Dictation for Transcription - Top Ten Tips

By Anne Hickley
  1. Use a noise-cancelling microphone if available. These cut down any background noise and aim to record only the voices speaking near to them.
  2. Dictate in a quiet room, preferably alone and with as little background noise as possible. Avoid shuffling papers or tapping a keyboard while dictating as this can obscure your voice.
  3. Speak clearly and don’t rush, although there’s no need to deliberately slow down from your normal speaking voice
  4. You may not need to give any punctuation at all, as the transcriptionist can put this in for you, but if you’re going to give punctuation make sure you give ALL the punctuation. It’s quite disconcerting for the transcriptionist if you read a couple of paragraphs, then throw in the odd comma and full stop and then stop punctuating again. You can give all punctuation or just give full stops, quote marks and paragraphs, and allow the transcriptionist to decide where to put in commas, semi colons etc.
  5. If you want the work produced to a standard format, send your transcriptionist a template or a copy of a piece of work formatted in the say way that you want this transcript formatted. Your transcriptionist can work to a variety of different templates provided by you. Just state which one at the beginning. E.g. ‘This is an email’ will tell the transcriptionist to use your email template.
  6. Spell all names (at least the first time) including people’s and place names. Remember even ‘obvious’ names might be spelt more than one way e.g. Stephen Brown or Steven Browne.
  7. If you require capitalisation of words that are not names do say so. Try to say the capitalisation before the word (e.g. ‘The (capital R) Regulations state that …’ instead of ‘The Regulations (capital R) state that …’ If you have words that, in your context are always going to be capitalised, you can say so at the beginning. ‘In the transcription the word Act will always be spelt with a capital letter.’
  8. State ‘new heading’ when you want a new heading put in, prior to giving the heading title. E.g. ‘New heading: Focus Groups. To transcribe focus groups you will need …’ The Transcriptionist will then understand that ‘Focus Groups’ is the heading, and continue the remainder in a new paragraph below this.
  9. If you want numbered paragraphs or a numbered list, state this before starting the list. E.g. ‘Numbered list. One. The bride’s veil. Two, the groom’s buttonhole’ will be transcribed as: The bride's veil ,The groom's buttonhole
  10. If you make a mistake you can rewind and speak over the error to correct it, but if it’s only a small error it may be easier and less time-consuming to simply correct it on the tape e.g ‘Focus Groupings, sorry, Focus GROUPS, are easier to control if you …’ will be understood as ‘Focus groups will be easier to control if you …’

Penguin Transcription (http://www.penguin-transcription.co.uk), part of Penguin Office Services, offers an affordable transcription service by tailoring each quote to the exact requirements of the client. The more information the client can provide us with, and the better the quality of the recording for transcription, the more affordable the transcription service will be. Why not visit our site and fill in an enquiry form at http://www.penguin-transcription.co.uk/PTS_enquiry_form.html to receive a quote for your transcription requirements.
This article is copyright, Anne Hickley, 2007.

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At September 5, 2017 at 3:17 AM , Blogger Emily Brown said...

Thanks for a very helpful post! I've been meaning to send an audio for a transcription but didn't have any idea how to do so. I've heard that these are pretty good digital audio transcription services and they will help me. And with your "template" I know how to exactly send an email with audio. Again, thanks!


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