Transcribers’ 5 biggest audio bugbears

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Have you ever tried to look for blessings ‘in the skies’, or wondered why someone has a ‘ship’ on their shoulder?  Perhaps you’ve been perplexed by the ‘lame man’ and his many terms, or simply couldn’t understand why someone would have zero ‘taller ants’. 

If you can relate to any of those common mishears, then you’ll no doubt have sympathy for our dedicated audio transcribers, who are regularly separating their petal stools from their pedestals to provide you with blissfully accurate transcripts. 

So, on this week’s blog, we take a look at the five biggest bugbears for transcribers, and how you can help us provide the best service possible.

In Position

1. At number one on any transcriber’s wish list is good quality audio.  By ensuring that your recording device is in a prominent position between all moderators and respondents, and that the device’s microphone can pick up voices clearly, you are instantly making our transcribers very happy.  And who doesn’t love a happy transcriber?

Loud and Clear

2. Next up, isn’t it frustrating when you’re trying to have a conversation, but Geoff in Sales’ telephone keeps ringing off the hook, or when you’re trying to have a good chinwag over a coffee, but the barista behind the counter is using the world’s loudest coffee machine?  Just as these moments frustrate you, they also make it harder for our transcribers to bring you the highest level of accuracy.  So, where possible, we always recommend recording your sessions in a quiet room, away from these interruptions.  That way, you get an accurate transcript, and Geoff in Sales can keep on racking up those phone bills!

“Could you turn that thing off?!”

 3. Why did the chicken cross the road?  No, really, why did it?  We’re dying to know the answer.  Unfortunately, the last time we heard someone pipe up with that joke, they were tapping away on their laptop at the same time, and all we could hear was the rat-a-tat-tat of keys, because it turns out we humans can be surprisingly noisy!  Even without loud coffee machines present, microphones and recording devices can struggle to pick up voices over everyday desktop sounds, such as typing, phones vibrating on tables, and noisy packaging.  Being aware of these seemingly unobtrusive noises can really help us out with transcription.  Also, we’d really like to hear the punchline of that joke.


4. Have you ever been on the bus, headphones in, listening to the latest edition of your favourite podcast, only for someone to start talking to you?  You can’t hear your podcast or what they’re saying to you, and it’s all just very confusing.  That’s when you could do with one of our transcribers, because if our transcribers had a superpower, it would be accurately translating what people say when they’re talking over each other*.  They’re pretty wonderful at it, to be honest, but even they struggle sometimes.  The biggest culprits are focus group transcriptions or market research transcriptions, when there are often large groups. So it’s useful to remind your participants to let each other speak, and not talk over each other.  That way we can accurately transcribe what everyone has said, not just the loudest people in the room.

(*Yes, that is a better superpower to have than invisibility or flight.  I don’t know how anyone could say otherwise.)

Sorry, I missed that…

5. The final audio bugbear our transcribers have is one we all fall foul of sometimes (especially me, if my mother is to be believed), and that is mumbling.  Even in this era of technological wizardry, microphones still struggle to pick up the murmurers amongst us, so, until the day that technology really is made of magic and can capture our mumbles, please remind your participants that speaking clearly makes them a transcriber’s best friend.  Our transcribers are lovely people, as well as expert typists, so that’s a pretty great incentive, as far as we’re concerned!

So, there you have it.  Five simple tips to keep our transcribers happy, and, more importantly, to help us provide you with top-notch transcription. 


Take Note offers bespoke transcription services worldwide via our secure online portal; from  Youtube video subtitles to verbatim legal documents, podcast transcription, translation and all in between. For a quick quote, or simply some advice on timestamped transcripts or video SEOget in touch!


Take Note

Take Note is a UK-based transcription service with world-class customer support alongside the highest standards of security and ethics. We deliver a comprehensive range of transcription services including Audio and Video Transcription, Video Captions and On-Site Note Taking.