If You Want to Improve and Polish Your Grammar for Transcription, Start Here.

For some, grammar comes easy, for others you have to work for it. Some grammar mistakes are so common that at times people often don’t notice that they made a mistake. This is because it has been repeated so many times that it’s almost become a norm, acceptable. Technology hasn’t made it any easier. The need to shorten your words so as to write more words in a given space and period of time, has had people coming up with the most ridiculous acronyms. The repeated use of such words has seen them embedded in our minds and at our fingertips. Transcription needs your grammar to be spot on and that being said clients expect transcribers never to compromise in quality no matter what. Below we are going to look at some of the most common mistakes that people make in grammar during transcription and how to correctly use them.

  1. Homophones

This is a group of words that cannot be exhausted in one sitting. We would need several articles just looking at these. However we are going to look at just a few to help us get the point. First a definition. Homophones are words that sound the same when pronounced but have different meanings and/or spelling.

  • Their, they’re, there

Their: This refers to possession e.g. Their house was robbed last night. When you think of this word think ‘belong to.’

They’re: This is the contracted form of they are e.g. They’re early for the meeting. The apostrophe marks the eliminated letter ‘a’.

There: This refers to a place e.g. She is seated over there. It can also be used in the following context; There are many ways to get to town.

  • There’s, theirs.

There’s: This is the contracted form of there is e.g. There’s a bug on my bed.

Theirs: This refers to the third person plural possessive pronoun e.g. The books that were on the table were theirs.

  • This and these.

This: Is singular. This book is mine.

These: Plural. These books are mine.

  • Here and hear.

Here: This is an adverb referring to a place or position. e.g. I want you to sit here.

Hear: This is a verb referring to the act of perceiving a sound e.g. I hear my neighbors singing every morning.

  • Who’s, whose

Who’s: This is the contracted form of who is e.g. Who’s in the shower?

Whose: This refers to possession, e.g. Whose book is this?

  • To, too, two

To: This is a preposition e.g. I went to bed at 9.

Too: Refers to ‘also’ e.g. I too have such a bag.

Two: Refers to a sequence/number as in one, two

  • Weather, whether

Weather: This is a noun to climate. How is the weather today?

It can also be used as a verb to mean endurance e.g. He will weather the storm.

Whether: This a conjunction and a synonym of ‘if’. E.g. I’m not sure whether to attend the conference or not.

  • Lose and loose

Lose: In relation to suffering a loss, the past tense form of it.

E.g. I did lose my shoe in the riot.

Loose: This is the opposite of tight.

E.g. The knot is loose, it might not hold.

  1. Punctuation

Apostrophe: This can change the meaning of a word entirely when it is added or removed, for instance on the words ‘it’s’ and ‘its’. The first one is a contraction of the words it is and the latter refers to possession. E.g. It’s sad that the cat bit its own tail.

Comma: These can bring out a variety of meanings depending on how they are used. For instance let’s look at this same sentence punctuated differently.

Let’s eat, mother.

Let’s eat mother.

  1. Nouns

The rule of thumb dictates that one should capitalize the first letter of proper nouns, e.g. names of people, institutions and the likes. But for someone whose grammar is a bit off they might get some things mixed up.

For instance when talking about say a library or an airport, when the name of the library/airport is mentioned you capitalize the first letters but when it’s not, don’t. What do I mean? Let’s try out a few examples.

I passed by the library on my way home.

I’m on my way to the airport.

And now…

I passed by Margaret Thatcher Library on my way home.

I’m on my way to Heathrow Airport.

  1. Commonly Confused Words
  • A lot vs. a lot: A lot (two separate words) is the correct grammar. Avoid using alot.

E.g. A lot of students don’t like exams.

  • All together vs. altogether: All together means collectively while altogether means completely.

E.g.      Put the plates all together in the sink.

I’m altogether worn out.

  • All right vs. alright: All right means okay, safe, good etc while alright is the informal version of all right. Avoid using alright in your formal grammar.

E.g. His writing is all right.

  • I’m vs. am: I’m, which is the contracted version of ‘I am’, is the correct spelling.

E.g. I’m going to bed.

  • Ok vs. okay: Okay is the most preferred in formal editing works.

E.g. In regards to the meeting Wednesday would be okay for me.

  • Yeah vs. yah: Yeah is the accepted version.

E.g. Yeah, I saw him yesterday.

  • All over sudden: These are three different words not one.

E.g. All of a sudden the clouds turned dark.

  • Favor/favour, color/colour and neighbor/neighbour: The Difference is the additional ‘u’. The words without the ‘u’ are American spelling and the one with is British spelling.
  • Maybe, maybe: Maybe means perhaps, whereas when you think of may be think of ‘might be’.

E.g.      Maybe I should skip the party.

It may be that she fell sick that’s why she didn’t come.

  • Already, all ready: Already refers to time i.e. previously while all ready means being prepared.

E.g.      They already cleaned the house.

We are all ready to go now.

  • Everyone every one: Everyone refers to everybody every one on the other hand refers to each one in a group.

E.g.      Everyone must have breakfast.

The principle thanked every one of the parents who came to the general meeting.

These are just but a few, as mentioned before the list is endless and cannot be exhausted in one post but more post will follow up with more. Feel free to give your suggestion/comments below on the same.

Being Kenyan; Trying to earn that extra cash.

transcription

Now if you ask most people in Kenya what transcription is the answer would be, “I don’t know.” This is because transcription is not very popular in Kenya although in the recent years, say the last three to five years, its popularity has slightly increased. The spark in interest has emerged from the fact that quite a number of Kenyans have turned to working online given the busy schedules and of course the need to make that extra cash (9 to 5 jobs alone don’t cut it anymore with this economy).  As companies are realizing the benefits of outsourcing transcription services many Kenyans have taken that opportunity to make some cash. Some do it as a full-time job but many are still going about it as a part-time job. Reason? Transcription is not as easy as one would think. Listening to an audio while typing it out is not an easy task more so when faced with audios with a lot of background noise or speakers with heavy accents.

Another factor that has contributed to many Kenyans taking transcription jobs as a part-time job is because there are high and low seasons. Transcription jobs are not always available throughout the year. There comes a point when the demand goes down thus the need to have a back-up plan (read 9 to 5 job). Some have perfected the art of transcription; they are fast and good with just about any accent. We will call them transcription gurus. Of these some are kind enough to offer training services to newbies free of charge, while others do it at a fee (again, that extra cash does come in handy). Not many landlords would accept your kind gestures in lieu of the rent or are there any who would? No? Didn’t think so.

For those who are not lucky enough to be taken under the wings of the gurus fret not. This is the era of the internet. What is that popular motto doing rounds in campus again? What Google has I have. There are uncounted number of free eBooks and guides on how to go about perfecting the art of transcription online. All you have to do is have internet access, a computer, headphones and transcription software you are good to go. Then you can proceed to pray to God that you don’t experience a power blackout in the middle of your transcription.

If you  put in time and efforts it does not take long to master the art of transcription. The key is to have good grammar skills and get into the audio, really get into it. Follow what is being said, don’t just type passively. You are more likely to make mistakes this way.

Several pages have been formed on Facebook  bringing Kenyan transcribers together to form somewhat a community to offer support and advice to fellow transcribers. Such pages include Awesome Transcribers in Kenya a closed group with 11,725 members and counting, Transcribers Kenya: Working Online from Home and Creating Wealth another closed group with 2, 743, Reach Transcribers in Kenya also a closed group with 1313 members to mention but a few.

In as much as these groups are set up to provide support not all the members in these groups are here for genuine reasons. Some are out to make money by conning others. The admins of the group might try as much as possible to weed out such members but trust me there are always more of them lurking somewhere waiting for an opportunity. It could be through offering non-existent training services or bogus study materials at a fee or selling ‘imaginary’ data bundles or modems at dirt cheap prices. Always be weary.

For those not brave enough to go the DIY way there are well-established and reputable companies like Adept Technologies Ltd who are willing to hire inexperienced transcribers and even offer free training. Many have chosen to go the company way as it is ‘less risky’. They provide you not only with the training but also the computer, headphones and did I mention the internet. No spending money on data, just make sure you show up and be ready to learn. Yeah, nothing comes for free you have to put in the effort to learn and actually learn.