim transcription does not include false starts, verbal tics, stutters, and other speech or sounds not relevant to the transcript. However, sentences are not paraphrased.

Full verbatim, on the other hand, includes false starts, verbal tics, stutters, and all utterances.

1. Filler words or verbal tics are words that are apparently meaningless that marks a pause or hesitation.

For example, you know, um, uh, like, kind of. These are examples of filler words or verbal tics.

Example: The process is, um, it’s still in it’s, uh, you know, infancy.

This is a sentence full of filler words or verbal tics.

Take note: Be careful not to omit words that are not used as fillers but are necessary to make the sentence complete.

Example: What was that like for you?

The word “like” is needed in the sentence.

So it’s incorrect to type “What was that for you?”

2. A false start means that the speaker says one thing and then goes back and changes what he was saying.

To make the speaker’s message clearer, you don’t have to include everything else before the actual start of the sentence that is irrelevant.

Example 1:

Dictation: This — the process is still in its infancy.

Transcription: The process is still in its infancy.

Example 2:

Dictation: So my — I would say — the only thing I would say is that we’re doing our best.

Transcription: The only thing I would say is that we’re doing our best.

This is an example of a full verbatim. The words are highlighted in blue are filler words or verbal tics and false starts.

I do have — I have a question about, you know, the implications for like insurance covered. Um, what kind of treatments are covered? If we stop using like the word cancer for, uh, some of these, you know, conditions, are insurance companies going to, you know, stop reimbursing?

Let’s remove all the words highlighted in blue and full verbatim becomes clean verbatim.

I have a question about the implications for insurance covered. What kind of treatments are covered? If we stop using the word cancer for some of these conditions, are insurance companies going to stop reimbursing?

This is the correct and final sentence.

Always use clean verbatim unless the client instructed to use full verbatim.

And take note, sentences are cleaned but not paraphrased.

3. Don’t transcribe thinking noises.

Thinking noises are if one just keeps on saying “uh-huh,” “right, “okay,” “yeah” while someone else is talking.

It’s a thinking noise if it’s not a direct response to what the other person is saying.

Thinking noises are sounds or words created by another person in the conversation.

Example:

INCORRECT
Interviewer: How do you proceed with your inquiries?
Respondent: We try to narrow it down to —
Interviewer: Right. (thinking noise)
Respondent: — a few questions.
Interviewer: Is the process already old, or is it still new?
Respondent: The process is still in its —
Interviewer: Yeah. (thinking noise)
Respondent: — infancy.

Let’s remove the thinking noises of the interviewer that is highlighted in blue.

CORRECT
Interviewer: How do you proceed with your inquiries?
Respondent: We try to narrow it down to a few questions.
Interviewer: Is the process already old, or is it still new?
Respondent: The process is still in its infancy.

This is the right way to type the conversation.

Still under thinking noises, do not omit if it’s a direct response to a statement.

Example:

Interviewer: You have been there, right?

Respondent: Uh-huh.

“Uh-huh” is a direct response to the interviewer’s question, so it should not be omitted.

Slang forms should not be used.

Examples of slang forms are gonna, wanna, gotta, alright, ‘coz, and others. These slang forms should not be used.

Instead, use going to, want to, got to, all right, and because.

Conjunction “and”.

Speakers often overuse “and” and sometimes transcriptionists tend to create very long sentences because of this conjunction.

You may divide a long sentence into short sentences and drop the conjunction “and” if it’s unnecessary.

Take into consideration clarity and readability.

Example:

Dictation: I painted this in Photoshop myself and it was the most spectacular vision I’ve ever seen in my life and I cannot forget it and it was the first time I have ever seen anything like it and my whole body went electric and when it went electric, I was in that pulsating, throbbing, vibrating state.

Now, let’s remove the conjunction “and” and replace it with a period.

Transcription: I painted this in Photoshop myself. It was the most spectacular vision I’ve ever seen in my life, and I cannot forget it. It was the first time I have ever seen anything like it. My whole body went electric. When it went electric, I was in that pulsating, throbbing, vibrating state.

This is the clean and clear and final version of the paragraph.

If there are words in the audio that you can’t decipher,

you may mark them with [Indiscernible] or [Inaudible] or [Unintelligible].

You can also include timestamps so that the client can go back to that portion and relisten to it.

Example format: [0:01:00] [Indiscernible]

This means that the word or words at the one-minute mark is indiscernible.

Speaker tokens.

Identify the speakers by first name unless your client instructed otherwise. If it’s an interview and the speakers’ names are not identifiable, use Interviewer and Respondent.

Keep paragraphs short.

White spaces make a transcript more readable.

Please do take note of the following:

As a freelance transcriber or independent subcontractor, you can always accept or decline transcription assignments.

Never accept assignments you’re not 100% sure you’re able to produce quality transcripts for, especially if you’re just starting out.

Always submit on time. Communicate with your client if you need more time to finish the transcript or if there’s going to be a delay in delivery of the transcript.

Inform your client if and when problems arise. Never leave your client hanging.

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