Sunday, January 18, 2015

How To: Convert Video Into Written Text | 2015

People consider transcribing video speeches into written records as a very simple task that anyone can do. In theory that is true, but transcribing professionally is a whole other thing. It takes a skilled and trained individual to transcribe quickly and accurately making sure there are no mistakes throughout the final text.

Meaning of word 'Transcription': The process of converting spoken words such as in audio into text is called transcription. Companies offering such typing services are called transcription companies or transcriber service companies. For examples our company Transcription Services is one such company which offers audio transcription services online. 

There are a few important things to consider when typing video and audio files if you are considering converting video files into written text. The competition is fierce, so it's essential to be prepared and learn as much as possible about this activity.

1. Equipment and Environment

In order to type correctly, it's crucial that you hear what is being said on the video speeches perfectly. Other than clear and accurate hearing skills, investing in good equipment is the first step to ensure you will hear everything, leaving no room for doubts or mistakes. Having good earphones or headphones is key especially when it comes to recordings that have more than one speaker, different accents or background noise. 

Quality equipment will prevent you from going back and forth in the recording trying to understand words that seem inaudible, so it will save precious time that can't be wasted. Preferably, try to work in an isolated environment, avoiding public places. A quiet space will ensure your hearing isn't compromised. It's also important to have an organized, comfortable work station, since the work will usually take hours to be completed.

A couple of weeks ago we posted an article on our blog on how to record an audio interview. The article is especially useful if you are planning to record and transcribe multiple audio interviews.

Equipment required:
A) A voice recorder to record.  We recommend Sony ICD-UX, Yamaha Pocketrak and Olympus DM models.
B) Foot Pedal. AltoEdge Foot Pedal and Infinity IN-USB-2 comes recommended for those looking for a solid foot pedal that comes with a long lasting life.
C) Assisting Transcription Software such as Express Scribe or Dragon Nuance.

And you're good to go!

If typing the interview or any digital file that you have recorded is for some reason not possible, then hiring a professional transcriber services such as is the best alternative.

2. Speed vs. Accuracy

Typing fast is very important, but only type as fast as you can do it accurately. Fast typing while making tons of mistakes will take up a lot of time later on when you are proofreading and correcting all your spelling and grammar errors.

An interesting idea is to use tools such as Auto Correct on Microsoft Word, which allow you to proofread the text while writing it. That can save valuable proofreading time when the work is done. These tools can also help you increase your transcription speed.Average typing speed of a non-professional typist is 44wpm for males and 37 wpm for females. Professional transcribers have nearly twice the typing speed of that i.e. 80 wpm or higher. Here is an excellent infographic explaining the average typing speeds. 

Interesting Fact: The world's fastest typist can type at a speed of 212 words per minute held by Barbara Blackburn. 

3. Using Typing Software's

Some typing software claim to transcribe audio-video files into written texts automatically with no extra effort needed. That can be true if the audio quality is absolutely perfect, but that's usually not the case. In most situations, manual transcription is still widely preferred. However, softwares can provide an extra help to the transcriber and save up valuable work time. They may seem difficult to manage at first, but with time and experience it's possible to operate the software using many keyboard shortcuts or even foot pedals. It will be easier to move the video back as forth exactly to the point needed, instead of manually trying to find it.For transcription purposes an excellent software is Express Scribe. The software is free and compatible with most foot pedals. 

4. Customized Templates

Having previously made templates at hand can save a lot of time in each new job. Depending on the format usually requested by our clients, it's interesting to keep customized template options that can be used again, instead of recreating documents from scratch for every new assignment. This can be especially useful when it comes to transcription jobs related to the business, legal and medical fields. These kinds of jobs usually ask for specific formats, and having pre-made templates ready for them can be a real time saver.

5. Initial Analysis and Rate

It's okay to provide an initial estimate of the final cost for each job, but before committing to a rate and deadline it's essential to run a previous analysis of the video file. As soon as you receive the material to be transcribed, carefully listen to different parts of it to evaluate the sound quality. Check for accents, multiple speakers and background noise, and them report back to the client. Depending on the file, you can either confirm your initial rate if the quality is good, or ask for a better version and even increase your rate if the work will be harder than you had previously anticipated. Tip: For affordable transcription services consider outsourcing to a transcription company. Outsourcing firms generally have the best price to services ratio without any compromise in quality. Here is a guide to outsourcing transcription servicesrequirement to a professional firm.

Summary: Practice makes Perfect

Other than these important aspects, it's essential to remember that practice makes perfect. Even the most skilled transcriber had to start somewhere, and only time will provide the necessary experience to type faster, hear more accurately and make less mistakes.As your skills improve so will the rates you charge, so if your goal is to work as a professional online transcriber, the key is not to give up and dedicate yourself entirely, learning what is new in the industry and obtaining as much knowledge as possible.With time, the amount of work that used to take three hours will take two, so keep practicing and believe that things will only get better as your transcribing journey progresses.

Like the article? Give us your comments or suggestions at our Twitter page on @AllTranscript.

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