How to Transcribe Audio: Tips on Transcribing Faster
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They say a picture’s worth a thousand words.
But if someone hands you a recording of a thousand words, do you know how much it’ll cost to turn that recording into a word document you can actually use?
If only transcribing audio could be as fast as snapping a photo!
If you often find yourself needing to type out words from meeting minutes, lecture videos, or anything else, this post is for you. We’re going to teach you how to transcribe audio faster so you don’t have to spend hours of your life fixing typos.
Here are some key tips on how to transcribe audio even faster.
Use Audio Transcription Software
You can buy software or download free software designed to help you transcribe audio faster.
These software options allow you to control audio playback speed while you type so you don’t have to take time switching between an audio playing program and a Word Document. They assign key commands that let you pause, rewind or fast forward audio without having to take your hands off the keyboard.
Transcription software also allows you to customize your transcription. For example, you may want to add timestamps to help readers identify where different events happen in the recording:
Speaker: [00:00:15] “Hello! Thanks so much for having me here. Please, have a seat. So good to see you all.”
[00:00:25] “Today I’m going to be talking about…”
Many companies offer their own version of transcription software. Most cost less than $100 or offer monthly subscription options. You can also find totally free transcription software, although these may not have all the same customization features.
Oh! Speaking of helpful features…
Use The Right Hardware
Tools like high-quality headphones and a foot pedal can drastically improve your transcribing speed.
You’re guaranteed to run across a poor sound recording now and then. If your headphones are cheap and already add their own layer of distracting static, a bad recording can become a serious roadblock.
The fewer times you have to rewind the same seconds of recording the better, so make sure you have over-ear headphones that pick up a wide range of frequencies. When you do need to pause and rewind, a foot pedal can make your life much easier.
Foot pedals are a step above using key commands to control your audio playback. You can continuously type while using movement in your foot to quickly rewind a few seconds. Most full-time transcriptionists use foot pedals.
Now that your hands aren’t so busy adjusting the recording, maybe you could…
Teach Yourself to Type Faster
This one seems obvious, but most people forget you can continue to hone your skills and increase your average typing speed.
If you find yourself getting anxious and frustrated at your own slow typing speed, it’ll help to spend time outside of transcribing to get comfortable at a keyboard.
You have quite a few options to help you get faster at typing in general:
- Pay for professional typing courses online or in person
- Buy educational games and software that teach you how to type faster in an entertaining way
- Play free, online typing games like Typeracer that encourage you to increase your typing speed and accuracy
You can also invest in autocorrect and autocomplete programs.
An autocorrect tool built into your transcription software will free you from having to stop and fix all your own typos. You can correct as you go or let the computer correct everything for you when you’re done typing.
An autocomplete program will help finish words for you before you’ve time to type them! This can drastically increase your typing speed.
The next point is one most people don’t think about:
Streamline Your Workspace
Move clutter and keep your body comfortable with a nice work chair and an ergonomic keyboard. Trust us, they sound like small changes but they make all the difference.
When you’re sitting in the same chair doing the same thing for hours, little obstacles add up fast.
Say for example the keyboard you use forces your hand to be uncomfortable every time you press the space bar. Within a few hours, you’ll have to stop to nurse the cramp in your hand. After a few months, you could develop carpal tunnel or muscle damage.
You should be able to put your feet flat on the floor and be seated high enough to tilt your head down slightly to look at the screen. The chair you use should ideally make it comfortable to sit up straight, with good posture. This is the most ergonomic seating situation to keep your back, neck, and legs healthy.
Phew! This is a lot of information to cover.
Stay Calm and Take Breaks
Couldn’t have said it better.
It can be tempting to think you’ll get more work done if you force yourself to tough it out and plough through even when you’re exhausted.
But studies show the opposite is true. Taking breaks from a task that requires intense focus actually helps you continue to focus for longer when you come back. You need time to rest your mind every once in a while so you don’t completely burn out.
Some tips to get the most out of your breaks:
- Use a timer to remind yourself to take breaks
- Keep breaks to around 10-15 minutes at most
- Get up out of your chair and stretch your legs
- Give your eyes a break from screens and focus on something not related to technology at all (no browsing Facebook and Instagram)
Hopefully, all these tips will help you double your transcribing speed.
But if you’re still overwhelmed you can always…
Hire a Service that Knows How to Transcribe Audio For You
It’s one thing to know how to transcribe audio, but it’s another to keep up with an overwhelming workload all by yourself.
That’s where we come in.
We love answering your questions about how transcription works, and how to get the most for your money. Contact us today to see how our transcription services can work for you.