More Tales From Transcriptionland

I’m now in the non-rookie class of transcribers at Rev Transcriptions, and I’m in my second month of working there.

The problem with working there sometimes is that the audio quality of files tends to be poor for the most part.  If there’s a good file, I usually can do it with a good amount of speed.  A bad file takes longer, and wears my patience thin.

What I do is I listen to the first 10% of any given file.  So if a file is 45 minutes long, I listen for the first 4:30 of the file.  The problem is, if someone doesn’t consistently speak at the same audio level that they were speaking at in that first 10%, it wears on my patience and gets me to the point where I can’t continue on with the assignment.

That leads to another problem: getting promoted.  If I can’t continue to commit to assignments, my commit scores get lowered, thus I can’t get promoted.  It’s a dog-eat-dog kind of conundrum I’m in right now with the work.

Let me be clear that I can empathize with the position Rev is in, and I don’t want this post to be totally viewed as someone who is biting the hand the feeds me.  But poor quality is part of the problem, the other part is, depending on the audio file, is that terminology has to be looked up.  Thus, instead of just transcribing, I am also a decipherer and a researcher.  Instead one of job, I’m doing three jobs simultaneously.

Rev understands this, I think, and is currently offering all of us five cents more per audio minute for our trouble. But this doesn’t solve the problem of giving us good audio files to do good work. We have to deal with people who put their Androids, or their IPhones, or their MP3 recorders down and think we can hear a voice a good ten feet away with perfect quality.

The truth is we can’t. It’d help if those that give us work invested in a clip mic or two that can be bought at Amazon for three bucks, and ran their audio through a laptop computer.  But, I realize I’m expecting perfect solutions to imperfect problems.

They expect us to make chicken salad out of chicken droppings sometimes.  I realize I’m a newbie, but how can we pick the damn cotton with all of those sandspurs in the way?


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