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5 Common Transcription Mistakes And How to Avoid Them

These common transcription mistakes will cost you a lot of money and time. If you’re getting low ratings on QA World, Verbit, TranscribeMe, GoTranscript, etc., If you end up not being paid for the transcription jobs you’ve done despite taking the time to work on them, this is why.

Do you want to make more money with transcription jobs? If you want to get high ratings and good reviews when you work on transcription jobs and eventually land direct transcription clients, then do this and avoid the following mistakes.

I will walk you through some serious mistakes that you should avoid if you want to make money doing transcription jobs, and I will actually tell you how to avoid them.

The 5 Most Common Transcription Mistakes

Atomic Typos

One of the most common transcription mistakes is atomic typos.

Atomic typos are one-letter mistakes that are very easy to miss but can have a very significant effect on the finished transcript.

This is where you end up typing a word that actually exists but is completely different from the word that is in the audio or video file. They’re a special kind of spelling mistake that your spellchecker will miss because they are actually real words.

For example, the person in the audio or video says, “country,” but you type, “country.” Or the word in the audio file is, evaluation but you type, evolution. Typing peace instead of piece or conservation instead of conversation.

Atomic typos end up changing the meaning of the sentence entirely because they don’t fit the context of the audio or video file.

Homophones

If you think atomic typos are bad, you haven’t met homophones. These are words that sound exactly the same but have different meanings. Homophones are one of the most common transcription mistakes made by both beginner and experienced transcribers. And they are second on the list.

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Now, the most common homophones are “there,” “they’re,” and “their”. You can’t miss these ones when transcribing, and it’s very easy to get them wrong.

Here are a few more examples to drive the point home.

  • Brake and break
  • knot and not
  • loose and lose
  • wear and where,
  • to, too, and two“.

Homophones, just like atomic typos, can change the meaning of the statement.

Have you ever read a sentence out loud and it makes no sense at all? That’s what I’m talking about. For example, “They’re you are.” Or, “Wear did you go?”

Spelling Errors

The third mistake to avoid is spelling errors.

There are two categories of spelling mistakes.

  1. The first one is misspelling names of people, places, companies, organizations, etc.
  2. The second one is general spelling and grammar mistakes.

> Misspelling of names.

Names of people, places and things can be spelled in different ways.

For example, there’s Ashley or Ashleigh, Lesley or Leslie, MacGregor or McGregor. This spelling mistake is commonly made by transcribers who don’t do research when transcribing. Let’s say you’re transcribing an audio and the speaker says that she had a conversation with Lesley Miles from an organization called Humanize.

To avoid misspelling the names, it’s best to look them up.

Google the company Humanize and try to find out how this particular Lesley spells her name. My research would start on Google, LinkedIn, or even Twitter, if necessary.

> General spelling and grammar mistakes.

General spelling and grammar mistakes are pretty common. Luckily, you don’t really have to struggle with these because there are a number of tools that can help you eliminate and correct them as you’re transcribing the audio. There’s the MS Word spellchecker. You can also use a tool like Grammarly to check your grammar, spelling, style mistakes, word choice, and more.

Mishearing Words

Moving on swiftly to mistake number four, which is mishearing words.

And this is a capital offence, if you ask me. And it’s a very common transcription mistake. If you mishear something, you end up typing the wrong thing entirely. For example, you hear the word “evolution” instead of “evaluation.” Or you hear a pipe instead of typing.

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Mishears are dangerous in transcription as they render the transcript inaccurate, and most transcribers have suffered because of this. The best way to avoid them is to improve your listening skills, but I’ll talk more about this later in the post. For now, just know that a mishear is when you hear the wrong thing and end up typing that wrong thing.

Using Automatic Transcription Software

Mistake number five is using an automatic transcription software .

Now, this might not be a mistake entirely; it really depends.

Have you ever heard of Otter.ai, Temi, Trint, Sonix, or Vocalmatic? These are all automatic transcription softwares. While it’s true that speech recognition software is getting better every day, it’s still not perfect. As a result, it’s more prone to error than human transcription.

Unfortunately, many beginner transcriptionists who have not had any kind of training and have no transcription experience use these automatic transcription software to make their work easier. Using the automatic transcription software is not a problem. The problem comes in when you assume that what the software has transcribed is the correct thing. I’ve had people complain that “Oh, I used Otter.ai, but I still failed the transcription test.”

Yes, because Otter.ai is not perfect. It is advisable to edit and proofread automatically generated transcripts extensively before submitting it for review because they have very many errors. And if you don’t know what you’re doing or don’t know what you’re looking for you will miss them completely.

So How Do You Avoid all These Common Transcription Mistakes?

Invest in good earphones or headsets

The first thing you should do is invest in good earphones or headsets. A good pair of headsets or earphones will make your work very easy. Speaking from experience.

Improve your listening skills

The second thing is to improve your listening skills. In addition to investing in the best headsets, good listening skills are a must in transcription. You’re required to make out conversations despite challenges like heavy accents, background noises, soft voices, and crosstalk. This means that you have to apply attentive listening to every audio or video file you’re transcribing.

No client or platform wants to receive a transcript full of inaudible and crosstalk tags.

That beats the point of transcription. Now, you can play the file multiple times or reduce and increase the speed in order to capture what is being said. But the best way to improve your listening skills is to practice. Practice transcribing different types of audio.

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Do extensive research when transcribing

Thirdly, do extensive research when transcribing.

Accuracy is everything in transcription. You want to ensure that every word or phrase has been spelled correctly in line with the context of the file. Now, we don’t want to find football terms in a file that’s talking about cooking unless they mention football. Make Google your best friend. Research the names of people, companies, organizations, brands, and indiscernible words and get the correct spelling.

For instance, if one of the names mentioned in an audio file on rugby is John Thonnet, Well, this is what I have heard. I will not type John Thonnet and just move on. For context purposes, I will go to Google and type in what I have heard and even add “rugby” at the end.

From the Google results, I will learn that the correct spelling is T-H-O-R-N-E-T-T, Thornett.

Improve your grammar & punctuation skills

Number four is to improve your grammar and punctuation skills. A good transcriber understands the English language. In fact, that’s the main requirement if you want to become a transcriber. He/she knows where to put periods, commas, quotations, etc. Transcripts should be neat and readable.

Most importantly, they should capture the original thoughts of the speaker. There are many resources on the internet that can help with punctuation and spelling. All you have to do is look for them and use them.

Proofread & edit Transcripts

Number five, and this is the most important thing you should do to avoid all these mistakes we’ve talked about, proofreading and editing. Going through your work after you are done transcribing will save you a great deal. After transcribing an audio file, I usually go through it at least three times.

This is to make sure that every word I have transcribed fits in the transcript and is within the context of the audio.

At this stage, you’re able to correct mishears, spelling mistakes, additions, and omissions. It’s a very, very important stage that most people overlook.

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