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Intelligent transcription – how it can help with your audio and video content

Intelligent transcription – what’s that again??

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post. Good intentions have come and gone, so it’s time to go back to basics and ask you a quick question.

What are you struggling with right now, with regards to your content? How can intelligent transcription help with your content? What the bloomin’ heck is intelligent transcription anyway??!!

A quick recap of intelligent transcription

There’s that word again, intelligent!

I’ve come to realise that despite me thinking everybody must surely know what it is I do, and what is involved, this is not the case.

I was chatting to one of the other attendees at my regular networking meeting this week, someone I’ve now known for quite a few months, and it transpires he wasn’t exactly sure what my work involves.

I had mentioned taking the ums and ers out of the spoken word (meaning I was transcribing what someone was saying, and leaving the mumbles and stutters out whilst typing), and he thought it meant I literally took the ums and ers out of the recording!

Not sure that my technical ability is quite up to that!

So here’s a very quick recap to get you up to speed…

My business is all about transcription. At its most basic level, I listen to audio and video recordings through my headphones and I type what’s said. I have special transcription software that works in conjunction with a foot pedal, so I can play, pause, rewind and fast forward using my foot!

What sort of audio and video recordings can be transcribed?

  • Straightforward one person dictation e.g. letters and reports.
  • Interviews.
  • Focus groups.
  • Meetings.
  • Conferences.
  • Workshops.
  • Webinars.
  • Course content in the form of videos or audio recordings.
  • Facebook Live recordings.
  • YouTube videos.
  • Podcasts.

Have I missed anything?

What’s the intelligent bit?

In some cases, for example police interviews, a verbatim transcript is usually required. This will include absolutely everything that’s said in the recording, including ums, ers, where the interviewer says yeah, or mm-hmm, background noises, coughing…absolutely everything.

Intelligent transcription takes away anything unnecessary. What you get is a transcript of what was said, but missing out things like ums, ers, unnecessary repetitions, interjections and so on, so the text makes absolute sense.

I suppose the exception would be for straight dictation, but the content of a letter or a report usually needs to be word for word, and if it’s one person speaking, you can usually use a bit of common sense to leave out the odd ‘um’ during the transcribing process!

How can this help you?

I’ll give one example of a client I had a couple of years ago. She had put together an online course, and most of the content was available to access in the form of videos, which were also provided as mp3 audio recordings, so those participating in the course could listen on the go.

However, she was aware that learning styles differ and some people prefer to read their content, rather than watch or listen. It was my job to transcribe the videos, and the transcripts were provided along with the video and audio recordings, thus making the content fully accessible.

So that’s just for starters.

What are you currently struggling with? Could intelligent transcription help you make your content more accessible? Or perhaps you’re a one person business doing letters and reports and you need help on an adhoc basis, but don’t want to hire someone full time, might this service help you?

I’d love to hear what you think, so please either comment below, or pop over to my Facebook page and leave me a message.


Being ‘the real you’ in your business

Are you being ‘the real you’ in your business?

160316-091232I was chatting with the other ladies in my Facebook mastermind group last week and discussing what we put out there on our business pages and what gets the most reach. We all agreed that reach can be fairly pitiful, depending on what we’re sharing. It got me thinking about the content I post on a daily basis and the content of other people’s pages I see. Obviously we tend to see people’s highlights, so where can you be ‘the real you’ instead of a carefully curated version of yourself?

Being ‘authentic’ – for want of a better word…

I shared this particularly ‘authentic’ (I’m not sure I like that word in this context!) photo of myself on my page in the middle of the week after the chat with my mastermind buddies.

I decided to bemoan the fact I feel obliged to have a phone for my business, although I never actually answer it. I get enquiries via email 99 per cent of the time, anyway!

I always thought I was quite unusual in having a bit of a phone phobia, but the engagement I got on my post was amazing! Who knew so many others dislike talking on the phone? I’m actually thinking of getting rid of the phone later this year and only having an email address on my website.

Is this something you would consider doing? Do you have a phone only because you think you have to have one?

When I started my business I did all the stuff I thought I should be doing, and I offered certain services in my then virtual assistant business because other VAs did, so I thought I should too. I didn’t realise that I could just offer something I really enjoyed doing, i.e. transcription, and forget about the other stuff.

The same goes for how I have portrayed myself on social media and so on. For a while now I’ve been considering changing the picture I have on my website, Facebook page and Twitter profile. It’s the same picture, and it’s fine, it’s a nice businesslike shot and I’m smiling. But is the picture above more like me in my business on a day to day basis?!?

Lastly I do consider myself to be a bit of an introvert. That’s not to say I’m not the life and soul of the party when I want to be, but only on my terms. I would far rather have a glass of wine and a laugh with a small group of friends than be thrown into a gaggle of people all competing to see who can talk the loudest. This probably explains why I love to work on my own so much, and why I can lose myself in the interesting content that I transcribe on a daily basis.

So…what do you consider is ‘the real you’ in your business? Do you try and present an idealised picture to the outside world, or do you show yourself and all your flaws, warts and all? Please comment below, or pop over to my Facebook page and check out my recent posts!




When is it time to outsource?

When is it time to consider outsourcing?

DeathtoStock_SlowDown3I’ll be honest, this is a question I’ve been asking myself a LOT recently. Anyone who knows me will know that I can be a bit of a control freak when it comes to letting go of anything to do with my business. I’ve been in business now for just over five years, and the only thing I’ve entrusted to someone else is the yearly task of the dreaded tax return. So, when is it time to outsource tasks in your business?

Are you running out of time?

I’ve been really busy with actual work recently. Not that I’m complaining, after all, why on earth would you start a business if you weren’t trying to get clients and be busy with work?

The downside to being so busy is I’ve let things slide, including this blog. This is my first post since before Christmas, and I’m a little bit cross with myself, as I’d got into a fairly regular pattern of blogging once a fortnight in 2015 and I had plans to be writing more regularly.

I just haven’t been setting aside the time to get this scheduled in!

It’s silly, really. I’ve started going to a networking meeting every Tuesday morning at 9.15am, so this is scheduled into my diary and I fit it in.

If I can manage this, there’s absolutely no reason why I can’t also fit in blog writing, or whatever else has fallen by the wayside, like scheduling social media posts or getting my accounts up to date.

That doesn’t necessarily mean I enjoy updating my accounts, mind you…although the Virgo in me loves seeing the spreadsheet all up to date with the columns nicely aligned!

What do you enjoy doing and what makes you feel a bit….meh?

I don’t mind scheduling social media, but I never really know how many posts to schedule, and the whole analytics thing makes me go all Kevin the teenager – do I have to?!?

Accounts can be a bit dull to keep up to date, but as mentioned above, I do outsource my tax return, which is a definite bonus!

I actually do enjoy writing my blog (when I make the time), but I know the writing process doesn’t come easily for some people.

So I have two suggestions for you when it comes to blogging.

You can either outsource the writing of blog posts altogether, and for that I suggest you go and speak to Charlotte Fleming at Great Copy – she really knows her stuff. Or if you prefer, you might want to try dictating your thoughts into your smartphone, and you can pass your musings on to me and I will transcribe and edit them into a piece of writing that makes sense.

What to you think? Are there tasks that you keep putting off? Please either comment below, or pop over to my Facebook page and send me a message.


Making excuses? What’s stopping you from blogging?

home-office-336378_1280What excuses are you making today?

I was a bit cross with myself last week – I’ve been blogging reasonably regularly for about a year and a half now and I moved from monthly to fortnightly a few months ago, so I was annoyed that I’d used the school holidays as an excuse not to get my regular post done.

The kids have been off for nearly three weeks already! I remember really struggling to keep things afloat this time last year, but this year I have reached a happy medium where I have been spending a lot of time doing stuff with them, but also spending time getting work done, even if it means a few early starts and late finishes. I feel I missed a trick with regards to not getting something scheduled in advance for my blog, mind you.

Better late than never…

I realise though that I have made a LOT of progress from where I was in the early days and I enjoy the writing process very much even though I’m far from perfect. It’s a relatively straightforward process for me to catch up, even if it is a week later than I anticipated!

But what about you? Is writing something that you struggle with? Are you making a lot of excuses about why you can’t start that blog or carry on with it once you have started? Is the writing process in general something that makes you want to run and hide?

Writing isn’t something that comes easily to everyone. I believe that a lot of people are more comfortable talking about what they do, hence the rising popularity of podcasting, although for me, that would be a huge step out of my comfort zone! I was interviewed for a podcast earlier this year despite really not liking the sound of my voice on recordings, and I’ve also managed to record a number of short videos, but I know I will always feel more comfortable with the written process.

Do you prefer to talk?

Everybody (apart from my mum!) has a handheld recording device these days – a smartphone! If you do feel more comfortable articulating your thoughts verbally, I would suggest recording your thoughts into your phone. You might find it easier either to dictate a blog post word for word, or to express the gist of what it is you want to say verbally. You can then get the results transcribed and edited into either a completed blog post, or a piece of written text that you can then edit yourself, thus taking out the fear and pain of the actual written process. The process of intelligent transcription gets recorded words ‘book ready’, if you like, by taking out the ums and ers, and tidying up the text so it’s ready to go.

So, what’s stopping you from blogging? I’d love to know what you’re struggling with, and if you think intelligent transcription might help you with the writing process, so please comment below and let me know.

Making a change – introducing learning tools

April is a funny time of year, one where it seems to be true to say that you really do experience four seasons in one day. Last week we were enjoying 20 degree temperatures (yes, even in Scotland!), and yesterday I rushed through a stinging hailstorm which was closely followed by a blizzard.

The variability in the spring weather patterns has got me thinking about the changes business owners must make on a reasonably regular business in order to keep things moving along and stop things going stagnant.

Change is good!

I know, I know, it’s easy to get bogged down in the day to day routine of business when you have a few regular clients, a fairly consistent amount of work and you know what you’re doing with whatever product or service you’re offering.

At the risk of sounding like a cliche, however, you have to get out of your comfort zone if you’re going to grow and develop your business. This is what I’m planning in doing in the not too distant future, and I would love to have your feedback on my idea, and if you think it’s something that’s going to work.

Up until now, my business has been purely service-based. In the main I provide transcription services to my clients, along with a bit of proofreading and editing (which, I’m sure you’ll agree, comes with the territory). However, this is very much a time-based business model, and it’s always been my intention to look into ways of creating passive income (I’m not even sure I really like that phrase!) by creating courses or learning tools of some sort.

Here’s the scary bit…

Okay, so I recently made myself accountable both to my coach and to my mastermind group that I would map out a potential course for people who are a bit scared when it comes to writing for their businesses. This could be in terms of blog writing like this, or even just best practice when it comes to contacting clients or posting on social media.

So this is where you come in!

What puts you off writing for business?

Is this you? What are you afraid of when you’re writing for your business?

Do you feel anxious about getting your spelling, grammar and punctuation wrong? Are you worried about your sentence structure? Are you unsure of the proper way to address somebody in a letter? What about different styles to use in different types of writing or correspondence?

Is the whole writing process just not something you feel comfortable with at all and you feel more comfortable articulating yourself verbally than getting your words down on paper?

This is a bit of a scary thing, and because it’s so new for me I can still feel a certain amount of resistance towards it, but by writing it down here, I’m making myself doubly accountable. I would welcome your comments, so please watch this space!

So….how do you make changes in your business? I would love to know!

Are you visible enough in your business?

Are you invisible?!

A few weeks ago we were lucky enough to view an almost total eclipse of the sun here in Scotland – well, I say view, I hadn’t been organised enough to get hold of those special filter glasses and by the time I realised the eclipse was taking place, everywhere had sold out. Fortunately, despite a bright and sunny start to the day, the clouds came over enough to act as a filter, and I was able to see what was, I think, about 95% totality.

solar eclipse

The whole idea of the sun hiding behind the moon (nearly!) got me thinking about where we hide ourselves in our businesses, especially if we don’t feel particularly comfortable shouting about what we’re good at. I know when I was in the workplace before my children came along, I trundled along in the background in my support role, getting things done, working away on the day to day tasks and providing an essential service to the people I worked for. However, I felt pretty much invisible in terms of the business as a whole, and I never really felt that important, despite the fact that if I hadn’t been there, the whole team wouldn’t have worked!

Becoming a business owner

Being a business owner is a different kettle of fish, mind you. If you don’t make yourself visible, you won’t get business, it’s as simple as that!

That was a difficult concept for me to grasp at first. I wasn’t remotely comfortable promoting myself and telling people what I was good at, and in the very early days even starting my Facebook page made me feel extremely anxious – what if people actually wanted to buy my services?? What a scary thought!

I’ve been in business for over four years, but I’ve only had a blog for just over a year, and the posts were only once a month at first, but I’ve managed to increase them to once a fortnight (more or less) for the moment. I do love the writing process, so once a week is my goal, sooner rather than later, I hope!

So what do you do if you’re feeling a bit invisible?

My advice to you first of all would be to start a blog. It doesn’t have to be complicated, and even if you aren’t able to have it there on your website, you could do what I did in the early days and set something up on wordpress.com. If I can work out the technical bits and bobs, anyone can. If you want to start off by doing a post a month, you only need to think of 12 topics to write about, and I bet you can come up with more than that if you set your mind to it. What questions do your clients and potential clients ask you? What advice can you give? What can you teach people?

You can even do what I’ve done recently and try out video as a way of making yourself really visible. My videos aren’t polished at all, and they’ve all been done either on my phone or with my webcam, but it’s a great way for people to see YOU, and after all, people buy from people they like and trust, don’t they?

As a little addendum, if you’re struggling to write, you could try dictating your thoughts and ideas and get somebody like me to transcribe and edit them into a usable form, and the same goes for videos, which can be transcribed and turned into written blog posts or articles.

How would you like to make yourself more visible in your business? Please do comment below, I’d love to hear some other ideas!