How to Transcribe Faster: 13 Effective Tips


Transcription services can be pretty time-consuming. This is especially the case if you’re inexperienced or working with a file that is hard to understand. That’s why in this article, we’re going to take a look at how to transcribe interviews faster through 13 effective tips.

How Can I Increase My Transcription Speed?

There are various ways to increase your audio transcription speed. If you’re looking for a fast turnaround transcription, you must follow at least some of the tips below. You may also need to practice some of them, otherwise, it may impact the quality of the transcript negatively.

1. Use a Fast Transcription Device

Using a slow transcription device can increase the number of hours it takes to transcribe and create a good transcript. It can make the audio load incorrectly, or make it hard for you to rewind, skip, etc.

That’s why when transcribing, you should try to use a fast device, and also close down all the programs you’re not using. Additionally, you can also consider freeing up some memory space, as this can also help improve your device.

2. Improve Your Typing Speed

If you’re looking to type as fast as possible, it’s important that you can do so without looking at the keyboard. The best way to improve on this is to watch some tutorials and to simply practice.

As time goes on, and you’ve practiced more, you’ll become better and won’t need as much time to transcribe.

3. Use Transcription Software

For this next tip, we aren’t talking about software that does the typing for you. Although they have faster turnaround times, they are extremely inaccurate.

What we’re talking about instead is audio playback software that will help you skip, stop, forward, rewind, slow down, or speed up the file. With a piece of software like this, you’ll be able to adjust the audio to your preferences so that you can understand it.

This will increase your typing speed a lot.

4. Use foot pedals

If you’re looking for the fastest way to transcribe audio, foot pedals are essential.

What it does, is that it allows you to pause, forward, and rewind without taking your hands off the keyboard. This means you’ll be more productive as you can focus better. Therefore, a foot pedal can help you transcribe much faster.

5. Record Clear Audio

Another tip that will help you transcribe faster is recording clear audio. This is one of the most important factors that affect the speed of your audio transcription. If the audio is clear, you can smoothly transcribe it, without the need of having to rewind all the time to listen again.

Some of our tips to record clear audio include:

  • Avoid cross-speaking
  • Use a device that records high-quality audio
  • Avoid recording in places with background noise

6. Remove Any Distractions

Tip #6 is to remove any distractions when you transcribe audio. If you have your phone close by or have your emails opened while you are transcribing, it’s likely going to take you double the amount of time.

For this reason, we suggest that you turn your notifications off, close all your tabs, and put your phone away while transcribing. This will allow you to focus and will stop you from having to rewind all the time.

7. Avoid Unfamiliar Topics

If you’re working with clients, try to avoid unfamiliar topics where possible. Or at least unfamiliar topics that are extremely complicated. The reason we say this is because they can often take much longer to transcribe and can almost waste your time a little.

Often, you could have transcribed twice the audio of a topic you’re familiar with, in the same amount of time.

8. Sharpen The Axe

Anything that you can prepare for your transcription that will save you time falls into the category of sharpening the axe. This may be, keeping a file with all the references and definitions of common terms used. Or, it could also be a couple of notes on words you had to research.

If it will save you time during your transcription, prepare for it before. By doing so so, it will also be much easier for you to focus and work through the audio file more efficiently.

9. Improve Your Research Skills

Our next tip is to improve your research skills.

While a lot of people think researching is one of the easier tasks, it’s still something that you can improve at. And, if you’re great at efficiently gathering information from the internet, then you’ll save a lot of time before and during your transcription decreasing the overall time.

10. Learn How To Use Word’s Advanced Features

Word has some pretty advanced features that can help you transcribe much quicker.

Some of them include:

  • Autotext
  • Autocorrect
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Autocomplete
  • Building blocks
  • Its built-in dictionary

All of these can help you type much faster and correctly, so they are definitely worth using.

11. Use text expanders

Text expanders are kind of a more advanced version of autocomplete. They allow you to create a shortcut for any sentence, word, paragraph, phrase, or even for an entire document.

When you type in that shortcut, the whole sentence or whatever you have configured will be pasted in. Sometimes this can take a little practice to get right, but it will save you a lot of hours, so it’s worth it.

12. Adjust The Speed Of The Audio File

Our next tip would be to adjust the speed of the audio. If you constantly find yourself rewinding to listen again, you could try slowing the speed down to 0.75X for example.  It’s definitely worth giving a shot, as sometimes this can really help your productivity.

13. Set Up Templates

Our final tip is to use templates.

If you find yourself often transcribing a certain type of audio such as two-person interviews, you should consider creating templates.

Templates make it much easier for you to format your writing.

How To Transcribe Faster: Final Words

As you have seen throughout this article, there are a couple of ways to increase your transcription speed.

However, it’s also important that you don’t sacrifice the quality and accuracy of your work. Otherwise, it’s simply not worth it.

Luckily, the tips mentioned in this article, shouldn’t affect the quality. But if they do then consider practicing them more, or cutting those particular tips.

If you enjoyed this article, make sure to check out one of our recent posts below on how to get started.

Read Also: The Definite Guide To Transcription Services Rates

How To Transcribe Faster: Frequently Asked Questions

Lastly, we just wanted to answer some frequently asked questions about transcribing videos faster online.

How long does it take you to transcribe one hour of audio?

This depends on the audio quality, the experience of the professional transcriptionist, and various other factors. As a good rule of thumb, most transcriptionists say it takes them around 4 hours to transcribe 1 hour’s worth of audio.

If you would like to learn more about this, you can check out our article: How long does it take to transcribe 1 hour of audio?

What is a good transcription speed?

If the audio is clear, a professional will usually take 2-4 hours to transcribe 1 hour’s worth of audio. So, that could be an excellent transcription velocity target.

But it also depends on various other factors such as whether you are using transcription software online to transcribe audio.

How Do You Transcribe Easily?

To transcribe easy follow these steps:

  • Find a quiet place to work
  • Improve your typing velocity
  • Remove all distractions
  • Use Word’s advanced tools (such as autocorrect)
  • Buy a foot pedal for your work
  • Buy a text expanders
  • Use the right transcription software

These steps should help you transcribe easier and quicker.

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