Five ways to help your transcriber


As a full-time transcriber, I love my job – nothing makes me happier than sitting in my office (often with a dog asleep on my lap) rattling through some audio for a client. The clients I love most are the ones who go a little bit above and beyond to help make my job easier. If you want to become your transcriber’s favourite person to hear from, follow these tips:

1. Test your recording device
Get to know whatever device you use to record so you know the best place to position it for the clearest recording. If it can only pick up one voice clearly and you don’t want to snuggle up to your interviewee, put it near them and provide your transcriber with a list of the questions asked to insert at the relevant points.

2. Record somewhere quiet
We can cope with a bit of background noise, but busy restaurants or coffee shops with the tables close to each other are a nightmare for us to pick out the voices we’re meant to be following. Avoid a surcharge for bad audio by finding a quiet place to record. A particular plea to market researchers doing shop walk-arounds – please don’t put your recording device in your bag, we’re unlikely to be able to make out a word anybody’s saying! Top pockets of jackets are a good place for them if you need to be discrete.

3. Give us a glossary
Yes, we will research, but if there are any industry-specific terms or acronyms used frequently throughout the file that aren’t in common use, a short list is very welcome. Ditto with names that might be misspelt – Lindsay, Lyndsey, Lynsey, Lyndsey and all the other variations sound the same.

4. Turn it in on time
Remember that it takes roughly three to four hours to type one hour of audio recording, depending on the number of speakers and the quality, so please give us an appropriate amount of time to complete your work. If you know you’re going to have a load of audio to send in, warn your transcriber in advance so they can block out the time for you in their work schedule.

5. Deal with invoices promptly
The clients we love above all others are the ones who pay their invoices when they fall due without being reminded – I’m very lucky with mine in that respect! We appreciate that they aren’t always the first thing on your mind and that if you’re a larger company there are procedures that need to be followed, but the more time we have to spend chasing unpaid invoices, the less time we have to type and so rates get pushed upwards to enable us to keep paying our bills. Prompt payment keeps prices low!