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Video or transcript?

Video or transcript? Watching or reading?

DeathtoStock_CreativeSpace1 11.45.06 AMLike most business owners I subscribe to rather a lot of email newsletters (probably too many!), and the content of these obviously varies, but there’s one in particular that contains a weekly video, plus a transcript of the video. I will come right out and say (and I’m not biased in any way as a transcription specialist!) that I always read the transcript and never watch the video. So what about you? Video or transcript, which do you prefer?


Different learning styles

Everybody processes information in different ways. For me personally, when I’m faced with even a short video of five minutes or less, I will always prefer to skim read the transcript and I can get the information I need in a fraction of the time.

Yes, I know that makes me sound incredibly lazy! I can’t always be bothered to watch a five minute video, but I’m easily distracted, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. I just prefer to read the text instead, as that’s the way I absorb useful information.

Video versus audio

Funnily enough, however, I’m completely happy to listen to mp3 recordings of things like course content or podcasts while I’m doing something else like housework. This might be because it takes my mind off the completely tedious job in hand (I’m determined to get a cleaner soon!), but I’m quite happy to potter about cleaning the bathroom or dusting and learning at the same time.

I think with video it’s because you’re kind of fixed to the spot and there’s no escape. Because my mind has a tendency to wander, when faced with a one hour webinar or video-based course content that’s longer than half an hour, I’ll find myself checking emails and browsing Facebook, and I’ll completely switch off from what might be relevant and useful information for me.

For other people, however, the opposite is probably true and they’re quite happy to sit and focus for longer periods of time. I’m just not one of these people, unless it’s an episode of The Walking Dead, perhaps!

What this boils down to is that if you’re creating content and you want to reach as wide an audience as possible, it’s always important to remember all the different learning styles out there.

There are so many options out there for recorded content, and if you get your videos and audios transcribed, you’re not only appealing to those who prefer to read (myself included!), you’re also giving yourself the opportunity to use your content again and again. You can turn your videos into blog posts, ebooks, newsletter content and social media posts, quickly and easily.

I’d love to hear your views on this. Video or transcript? Do you prefer to watch, listen, read, or perhaps a combination of all three? Please comment below or ping me a message on Facebook.


Merry Christmas! My 2015 round up…

Merry Christmas!


Ho Ho Ho! I’m writing this on 18th December, it’s the last day of term, the kids will be home in about an hour, so I’m trying to get all my last minute bits and pieces done before then.

In the midst of attempting to finish my last transcription job of 2015, it seemed a fitting time to look back over the last 12 months and have a look at what I’ve managed to achieve, and what hasn’t quite happened as planned.

What’s gone well?

I’m pleased to say that tracking my time religiously has worked like a dream! There are a load of apps and time tracking thingies available online and on most phones these days, but I’ve gone with the simple stopwatch on my phone. Timing how long it takes me to do a piece of work allows me to see how much time it really takes to get stuff done, and also how much time I spend faffing!

I also started using a spreadsheet to log the results, and this also works out how much I’m earning per hour (as I charge per audio minute), and it gives me daily, weekly and monthly totals, plus an average daily hourly rate. Extremely useful!

The result of this is that I’ve managed to more than double my monthly income from this time last year, purely by being so much more aware of what I’m actually doing. It’s so bloomin’ simple!

What’s not gone so well?

I had great plans this year to get going on an online course, and I’m sorry to say that this hasn’t happened quite as planned. I did get started on creating a number of videos, and I was testing these with some very helpful volunteers, but for some reason, I just wasn’t feeling it. Maybe it was the content, maybe it was the way I was putting it together, I’m not really sure.

For the time being, I have knocked the idea of course creation on the head, but it’s still something I want to pursue, and I’m hoping to get started at some point in 2016.

What else has been going on?

I have taken on a number of lovely new clients this year and am continuing to enjoy helping them make their recorded content super valuable – because that’s what it’s all about, really!

I’d love to help you if you think your content needs a bit of attention in 2016. It’s so easy to turn your videos, podcasts and audios into completely new content, so please pop over to my Facebook page and send me a message if you’d like to find out more.

In the meantime, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and all the very best for a prosperous and abundant 2016!




Intelligent transcription? What’s that all about?

foot pedalIntelligent transcription?

Isn’t it often the case that we become so involved in what we do as business owners that we forget that we have what’s known as the curse of knowledge?

We’re experts in the services we offer or the products we sell, and I think it’s really easy to fall into the trap of thinking that everyone must automatically know what we’re talking about when we tell them what we do.

For example, I’m a specialist in intelligent transcription – what’s that all about?

The 60 second elevator pitch!

This has become all too clear to me over the last few years as I’ve tried to hone what’s known as the elevator pitch – and for those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, it basically means the spiel you use to introduce yourself at networking meetings. By rights it should last no longer than it takes to ride up in a lift with someone, hence the word, elevator (American term!!). I suppose lift pitch doesn’t have quite the same ring to it!

I tried out a new networking group yesterday and everybody present had to do the usual pitch or spiel. Often in the past I have said something like…

“Hi, I’m Catherine Poole, and I help you add value to your recorded content with intelligent transcription, proofreading and editing”.

It didn’t occur to me that not everybody would even know what transcription was, let alone intelligent transcription!

Get to the point!

I’m actually more used to a slightly shorter 30 second pitch, so 60 seconds gave me the perfect opportunity to expand on what I usually say. I started off by explaining transcription basics, i.e. that it’s the process of turning your recorded words into written words. I then explained the ‘intelligent’ bit, thus:

“Intelligent transcription means that I take out all the ums, ers, hesitations, repetitions and any unnecessary guff that won’t make sense down on paper”.

I think that’s a fairly concise way to describe it!

To cut a long story short, even if you like to talk in a conversational way and don’t like to read from a script when you’re presenting or doing a webinar, for example, I can make absolutely sure that what you say will be ‘book ready’ when it’s down on paper. You are then free to use your content again for something completely new!

Do you think something like this might help you re-purpose YOUR content? I’d love to hear from you – drop me an email or message me on my Facebook page. I’d love to turn your spoken words into lovely intelligent text!


Who needs transcription, anyway?

foot pedalWho needs transcription, anyway?

As some of you may know, singing is a bit of a passion of mine, and I regularly sing in a local choral union. I always like having a bit of a chat in the break times with some of the ladies I sit beside, and I was telling one of them last night about how busy I’d been and how I’ve been trying to up my numbers by taking on last minute and urgent jobs. She then asked me a question that struck a bit of a chord with me – who actually needs a transcription service, anyway?

Do you understand the value of what I do?

My initial response was hesitation!

I then had a think about all the different types of content I transcribe on a daily basis.

And after that, I had a think about how I help my clients either use their content again, or have access to what they’ve recorded right there on the page, without having to be constantly fast forwarding or rewinding through a massive audio file.

I don’t think she was convinced, but then again, I don’t suppose she’s my ideal client!

So how can it help you? Here are a few questions for you…

  • Are you recording audio and video content?
  • Are you creating online courses with webinars, videos and mp3 recordings?
  • Do you record interviews as part of your business?
  • Do you do research with focus groups?
  • Do you regularly speak at conferences and events?

Just typing these questions down made me think of quite a few more, but I think five is probably enough to be going on with!

Transcription can help with ALL of these. How?

If you’re recording audio and video content e.g. podcasts, how would you like to use this again for NEW content e.g. blog posts and ebooks? Do you need to put together show notes for your podcast?

Is your course content accessible to everyone? Some people prefer to learn by reading, rather than watching or listening.

Do you need to pull information from your interviews to put together material? Do you need to provide feedback for your interviewee? Are you doing research? How long is it going to take you to get all the information you need out of the recording?

The same is true of focus groups, and it’s likely you’re doing these for research purposes, and just imagine how long it would take to trawl through a 90 minute recording!

If you’re a speaker at events, you could record yourself speaking and use your content again. If you’re organising events, you could record the speakers, and make the content available in recorded and written form for attendees.

That’s just a few ideas for starters – have you got any suggestions?

If this has given you some food for thought, I’d love to hear from you. Please either drop me an email or pop over to my Facebook page and send me a message.

Transcription of content? What do you want to know?

2015-05-05 10.03.31Transcription of content? So…what’s that all about?

I’m not in the business of trying to speak to everyone, I know that. I was at a school reunion the other day and I talked to a few old pals who asked me what I do for a living these days (I have to say, there was a fair bit of one-upmanship going on!). When I told them I was a transcription specialist and that I transcribe content, I got a few blank looks.

I then attempted to go into a bit more detail about business owners creating audio and video content such as podcasts, webinars, online tutorials, Periscopes and so on, and how I can help them re-purpose their content by transcribing it.

I got a few nods and vaguely interested looks from whoever I was speaking to before they went on to talk to someone else about their job as a fund manager (or whatever it was).

Suffice to say they were probably not my target audience!

Questions? Queries? Requests?

I’ve been blogging on a fairly regular basis now for more than a year and a half and I will happily admit that honing my writing skills is still a work in progress!

I also sometimes struggle to think of something new and fresh to write about, rather than re-hashing something I’ve already talked about. I also want to be speaking to the right people and maybe even writing about something that’s actually useful to you!

So this is where you come in!

Frequently asked questions…

For a while now I’ve been thinking about creating a frequently asked questions section for my website, but as is often the way with these things, it has fallen by the wayside and nothing has happened.

What would you like to know?

If you’re a creator of audio and video content and there’s even a teeny tiny possibility that you’ve ever considered getting your content transcribed, what questions would you like to ask first?

I would like to make it my business to be as open and honest as possible, and to be able to answer all your questions as thoroughly as possible. I want to be able to demonstrate just how valuable my service could be to you, and how it could save you a load of time and hassle into the bargain.

It’s easy for me to say that though, isn’t it?!

So my call to action is for you to please, please get in touch, whether that’s via email, my Facebook page or in the comments section below. I would love to hear all about what YOU want to know more about, whether it’s how transcription works, how I share files, what ‘intelligent’ transcription actually means, how the transcripts can be reused or anything else.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

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.

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!

My 30 day video challenge

Video – a bit scary!

If you have read any of my previous blog posts, you will know that I’m fairly new to the medium of video when it comes to content marketing. Not being a big fan of the sound of my voice or seeing myself on the screen isn’t a good starting point, but over the last few months I have managed to record a handful of videos on my webcam and even publish them on YouTube, no mean feat in itself!

However, I was recently challenged by my good friend Lyn Pornaro, of Three A’s Business Coaching, to take part in a 30 day video challenge – recording a short video every day for 30 days!

The challenge!

I will admit that when I realised what I had let myself in for I was a tad apprehensive, to say the least. I decided to go with the flow nonetheless, and unlike my earlier efforts where I was unable to even record anything without a script taped to my laptop screen, I made the decision to talk pretty much off the top of my head about the day’s topic of my choosing, and try not to be too pernickety about any ums, ers and waffling.

You can see the results of the first day in the video above! If you’d like to have a look at my other videos and follow my progress, please do pop over to my YouTube channel.

As I’m writing this, I have just recorded my ninth short video (they’re all about two minutes (ish) long), and so far I’ve more or less managed to come up with something new to talk about every day. The point I’m trying to make is that I think every business owner sometimes struggles to come up with new content, but perhaps this is because we all suffer from the curse of knowledge, and we sometimes forget that we know a lot about what we do and how we can help others.

To give you an example, I did one video last week where I asked how you would describe your business to a ten year old! To put this in perspective, I was speaking to somebody at a networking event recently who didn’t actually know what transcription was, so this made me think. I realised that it’s not always obvious to others what  you do, even if you say something like, “I’m a transcription specialist”. If you get a blank look, then you know you need to expand a bit!

Anyway, please do pop over and check out the videos. I’d love to hear your comments, and if you feel up to taking up the 30 day challenge too, please let me know!

Where does the time go?!?

clockDo you know how long it takes you to get stuff done in your business, whether that be client work, admin or even just popping onto Facebook for ‘five minutes’?

To be honest, I wasn’t sure until recently. I kind of knew on average how long it took me to do a piece of transcription work, depending on the number of speakers, audio quality and so on, but in reality, I wasn’t really sure. I might be focused on a job for a wee while, but then I would get sidetracked with something else and before I knew it, half the day would have disappeared and I wasn’t really sure how much I had actually achieved.

I know there are a million and one time tracking apps and gizmos out there, but the method that’s working for me is the simple stopwatch function on my phone.

I’m sure a few of you are familiar with the Pomodoro technique, whereby you use a timer to break down your time into chunks of, say, 25 minutes, and when the timer rings you give yourself a five minute break before starting on the next chunk of time. I haven’t exactly used this method before, but I had tried putting on the timer on my phone for an hour to see how much I would get done, and that did improve my focus, but only to a degree.

The stopwatch, however, actually measures how much time you’re spending on a job, and if you do need to take a break from what you’re doing, you can hit pause and go back to it in due course without ‘losing your place’, as it were. You might find that you don’t want to stop, mind you, as it becomes a bit of a case of mind over matter in the battle over who will win, you or the stopwatch!

It’s also a great way to track what’s coming into your business on a daily basis. I’ve started logging the time spent on transcription (and proofreading) work on a spreadsheet and it calculates each job’s hourly rate based on my ‘per audio minute’ rate and the time spent on the job and gives me a weekly total and a running monthly total. It’s quite an eye opener and a fantastic way to reach your targets.

Do you use a stopwatch or other time tracking software in your business? Please either comment below or pop over to my Facebook page and let me know!


My top five effective recording tips!



I transcribe a lot of content on a regular basis, and this can be anything from straight dictation to interviews, focus groups, webinars, podcasts, videos or speakers at events.

I appreciate that quality of recordings can vary depending on the venue, number of speakers, accents and so on, but I think it’s well worth thinking about a few important factors before you record your audio or video.

Here are my top five tips for effective audio and video recording before getting it transcribed!

1. Speak clearly – a no-brainer, surely? Mumbling isn’t particularly helpful and is likely to result in a lot of inaudible time stamps!

2. If there are two or more speakers, it’s better to have people speaking one at a time and preferably not talking over each other or interrupting constantly. If individual speakers need to be identified, make sure they introduce themselves clearly at the beginning of the recording.

3. Think about where you’re doing your recording. If it’s just you, make sure you’re not in a room where echoes are likely to occur which will have an impact on the audio or video. If you’re recording an interview, try not to do it in a crowded place like a restaurant or where there are other people in the background who are likely to make a noise.

4. Is your recording device up to scratch? If it’s just you or a handful of people, your smartphone or a Dictaphone will probably suffice, but if you’re recording a larger group in a bigger space, it might be worth using two devices to make sure you’re picking up everybody speaking.

5. Lastly (for now!), it’s always really helpful to spell any difficult names or unusual words. Google has become my friend when it comes to searching for the strange and unfamiliar!

Go forth and record, then come to me to get your content transcribed!