•           Home
  • Getting Started
  • Working at Home
  • Productivity
  • Grammar & Spelling
  • Research
  • Text Expanders
  • Earnings Calls
  • Product Reviews
  • Podcasts
  • About

Monday, May 12, 2008

Getting Started – Basic Style Differences

Now that Tara’s given you some idea of how to get started practicing your transcription skills, let’s talk a little bit about the basic style differences you’ll find with most companies and clients. While it’s true that every company will have their own style guide with specific preferences, these basics will give you a place to start as you practice, as you should be prepared for any and all of them. Take your time to practice each style so you’ll be ready when you begin testing. You may find it difficult at first to switch between styles, but once you begin working regularly, you’ll find that you’re able to switch between them almost seamlessly.

Strict verbatim refers to a style of transcription which includes all “uhs”, “ums” and stutters. This style requires an even higher degree of attentiveness to be able to catch every utterance made by the speakers. Because I did not start out with strict verbatim, I sometimes struggle with it because I’m so used to tuning out those stutters and “filler” words in the majority of my work.

Verbatim lite often refers to a less stringent form of transcription in which we transcribe exactly what the speaker says without correcting grammar or changing anything. However, it allows some latitude for the transcriptionist to eliminate stutters, fillers and false starts to improve the readability of the final transcript.

Edited transcripts fall under a third style which allows the transcriptionist to edit for clarity to varying degrees. This is done as you transcribe to best capture what the speakers are trying to convey. For this type of transcription, sentences or questions may be reworded or even omitted at the transcriptionist’s discretion.

In each of these basic styles, you’ll also often be given directions on how to handle the speakers’ dialect. Some companies and clients prefer that these be captured exactly as they’re spoken, as in gonna, shoulda, talkin’ or ‘em. Others prefer that they be transcribed correctly as going to, should have, talking or them.

Other style differences include how to use speaker tags to identify speakers, whether to include non-verbal sounds and how to format them, and specific preferences for handling numbers.

As Tara said, each contract you establish (whether it be with a large company or an individual client) should give you their specific style preferences. You will most likely encounter many different combinations of styles over time, and it’s a good idea to incorporate different styles into your practice transcripts so that you’re used to many different styles and are prepared when you begin working.