Last updated: July 13, 2022
Some might say that out of all transcription work, transcribing podcasts are the easiest to do, for podcasts usually have good audio quality and are easy to follow because the very nature of podcasts necessitates that they be so.
However, transcribing podcasts can be hard, especially for those who are new to transcription.
Tips for Transcribing Podcasts:
1. Use quality equipment
This is one of the most important points to consider when transcribing podcasts, or indeed any other type of audio and/or video, for the right equipment will invariably both speed up and improve the quality of the transcripts you will produce.
Invest in a good set of headphones with noise-cancelling capabilities so that ambient sound doesn’t bleed through when you’re transcribing, thus helping you hear the audio better. Try to use a fast computer equipped with a good word processing software so that you can focus on transcription work itself and not have to worry about the computer lagging every now and then. Also, consider buying a foot pedal because it makes rewinding and playback of audio while transcribing a lot easier.
2. Use Transcription Software
There is a rather large variety of transcription software available in the marketplace, some of them free and others not so free. These transcription softwares further speed up your work by allowing you to slow down, speed up, pause, rewind, fast forward, and otherwise manipulate the audio, making the process of transcription much easier. Consider investing in a paid transcription software, as these usually have much more relevant features than can be found on free ones, although if short on budget or otherwise not willing to, free ones are good too, or at least much better than using standard audio players.
3. Invest in a good chair
This may seem like rather inane and irrelevant advice, but investing in a good chair to sit on during transcription work is an absolute must. Transcription work is a long and involved process, and you will spend most, if not all, of it sitting in front of a computer or laptop typing as you go through the audio again and again. This is especially true for podcast transcription, as podcasts are typically long affairs that can stretch on to hours on end. To avoid the pain and fatigue, and thus the inevitable decrease in the quality of your transcription that will come with the abovementioned two, it is important that you are sitting in a chair that conforms to your body’s natural shape and contour.
4. Research terminology
Some podcasts which focus on obscure or somewhat high-level topics such as science and technology may contain terms and acronyms and slang that the average layperson would not know. Try to look up such terminology via the Internet. If the Internet is not forthcoming with answers, communicate with the podcast makers and ask for a list of common terms in their podcasts so that you can transcribe much more accurately.
5. Look at audio quality
A big part of transcription depends on the quality of the audio you are given. The audio which is muffled or contains significant “fuzziness” will automatically result in an inaccurate and error-filled transcript. It is thus doubly important for a transcriptionist to check the quality of the audio before getting around to transcribing. Look for parts of the podcast which sound muffled, is too quiet and hard to hear, or is fuzzy, and use audio editing software to try and mitigate or completely remove these problems. If audio editing software does not help much, try asking around for a better copy of the podcast; there is no harm in checking around, after all.
6. Ask a reliable transcription service to do it all for you
Transcribing podcasts, or indeed even any kind of audio, may seem like a no-brainer, but it is not. It takes a certain kind of person to be able to sit down and listen to audio over and over again, all the while accurately typing down what is in the audio. If you feel like you are not the type of person who can do this, it would be better to simply delegate the job to those who can; that is, to a professional transcription service. These services offer high-quality transcriptions at rather affordable and flexible rates, and they can also follow specific formatting and transcript delivery guidelines that you may set.