Audio to text: Why transcribing is a waste of your time

Audio to text Why transcribing is a waste of your time

Turning audio to text (otherwise known as the black hole of time)

Have you ever had that moment when you’re transcribing a piece of audio only to look up and realise that the audio timestamp has crept along at the pace of a sleepy tortoise?

It’s enough to want to throw your laptop out the window – yes, we’ve all been there!

Even if you’re a pretty good typist, turning your audio to text can soon sponge up your precious time and leave you feeling a horrible combination of sluggish and stressed.

But think about it for a moment, is transcribing really the best use of your time?

Focusing on what you do best

The truth is that converting audio to text is one of those day-to-day jobs that, though necessary, is likely to be a complete waste of your time.

As a mundane, tedious and time-consuming task it will pull you away from your most creative and innovative work (which I’m guessing is the stuff you love, right?).

Not only that but it will take time away from your already busy schedule when you could be meeting with new contacts, drumming up business and, you know, actually making some money.

So, what’s the answer?

Well, it’s simple really. You need to get outsourcing.

If you’re trying to wear all the hats in your business, chances are that you’re holding yourself back. We all have 168 hours in a week after all and the reality is that one person can only do so much.

Outsourcing is about prioritising your work load, making the best use of your time, working with your strengths, and cleverly dishing out those tasks that simply distract you from the ‘real’ work.

Just imagine what you could get done if someone else did your transcribing?

Yes, it’s an investment, but it’s one that can pay back time and time again. In the long run you’ll earn more as you gain time to build your business, connect with more people, write more articles and focus on the stuff where you really thrive. Not to mention the wonders it will do for your sanity!

So, if you’re spending precious hours transcribing, isn’t it time to focus on what you do best?

Need some transcription support? If you record audio or video as part of your work then you’re in the right place.

Whether you run a podcast, speak at live events, or interview others to create written articles, I can take your audio files and provide you with accurate and intelligently transcribed material so you can reach more people, create even more content, and focus on the tasks where you really shine. Learn more about my services here or get in touch to find out more.


9 ways a transcriber can help your business

19 ways a transcriber can help your business

What is a transcriber?

Transcription is the process of turning speech to text so you have an accurate written account of a piece of spoken language. Simply put, a transcriber is a person who does the transcribing! They’ll take your audio recordings, listen to them and convert them into a written format by typing away at a speed of knots.

Depending on your needs, some transcribers will produce written documents using verbatim transcription. This means they’ll include every ‘um’, ‘er’, hestitation, repetition and false start. The spoken and written formats will be an absolute match.

Other transcribers, myself included, use intelligent transcription. Using this method the transcriber will do some clever editing to take out the extra clutter people naturally include when speaking but which don’t make sense on paper. The end result is an accurate and coherent piece of writing that is true to the original and ready for the world to read.

So, how can using a transcriber help your business?

So, you now know what a transcriber does. But how exactly can it help you and your business? Here are 9 benefits to using transcription services.

1. Turn your dictations into written format

If you prefer verbal communication then dictating your book, blog posts or training materials will save you time, headaches and a capacity to reach your goals a whole lot faster. Step away from the blank page, pick up your recording device and get talking!

2. Provide a way to scan and edit content

Don’t waste hours trawling through recordings. With written transcriptions you can quickly and easily find the information you need as well as being able to cut and paste, edit and highlight your words as needed.

3. Save time wasted on apps

When you need an accurate, coherent and ‘read-ready’ transcription, only a human transcriber will do. Unlike computer apps, a person can use clever editing to take out the ‘ums’, ‘ers’, false starts and repetitions as well as checking for accuracy in spelling, grammar and coherency. An app will never get it all right and you’ll end up wasting time correcting mistakes.

4. Help you reach more people

With various learning styles, many of us prefer reading over listening. Plus, there are many people out there with hearing impairments. By offering transcriptions that stand alongside your recordings you will engage more people and ultimately make more sales.

5. Boost your SEO

Google hasn’t yet mastered the art of scanning verbal content which means your online words can get lost in a sea of competition. Pop a written transcription up with your recordings and you’ll give Google a helping hand to find your stuff and send people your way.

6. Create new products

With a bit of editing, you can pull apart written transcriptions of podcasts, videos, presentations or meetings to turn into a bunch of other products. From blog posts, newsletters, training materials, e-books and social media posts, the list is endless. Make your audios work harder for you!

7. Get written records of meetings

Send your recordings of meetings or coaching calls to a transcriber so you have a record you can save, refer to, share with others and return to again and again. There’s a far greater chance everyone involved will remember what was said and take positive action.

8. Allow you to focus on other things

If you spend hours doing your own transcribing, outsourcing this job will allow you to focus on the tasks that are far better use of your time – brainstorming ideas, sourcing new work, working with clients and being the creative force behind your business. Ultimately your investment will pay off as your business grows.

9. Make life easier for your clients

If you give talks or workshops, providing written transcriptions of your sessions is an excellent way to boost your reputation and save your attendees from scribbling down every word. They get to sit back and really take in what you’re saying and you’ll have a reason to get back in touch with them post-talk. Plus, as a bonus, you’ll likely be remembered as offering excellent customer service – always a good thing!

Need some transcription support? If you record audio or video as part of your work then you’re in the right place.

Whether you run a podcast, speak at live events, or interview others to create written articles, I can take your audio files and provide you with accurate and intelligently transcribed material so you can reach more people, create even more content, and focus on the tasks where you really shine. Learn more about my services here or get in touch to find out more.


Got writer’s block? How dictation can save your sanity

Got writer's block_ How dictation can save your sanity

The curse of writer’s block

Ah, writer’s block. That dreaded moment when you sit in front of a blank page to share your pearls of wisdom with the world and…well…nothing. Words, inspiration, ideas – they all seem to fail you. It’s like your brain has turned to a gooey mush and no matter how much you try, nothing will make that scary blank page turn into something wonderful.

Now, although you may feel like throwing your laptop in the bin at this point (we’ve all been there!), a far better solution is to ditch the blank page and instead try dictation.

Using dictation to achieve your goals

Whether writing has never been your thing or you are simply having an ‘off’ day, you can use dictation – the process of speaking your words out loud for someone else to write down – for a whole manner of tasks.

Whether you’re creating a book, blog post or report, taking a deep breath and turning to the spoken word can provide a perfect alternative to staring at a blank page. Simply record your thoughts aloud into your phone, send the audio files to a transcriber and, just like magic, you’ll have a written document to use however you choose.

Not only does it mean you can step away from the computer (I love heading to the woods when I need some inspiration!), but if you’re more of a talker than a writer, using dictation has huge benefits. You’ll have far more fun, will work more productively, will feel more energised and, most importantly, will reach your goals sooner.

So, ditch the stresses and frustrations of trying to overcome writer’s block. When the words refuse to flow from brain to pen, pick up your phone and get chatting instead.

Your sanity and blood pressure will be thankful for it, I promise.

Need some dictation support?

Whether you’re writing a book, creating blog posts, or simply want to get your thoughts down on paper, I can take your audio files and provide you with accurate and intelligently transcribed material. Learn more about my services here or get in touch to find out more.


Virtual Assistant Case study: working with a journalist and copywriter

Man writing a note

The client:

This client is a Hove-based freelance journalist, editor and copywriter who specialises in working with charities, social enterprises, ethically-minded entrepreneurs and NGOs to perfect their communication in print and online. I have worked as his Virtual Assistant since March 2013

His previous copywriting clients include IPC Creative, ASOS, Expedia, WWF, World Vision UK and The Equality and Human Rights Commission. You can also find his writing in Mixmag, The Guardian, Metro, The Big Issue, ILM Edge and a whole host of trade and specialist titles.

He is also a family man and spending time with his partner and daughter comes high on his list of priorities.

The problem:

When he first came to me he was overwhelmed with work and struggling to keep on top of everything. As a consequence invoices weren’t getting sent out quickly, record keeping had become virtually non-existent, stress levels were high and his work/life balance had taken a serious battering. He also charges a higher hourly rate than I do and so it made financial sense to outsource the tasks that were taking up too much of his time so he could focus on gaining new clients and working to his strengths.

How I help him:

1) Invoicing

The first priority when we started working together was to get an effective invoicing system in place. I created a spreadsheet that we both have access to in Dropbox where projects and payments are recorded. At the end of each month I send all invoices out for that previous month and we have a monthly phone call to run through payments so I can chase anything that’s outstanding. As a consequence payments now come in on time and he has an accurate record that he can easily send to his accountant each financial year.

2) Transcribing

As a journalist he regularly interviews other professionals over the telephone which he records and saves as an audio file. He will often send these files through to me to transcribe and return back to him as a Word document which he can then use to create articles.

3) Proof-reading

During busy periods he sends me articles and copy to proofread so he can focus on the next job in hand. Using my keen eye I’ll check for typos as well as reporting back on my understanding of the article (if required). It means he can send the final piece to his client confident that it’s free from human error.

4) Online research

As his virtual assistant now and again I’ll do some online research to support his writing. On one occasion I found six articles that had been written by reputable sources on the topic of ‘Imposter Syndrome’. On another day I sourced some academics that could be good contacts to interview regarding leadership articles for a trade magazine. Research can be time consuming and handing this work over to me can be an effective way to free up precious hours his end.

5) Personal ‘life’ admin

As well as providing support with his professional work I am also available to offer help with any personal ‘life’ admin. This could include anything from booking tickets, researching venues for a family birthday or helping with the logistics of a house move. One of the first tasks I did was organise a provisional driving licence for him!

The result:

Since hiring me as his virtual assistant this client now has far more time and energy to focus on what he does best — writing, meeting with clients and being a father. Rather than working all hours he is able to work four days a week safe in the knowledge that he is still delivering his best work and getting paid on time for his efforts. The flexibility of how we collaborate ensures he can dip in and out of the service as he experiences peaks and troughs in his workload. As a consequence both his work and personal lives have felt the benefits.

I’ve loved working with writers in this way so if you’d like to discuss how we could work together do drop me a lineIf the virtual assistant services that are listed here don’t match exactly what you need, no problem! Check out what else I can help you with here. I’m in Southampton but can work remotely from wherever you’re based.