How to Transcribe Interviews Faster: Five Tips to Help You Beat the Clock

December 18, 2019

How to Transcribe Interviews Faster: Five Tips to Help You Beat the Clock

How fast can you complete interview transcripts? This is a common question among professional transcribers. Regardless of the type of audio or video, the delivery time of a transcription holds great importance, especially with a time-sensitive project.

At first, it’s more complicated than it seems because there is no single one-size-fits-all way for someone to fast track their transcribing process. Fortunately, there are several proven ways you can use to learn how to transcribe interviews faster.

Here Are Some of the Ways You Can Speed up Your Transcription Project:

1. A good work environment

The first on the list of things to remember when transcribing interviews is to secure a suitable working atmosphere. Usually, this is a nice, quiet corner or space that will allow you to work without any interruptions like background noise. This is very helpful, especially when using voice-typing tools to write interview transcripts faster. Most voice-typing tools will have an extremely hard time processing the audio when there is a significant amount of background noise. Outside chatter, for example, can mess with the transcription and lead to transcribed utterances outside the audio.

Plus, never underestimate the value of a good chair. Most of the time, you’ll spend a good chunk of time seated in front of a computer while transcribing. Having a comfortable chair that conforms to the natural shape of the body helps in maintaining good posture. Besides helping you focus on the transcription, this is also essential to maintaining your health. Thus, it ensures the quality of your transcription efforts.

2. Good tools

Using a good audio or video transcription service or tool is another high priority for anyone who aims to expedite writing their interview transcripts. For instance, an efficient transcription tool allows users to:

  • Pause the audio
  • Rewind or fast forward
  • Control the playback speed. 

Since it’s hard to transcribe every single word accurately at the first attempt, it will need a lot of audio manipulation. That is why a transcription service or tool is extremely handy for any type of transcription work.

Also, consider investing in a high-quality headset. This will let you better understand inaudible words or distinguish difficult accents, allowing you to transcribe words more precisely. Noise-canceling headsets, in particular, are a godsend for those audio files with horrible quality. In addition, you can also invest in an ergonomic keyboard that will ease the pain of prolonged typing. Choose a keyboard that has stable keys made from good quality material.

3. Typing speed

Typing speed is perhaps one of the first things that people think about when it comes to handling interview transcripts or other research data. This is understandable, though, because the typing speed in delivering transcriptions is indeed very important. A person who can type at the rate of, say, 50 to 60 words per minute will be able to output transcription work faster than someone who can only manage 30 to 35 words per minute.

For those who are inexperienced in typing, consider attending a typing class or downloading a typing program. Either of these will help you in learning techniques, such as:

  • Proper touch-typing
  • Correct finger placement
  • Comfortable hand position

More so, make sure to use all ten fingers to type words faster. You may also watch typing tutorials using your smartphone so you can further learn anywhere you go. With enough time, you’ll eventually develop the proper habits that will help you significantly increase your typing speed.

4. Proper usage of autocorrect tools

Misspelling usually occurs in transcription work especially when typing speed is crucial to meet a deadline. Ironically, this inclination to faster typing may lead to an overall slower output time since it can be time-consuming to manually correct each mistake.

Thus, it’s critical to use autocorrect tools when creating transcription work. When used properly, autocorrection is one of the easy ways to transcribe interviews faster, as it helps immensely by reducing the time spent on manually identifying and correcting the mistakes. It can also help with formatting sentences and fixing grammatical errors.

In Microsoft Word, there’s an autocorrect feature that’s fairly easy to use. To enable it:

  1. Open Word and create a new blank document.
  2. On the Menu, go to the File tab and select Options.
  3. When the pop-up menu appears, go to Proofing and select Autocorrect options.
  4. Once on the Autocorrect tab, tick the Replace text as you type box. 

5. Frequent practice

People often say that practice makes perfect. This adage rings true with interview transcription, where constant effort and focus are key to improvement. Oftentimes, this requires time and proper training methods for fast and effective transcription.

One way to practice your transcription skills is to either watch videos or listen to audio recordings. For instance, practice while enjoying a movie that has characters with thick accents. Try to transcribe the whole movie’s dialogues as accurately as you can. You can do this more precisely when you listen to a whole sentence first. Listening word-per-word and pausing at a time will only make you slower and less accurate. When you’re done, refer to the official subtitles or the whole screenplay to see whether you got most of it correct. Continue practicing until you get to the level you feel most comfortable with.

Take note of these five easy, fool-proof ways to learn how to transcribe interviews faster. Once you’ve mastered these ways, you’ll be able to deliver any type of transcription work like a pro in a flash. However, you may find that, regardless of your reason for learning transcription, it’s always tedious, time-consuming, and even counterproductive. If you really need transcripts in the fastest and most efficient way possible, it’s best to buy an audio or video transcription service that will do all the work for you.

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