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Be Sure to Use Reputable Resources When Transcribing

Sep 5, 2008
It was 8:00 o'clock in the morning as I sat down to transcribe. It was a blistery, cold morning in Phoenix, Arizona (Hah!). With my cup of hot steaming coffee on my one side of my desk and my faithful live, white, feline desk ornament on my other, I prepared for the day.

Now, you have to understand that I was new at this game of transcribing; I'd only been doing it for a short time. My topic was Internet marketing, and it was very interesting. It was all about Pay per Click, and AdWords, and various other Internet-related things; and it was an interview between an interviewer and an Internet Guru.

This is going to be a piece of cake, right? I typed all about interesting Internet gurus, Napoleon Hill, and interesting subjects like Google AdWords, Overture, Google Pay Per Click, e-Books, ClickBank, Yahoo! Search, and a whole lot more. Now, be aware that I was fairly new at transcribing for clients regarding the Internet; so I had to do a lot of research. When I started out, I started with a well-known search engine; but you could choose Google, Yahoo, Ask, or a host of others that are out there. What I didn't know is that even if you use a reputable search engine, it takes an astute transcriptionist to decipher what search results you should use.

For example, suppose you questioned the spelling of an author's name. Correctly, you go to the Internet to Google, or Yahoo!, MSN, or whatever you use, and you type in the author's last name Chialdiani because you were looking up Robert Cialdini because he wrote a well-known book that your client had included on the audio that your client provided you. Aha! You found as the first hit a result that one of the major online bookstores had posted. Now, I chose one that has a huge following on the Internet; they should know the correct spelling, right? Not so fast, Charlie or Jenny, or whoever you are. Take care to take it one step further.
You must actually take it one step further and GO to your favorite online bookstore and find the book. How is the author's name spelled? Oh, oh. It's Cialdini. Folks, I've got to tell you. Internet clients can be absolutely ruthless when providing feedback to Elance, iFreelance, or Guru, or other freelance sites when a transcriptionist does not get spelling right. Do not be lackadaisical here; this is critical!

Let's look at another example. Say you want to look up the spelling for the group of people that come from the Philippines. How would you spell Filipino? Be careful here. This could be a trick question. Okay, again, we start out on Google, Web Crawler, Ask, or any other search engine you might use. We type in Philippino because we think that because they are from the Philippines, they are probably called Philippinos, right? Hold on. Who are you going to use as a resource to verify that spelling? In many instances you have more than one spelling for a word, and clients can be very, very temperamental if you choose the wrong spelling. My recommendation is to use references that are well-known and have been around for years.

So what have we learned thus far? Be very choosy when using resources to determine spelling of words. Your clients do not want to see errors when they receive their transcription. Go the extra mile, be diligent, and be accurate. If you have to use multiple resources to get a consensus, that's great. That is what you clients want. If you do that, you will go far in establishing a sound transcription business that clients will come to you for services over and over again.
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