To Transcribe, or Not to Transcribe: Busting 4 Myths about Transcription

September 26, 2022

To Transcribe, or Not to Transcribe: Busting 4 Myths about Transcription

Transcription is a very effective and flexible skill. With enough time and effort, you can create transcripts that can significantly enhance your research or content. And if you’re too busy to make transcripts yourself, you can opt to hire transcribing services instead.

Despite this, some misconceptions about transcription can deter people from its actual benefits. While these notions seem true at first glance, they hide truths about transcription that actually show why you should consider it.

Here are 4 myths about transcription and the truths about them:

1. Audio recordings and timestamps are enough

Recording long-winded meetings, interviews, or conferences is an effective way of making reliable reference material for your research. And they should be enough, right? You just have to  note down the timestamps of critical moments in the recording, and you’re set.

Reality: Yes, audio recordings are highly beneficial, but they can only do so much on their own. Let’s say you do have timestamps of each critical moment. You still have to take the time to listen to the dialogue. In most cases, listening to audio takes up more time than reading text, especially if the flow of the discussion is slow.

That’s why you need transcriptions to maximize your audio recordings. Instead of adjusting to the pace of the discussion, you can extract the insights as quickly as you read. This is especially helpful with interview transcriptions, which allow you to analyze a slow-paced discussion quickly.

As a bonus, you can also use the search function of your text processor to jump straight to keywords or phrases, speeding up the analysis further.

2. Research will get slower with transcription

The process of transcription can take a long time to do, which can hamper your workflow. Why add transcribing to your to-do list when you can skip it entirely and spend more time on your analysis?

Reality: While it is true that transcribing by itself takes time, in the long run, it can actually save you a lot of time. Audio recordings with pristine quality are difficult to achieve. Even with the ideal recording conditions, you may encounter factors like thick accents, crosstalk or unintelligible dialogue. These can lead you to keep returning to the audio repeatedly throughout your analysis, which can cause a bottleneck in your productivity.

Transcriptions can remove these bumps in your workflow. Rather than deal with complex audio, you instead have a clear copy of the discussion in text form. This can remove a lot of doubts about what was actually said in the discussion. Another key feature of transcriptions is marking any unintelligible words or phrases, which you can ask the speakers to clarify when possible. Market research transcriptions, for example, are tremendously helpful in identifying speakers, especially in large focus groups.

One thing is sure, however: transcription can be time-consuming and tedious. While it has tremendous benefits, it can also drain the time and energy you need for your actual work. If you want to access the advantages of transcription while still having time to work on your research, transcribing services like TranscriptionWing are more than happy to do your transcription work for you.

3. Taking notes during the discussion is more efficient 

You usually use the transcript to write notes on the discussion. But why not skip the transcription part and have your interviewer or moderator take down notes during the discussion? This can save you a lot of time!

Reality: Note-taking during a discussion is one of the most common ways to gather critical insights from the interviewees. The advantage of this is that you have the insights already in hand. However, the drawback is that you have to split your focus between taking down notes and moderating the discussion.

This can lead to:

  1. Having to catch up more often with the discussion
  2. Asking the speakers to repeat what they said
  3. Being unable to catch any critical points and asking salient questions

In other words, while you do save a lot of time, you may also risk having a less fruitful discussion and missing key insights.

You can avoid these risks altogether by incorporating transcription into your workflow. When you moderate the conversation, you only need to record the dialogue with an audio recording device. Then, after the discussion, you can create a meeting notes transcription. This is where you can not only take notes but also:

  • Easily navigate the text file using the search function
  • Highlight key points within the text
  • Have text that you can easily copy and paste to your teammates

Basically, transcription offers two significant advantages over note-taking: it allows you to facilitate the flow of the discussion smoothly and lets you capture critical insights more clearly. In the long run, transcription can be more efficient than note-taking.

4. Transcription is just not worth it

Unless you’re a professional transcriber, transcription will just be a minor task compared to your actual responsibilities. In the long run, even if you do become skilled at transcribing, it becomes very tedious and time-consuming to do repeatedly.

Reality: In most cases, yes, transcription is most likely a side task. However, its long-term advantages are difficult to deny. Overall, your research project, content campaign, or other endeavors can benefit significantly from transcription.

Still, transcription certainly requires a lot of time and energy to do. There are ways for you to alleviate the challenges of transcription, like:

  • Doing it often. “Practice makes perfect” rings all the more true with transcription. You have to do it frequently to get better.
  • Pacing the transcription process. Set a realistic timeframe to finish the transcription and give yourself enough time each session to transcribe.
  • Having the ideal transcription setup. Using noise-canceling headphones, staying in a quiet area, and sitting on a comfortable chair can provide a much more conducive setup for transcription.

Perhaps adding transcription to your to-do list is impractical because of your workload. In that case, you may want to consider getting transcripts made for you. Transcribing services like TranscriptionWing, for example, can transcribe your audio recordings. This way, you can reap the benefits of transcripts while focusing on your main work.

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