The Art of Transcription, Part 3

Hello, my friends. I trust that you are all well and have had a great week since we last shared our thoughts about this magnificent art called Transcription. Though I will continue to blog and opine often on it, this is the third and final installment in the series, “The Art of Transcription.” My next blog will be a spotlight on my typical day and routine and will be titled, “A Day in the Life of a Home-Based General Transcriptionist.” I will add pictures to spice it up a bit more, and will expound upon a typical day. I will make it informative, whimsical, fun, and hopefully, if you are not already in the business, convince some of you to seriously consider this wonderful career for yourself. Okay, so as not to wander off tangent here, I will get back on track and continue with the Art of Transcription. Finally, let’s see about giving this art its sense of color.

When one applies color to a piece of visual art, it is important not to disturb or change any facet of the foundation. This precept segues perfectly as it forms a perfect analogy with the art of transcription. Let’s harken back to the meaning of transcription which is turning the spoken word into the written word. That is its fundamental construct. You cannot change the wording. We write it as it is spoken, there are no liberties, per se, to that precept. It certainly is no secret that people tend to speak not as if they were reading or reciting a grammar book, but rather in a natural and spontaneous manner in which, at that particular moment in time, best conveys their desired message or thoughts. They don’t necessarily stop and ponder upon the CMOS as they formulate their responses. How many of us do? The spoken word is organic; it is in the moment; it doesn’t announce punctuation marks. Anyway, this is where we as transcriptionists practice our art. We punctuate; we correctly spell; we apply the correct choice of homographs and homophones; we research. With these colors on our palette, we commence on our artistic endeavor.

Okay, the story is about, “A Day in the Life of Tommy.” Tommy lives with his siblings and parents in Anytown, USA. He attends Acme Elementary School where he is a fifth-grade GATE student. After typing the transcript, we read, “Let’s eat mom,” and we realize that this is not a story about ravenous, cannibalistic offspring. So, we go to our palette, and then touch it up with some punctuation. So, now it reads, “Let’s eat, Mom,” which helps us to convey the speakers intended meaning that the children are excited about the meal that she is about to serve them. Most importantly, we did not change the spoken word one iota; we simply added proper punctuation. Perhaps Mom is bent on exacting some sort of revenge as she announces, “Okay, dinner starts with a bowl of pee soup.” Well, we all know that mothers are forgiving people and would not serve her children such unappetizing fare. Therefore, we dip again into our palette — not our palate, thankfully — and apply some spelling and word choice and “voila!” Mom says, “Dinner starts with a bowl of pea soup.” The order of words remains the same. At that most interesting dinner table, Dad decides to change up the subject when he inquires of Tommy, “Well, son, did you get the chance to ask Mister Schmuckszi buttergraze at school today?” Well, LOL, instead of Tommy wondering if Mom gave Dad something extra in his drink, we went back to our palette and applied some internet research and looked up his school in Anytown, whereupon, we found a fifth-grade GATE teacher named Mr. Smoltz. Tommy is a good student, so we infer that “buttergraze” has nothing to do with all things bovine. Keeping in mind that the context tells us about education and a school, it makes sense that “graze” must be “grades”. But, butter grades? Is Dad a dairy farmer at market? After listening to that on the file repetitively, we hear “about your”. So, we now have, “Well, son, did you have a chance to ask Mister Smoltz about your grades today?” Venture to say that makes a bit more sense. So, there you have it, a finished canvas. You used the transcriptionist’s palette to turn the art of the spoken word into the written. No words were changed, deleted, or added. You simply punctuated, spelled properly and made the correct word choices, and you researched for background and context. And by doing so, you have brought life and the appropriate meaning to your transcript, and you have allowed the speaker’s message to be heard by his/her intended audience. That, my friends, is the Art of Transcription, and why it truly is an art.

It is also exactly why transcription is a great fit for any artist, be that artist a painter, sculptor, or musician. Against the background of this pandemic, many of you may be struggling with a way to make a living. Perhaps you, as many in the Arts industry are, are gig-type workers. I, myself, am a part-time church organist. And, as churches have been closed to in-person services, there is no opportunity for play and pay. Transcription is a wonderful choice. It is interesting; it gives an artist flexibility of schedule; it allows an artist another avenue to ply their talents, and it allows you to connect with others and make a difference in their lives. I really enjoy it. I like the challenge of the art. I also like that constraint is freedom and a prompt to be creative. In other words, we are constrained by the fact that we can’t change words and how they are said, but we create by using the transcriptionist’s palette and give freedom to allow those words to convey their intended message and meaning. That, in and of itself, is fascinating.

We are all artists in our own way. We all create; we all have constraints; we all love freedom; we all love color and meaning; we all wish to contribute. The Art of Transcription is the ultimate vehicle for that quest. So, why not ply those artistic skills? Transcribe Anywhere is the best place to acquire those skills and tools to start your endeavors. You not only receive first-rate training, instruction, and practice in the art, you become part of a family of transcriptionists. And, while under the umbrella and support of the organization, are also fully independent contractors and free to chart your own future and establish your own home-based enterprise. And what a family it is. Knowledgeable people, many with years of experience who are truly interested in your success and will lend a willing hand to help you succeed. I continue to feel blessed and privileged to be a part of the Transcribe Anywhere family and look forward to a long and successful future in my own home-based business. Try out Transcribe Anywhere’s free Seven-Lesson Mini Course to see if transcription is right for you. You have nothing to lose, so you may as well find out what this innovative and interesting program is all about. You will not regret it. Click on the live link below and explore what it is all about.


4 thoughts on “The Art of Transcription, Part 3

  1. I have one word for your latest blog, Edward: Brilliant.

    If you would like a couple more, I can add informative and entertaining.

    I am collecting words, so I thank you for “segue”. After listening to the pronunciation on Google, I recognize it, but I only knew of the Segway trademarked vehicles. Thank you for expanding my vocabulary.

    And I was waiting with bated breath for what words were going to be revealed out of “Mister Schmuckszi buttergraze”. All in all, I am very relieved that no one is eating mom or pee soup and that poor Mr. Smoltz is not being insulted.

    A skilled transcriptionist saves the day.

  2. Thank you, Monique, for your kind words. I had a lot of fun writing this blog article. I really feel passionate about transcription, and I know that you do as well. You are a talented person who will be a great transcriptionist. From reading your comments on my blog posts, I can see that you are skilled at reading between the lines. Our profession is truly an art; I sincerely believe that. I wrote this extemporaneously and drew upon my experiences and observations with and of auto-generated transcripts as well as listening to files and having to listen over and over, in a loop, difficult enunciations and speech patterns. The short story I used as my object lesson was hyperbolized and melodramatic, of course, LOL, but I had fun with it.

    I would also venture to say that transcriptionists also need to be part detective as well. I say this because, at times and based again on context, we may have to use a bit of inferencing. Through listening to hours upon hours of files and also drawing upon our personal experiences in everyday life, we recognize inflections. Through our training as transcriptionists we become even more aware of inflection. With that tool or media in our palette, and keeping in mind context, we get a snapshot of the bigger picture or message that the speaker is trying to convey which assists us in using the correct punctuation in order to frame and project that message to the audience.

    When a transcriptionist early in their career realizes this, in my opinion, transcription is not merely a job or even a career, but an adventure. It becomes enjoyable; it becomes something to look forward to; it gives our profession meaning. And, best of all, it allows us to learn more about ourselves, about the world around us, shows us new facets of the world, and as we listen more and more during our transcriptions we grow in our breadth of knowledge and experience the wonders in the world around us. I also think it helps to imbue us with a deeper sense of empathy. That is something society needs right now more than ever. When we consider all of this, isn’t that the purpose of the arts?

  3. Wow, EJ, there really is so much that can be said on this topic. You really have explored the length and breadth of “The Art of Transcription.” Your appreciation of the craft is an inspiration to others.

    I look forward to your next blog.

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