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Common Mistakes to Avoid in Transcription

Learn about the common mistakes to avoid when transcribing audio or video content.

By Beth WorthyPublished 5 months ago 5 min read
Image by stockking on Freepik

It's common practice within several large business verticals like - legal, entertainment & academia -to transform speech into text format via transcribing it. The transcription market in the United States will reach USD 41.89 billion by 2030, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.8% from 2023 to 2030.

While technology advancements have enabled us with automated software versions for this, the human-initiated process remains more highly favored owing to their precision & protection measures. However, while being prone to novice mistakes, this process serves tremendous significance in several business operations.

This article discusses why various industries rely heavily on transcription while signifying its current trending demand. Legal sectors in the US are showing significant traction towards such services, as research by Research and Markets indicates growth in the transcription market over time.

Evidence-based documentation processes, more transparent communication & convenient information management, are some ways in which transcriptions greatly assist in business processes.

Mistakes That Transcriptionists Make Commonly

The rate of transcription errors can be measured using the word error rate (WER). Transcript accuracy can be calculated by the ratio of substitutions, deletions, and insertions to the total number of words in the transcript.

This allows an assessment of the accuracy of transcription and provides valuable insight. Let us explore some of the common mistakes that transcriptionists often make and the impact these mistakes can have on the final transcript.

1. Mishearing Words

Transcriptionists may mishear or need clarification on specific terms while listening to the audio or video content they are transcribing. It can lead to transcription errors if they don't take the time to clarify or verify unclear portions.

2. Spelling and Grammar Mistakes

During transcription, transcriptionists can encounter spelling or grammar mistakes that impact the quality of the final transcript. Transcription errors can manifest as misspelled words, incorrect punctuation, or grammatical inaccuracies. Consequently, these errors can diminish the transcript's readability and accuracy.

3. Shortcut Mistakes

Transcriptionists often use shortcuts or shorthand notation to increase their typing speed and efficiency. However, relying too heavily on shortcuts can result in errors if they misinterpret or mistype the intended content, leading to inaccurate transcriptions.

4. Mishearing Words

Similar to the first point, mishearing terms refer to situations where transcriptionists fail to accurately hear and transcribe certain words from the audio or video recording. It can occur due to poor audio quality, strong accents, or background noise.

5. Atomic Errors

Atomic errors refer to mistakes made at the level of individual units of meaning, such as words or phrases. Transcriptionists might mishear or misinterpret these atomic units, leading to inaccuracies in the final transcript.

6. Words That Sound Alike (Homophones)

Homophones sound similar but have different meanings and spellings. Transcriptionists may need clarification on these words when transcribing, resulting in incorrect usage or spelling errors. It is essential for transcriptionists to accurately discern and transcribe the intended word based on the context.

7. Names Misspelled

Transcriptionists may encounter names of people, places, or organizations that they are unfamiliar with or have unique spellings. If they don't research or verify the correct spelling, they may inadvertently misspell names in the transcript.

8. Speech Recognition Mistakes

Some transcriptionists use speech recognition software or automated transcription tools to assist in their work. However, these tools can sometimes misinterpret spoken words or phrases, leading to inaccuracies in the transcription. Transcriptionists must carefully review and edit the output generated by these tools to ensure accuracy.

How to Avoid Transcription Mistakes?

Transcribers are not immune to mistakes that can affect the completeness and quality of their work. In transcription standards, it is important to recognize common pitfalls and develop effective strategies to avoid them. Here are a few tips to prevent transcription mistakes:

1. Disable Autocorrect

The AutoCorrect feature is great for everyday writing but can disappoint when it comes to transcription. By relying solely on your judgment and expertise, you can ensure the accuracy and completeness of the transcribed text.

2. Invest in High-Quality Audio Recording Equipment

Audio recording quality is crucial in transcription. Investing in reliable and high-quality audio recording equipment helps capture clear and accurate playback. Reducing background noise echoes and distortion can minimize the chances of mishearing or misunderstanding the content, leading to more precise transcriptions.

3. Be Familiar With the Content

Take the time to familiarize yourself with the subject matter. Especially when dealing with technical or industry-specific terminology, having a solid understanding of the content ensures that you can accurately transcribe complex concepts and specialized vocabulary.

4. Listen Carefully

Active listening is paramount in transcription. Pay close attention to the audio or video content, focusing on every word and sentence. If necessary, rewind and replay sections that need to be clarified or that you may have missed. By giving your full attention and concentration to the material, you enhance your ability to capture and transcribe accurately.

5. Proofread Twice

Proofreading is an essential step in ensuring the accuracy and quality of your transcription. After completing the initial transcription, proofread the transcript at least twice. Conduct a thorough review to identify and rectify any overlooked spelling, grammar, or punctuation mistakes.

By undertaking a comprehensive and attentive overview, transcriptionists can identify and correct errors that may have gone unnoticed. This careful approach significantly enhances the overall readability and reliability of the transcript, ensuring a polished and accurate final document.

By implementing these strategies and approaches in transcription services, transcriptionists can avoid common mistakes and produce high-quality, error-free transcripts.

Key Takeaways

So, it is essential to acknowledge that errors are not uncommon in transcription services, given the complexities of the task. However, by implementing the steps mentioned above, transcriptionists can significantly reduce the occurrence of mistakes and produce transcripts of superior quality.

Remember, transcription is a skill that requires continuous improvement and attention to detail. With dedication and practice, transcriptionists can elevate their abilities and deliver accurate transcripts that meet the highest standards.

So, whether you are a seasoned transcriptionist or just starting in the field, following these guidelines will empower you to provide reliable and error-free transcripts that satisfy clients and contribute to your professional success.


About the Creator

Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy is the President of GMR Transcription Services, Inc., overseeing client relations, human resources, and new business development to accomplish the company's mission and goals.

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