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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Marking Inaudibles and Phonetic Words and Phrases When Transcribing

Chances are that each contract or client you work for has their own ways of handling inaudible or phonetic spellings.

You might mark inaudible in any one of the following ways:

  • ________
  • (inaudible)
  • [inaudible]
  • (unintelligible)
  • [indiscernible]

On the other hand, sometimes you might come across words that you are unsure how to spell or that you can only guess what the speaker says. If you're unable to confirm the correct spelling, most companies and clients will ask that you mark the spelling as phonetic. There are several ways to do this as well:

  • Highlight the text
  • Change the color of the text
  • Enclose the text in brackets
  • Follow the text with [ph]

In both of these situations, you'll want to follow the preferences of the person requesting the transcript. If they do not have a preference, it's important to be consistent throughout your transcript regardless of the way you choose to do it.

Another important thing to remember is that many companies and clients want to know if there is an excessive number of inaudibles in the text so that they can decide whether you should continue or not. It's a good idea to establish upfront what their guidelines are for sending a sample, especially for files with shorter turnaround times (TATs) or rush delivery.