As part of my resolution to try new things, I’ve been doing some transcription work for an on-line company. The pay looks possibly decent on paper, but it’s factored per audio minute, so the actual rate per hour depends on how quickly the transcriptionist can complete the job. The easiest part is the typing. The audio quality varies a great deal per file which means the transcriptionist must have quality headphones and a flexible ear. The most challenging aspect is discerning voices. Many of the audio files are of group discussions. When the participants are not evenly miked, some voices are loud and clear while most others are harder to hear or even sound muffled or mumbled. Another challenge is understanding non-native English speakers with various accents.
I’m also finding that most people interrupt themselves. They don’t speak in complete sentences. They often use strings of unfinished phrases, and it’s sometimes difficult to even find a noun and a verb that convey a thought. It seems to be common place for conversationalists to throw at each other what I would call word-paintings a la Seurat! Fortunately the transcriptionist doesn’t have to make sense out of the recorded words!
And yet, that is the biggest challenge of all for me personally. When I don’t see the value in something, it is extremely difficult for me to contribute any of my energies towards the advancement of it. I simply can’t fathom why so many people believe so many of their thoughts matter to anyone else.
I realize others could say the same thing referring to my blogs! Why does the Merry Lark need to post to the public so many of her musings? In this case, I acknowledge the main benefit is the therapeutic value for myself. However, as evidenced by these audio files awaiting transcription, many companies (and sometimes individuals) are paying personnel to interview people and then paying yet other people to transcribe what was recorded during the interview. I can’t imagine being willing to pay even the fewest pennies to gather what often amounts to drivel!
The lesson I take from this? Choose my words carefully. Continue to hone my thoughts. Speak (and write) in complete sentences! Cherish any available silence.