Dear interviewer, you are a great interviewer but…a Transcriptionist’s point of view.
One of CLK Transcriptions independent contractors asked why we are never interviewed for a story. Then she realized we are too busy transcribing your audio to stop. She did however have some thoughts and suggestions on how to make transcribing your audio of other interviews a bit more transcription friendly – whether we transcribe your audio, someone else transcribes your audio – or even YOU transcribe your own audio.
Many of these I have mentioned before, but I had to share her comments as a worker bee trying to save you time and money.
Please check your equipment. Growls, howls, static, etc, in your audio make accurate transcription difficult, but knowing ahead of time helps me to prepare.
Also, when interviewing outside, in a crowd, or say with an ambulance passing by during the discussion, understand that unless you repeat some of the conversation when that pesky ambulance drove by, there may be some blanks. Try to consider better placement of your microphone in those situations. The best place for the microphone is not next to the plate and glass, or even the paperwork that you will be moving around. We hear the noise first. It isn’t that we can’t do it; we love the challenge, but proper placement leads to better end product. We understand it isn’t always possible, so again, just give us a heads up that you are aware the audio is difficult and that helps us prepare as well. Also, you may want to be sure that you have the interview and not just your side of the conversation on the audio. Listening to the audio yourself also helps when you think you are sending a recording thinking it is one thing and well, it isn’t.
Those words you spoke when yawning or belching, or coughing and sneezing, really are hard to decipher. Could you repeat that please? It is impolite to stop in the middle and speak to someone else – we do not know if you want that transcribed, unless you are ordering dinner. And please, as busy as we know you are, please leave the chewing and bathroom breaks out of the audio.
Please allow your interviewees to finish a sentence without interruption whenever possible. I can’t decipher his/her responses accurately if I can’t hear them fully – and we hate having a blank in your report. And I always wonder whose part of the conversation is the most important and should be in the transcript when I can’t clearly hear both speakers and you ask me to clean it up for you.
Please call your interviewees by name early in the conversation so his/her name can be inserted during the article rather than “interviewee”. A find-replace only takes a few seconds but keep in mind I’m paid by the audio minute and seconds matter.
When an interviewee is using a “unique” technical or medical term, please repeat the word – or send it with the audio in your e-mail. Hearing it correctly will help me search for the correct spelling. This would be especially helpful when you are interviewing someone whose accent is other than American English. When possible, especially with those pesky obscure names, spelling it helps. Spelling HABITAT doesn’t; we know how to spell that, but when you have a name like Nahuat, spelling helps.
Also, when possible, giving us a bit of a background – speakers names, websites, etc – on the topic of the discussion. This helps us research words and phrases so you don’t have to. We do not all watch every TV show produced, so even the title of the show so we can research names and characters, is a help.
Also verifying the length of the audio you are sending so we know there was no problem with the download.
Let us know if you need the file immediately. It may mean a stat fee, but this is not always the case. It helps us help you when we know your projected TAT for the audio. Whether its needed later int he day or the next morning, even if a week away. (Yes, we have clients who actually give us a week to turn around a document, but we haven’t ever taken advantage of that yet.)
Recording and transcribing chitchat is a waste of your money. I understand the importance of the “break the ice” conversation at the beginning of an interview. If this conversation is not necessary to the article you are writing, please let us know when to start transcribing and we will skip it and we both save time and money.
Take into consideration that to transcribe your audio is at minimum three times the length of the audio – total transcription time and proofing. And that is with a clear audio. If you have a stat/priority that is four hours long, don’t expect it by evening if sent at 1 p.m., especially if poor quality. We take extra time with difficult audio to ensure we got everything possible. Again, we sometimes work miracles, so it doesn’t hurt to ask, but the more time you allow us, the more relaxed we can be knowing we are giving you our best and not a rush job where something always suffers. And sending that stat at midnight for return the next morning, even if only 10 minutes long, really is a difficult task for us. We occasionally sleep too, but if you give us a heads up early in the day to expect it, guess what – we can do that!
Lastly, if you send a file and we do not confirm receipt within 15 minutes, there may have been a glitch in the e-mail. We always confirm receipt – usually within 15 minutes. If you don’t hear from us, verify receipt. And when you send us a file today of less than an hour, if you do not have it by tomorrow – check with us. We rarely have a file of an hour or less for more than 24 hours. These things really bother us because we do not like you to think we aren’t doing our best to assist you meet your deadline.
Thank you for listening. We just want to be able to get you your reports as quickly as possible with the quality you demand. These little tips may help.
Transcriptionist who loves what she does.