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Confidential Property of TranscribeMe July 2014 The EllipsisAt TM, the ellipsis (plural is ellipses) is used when a person's speech trails off and they are not being interrupted. It should be a true trailing off with several seconds of silence afterwards. Otherwise, it would end with a period or even double dash ifthe speaker is being interrupted. Double dashes are discussed below. Ellipses are not commonly used and in many circumstances, you would simply use a period. I wasn't actually saying that... He said that was the case, but then again... I don't really know. I honestly don't... If a speaker is trying to get a response from someone else by asking a question but not finishing it, please end it like this. That is right, but it also is...? Transcription StyleTranscription work has a set of problems unique to the task of copying out the spoken word. Audio files can suffer from poor recording quality, speakers are often inaudible, and there are sometimes non-verbal sounds that need to be noted down. TranscribeMe has a specific set of rules for dealing with all these problems and more. They will be outlined in the following sections. False starts and interruptionsSpeakers will commonly make mistakes which prompt them to begin their sentence over. This is referred to as a false start. In addition to this, if the audio file you are transcribing is an interview, speakers may also interrupt each other. Both these things can make transcription difficult. 21Confidential Property of TranscribeMe July 2014 At TranscribeMe, false starts and interruptions are both marked with a double dash. You can insert a double dash by striking the hyphen key twice and should look like this [--]. The double dash should come immediately (without a gap) after the word where the speaker breaks away to start again, or the word at which the speaker is interrupted by another speaker. Please note that not all false starts or mistakes should be marked this way. If the speaker corrects him or herself quickly after a false start it will usually not be necessary to transcribe the false start verbatim. Instead, omit the error, and transcribe the correct sentence without the false start. Only mark the false start if the speaker talks at length before correcting him or herself, or if omitting the error would make the transcription more confusing. Consider the following examples. Once when I was young, I went to the store to sell--I was going to the store to buy a present for my parents. My dad used to always say that he thought that--he always cooked because he thought that it was wrong to let my mom cook for him all the time. Both these are examples of cases where a speaker has begun a thought and then changed it. The first one is changed because the speaker has made a mistake. The second one is changed because the speakers train of thought changes half-way through the sentence. Both are examples of false starts. In the second example in particular it would be wrong to omit the false start because it introduces the subject of the sentence the dad. However, if the false start is brief enough for it to be cut without sacrificing coherency or a significant chunk of speech then it can be omitted. For example: 22Confidential Property of TranscribeMe July 2014 I went to the vet--to the store to buy coffee. Should read, I went to the store to buy coffee. In this case, the speaker has merely uttered the wrong word (vet instead of store) and changed it instantly. A file transcribed in clean verbatim should usually omit such insignificant errors. The rules for marking interruptions are simpler. At the point where the speaker is interrupted, insert a double dash. If you are a transcriber, you do not have to indicate different speakers as “S1”, “S2” etc. in your actual transcriptions; they are indicated this way for purposes of the example. It is a QA's role to add Speaker IDs. S1 When I was working at my last company I would--S2 What company did you work at?If the speaker is interrupted while asking a question, insert a question mark immediately after the double dash. S1 How long have you been working at your current--? S2 About two years. Tagging Non-verbal Sounds and Inaudible Speech23Confidential Property of TranscribeMe July 2014 In transcription, you will often encounter non-verbal sounds, laughter, inaudible speech, and applause. These are often important to capture because they add meaning to the transcription. Here is the list of tags used at TranscribeMe. [?] This tag is used if you have no idea what the speaker is saying. It could be a difficult accent or a word you simply cannot find in research. [inaudible] Use this tag when poor audio quality obscures a word or words. [applause] If there is applause in the recording, use this tag. [music] This tag is used when music is meant to be in the recording. If it is background music, you can ignore it. If there is background music that obscures the speaker, you can put [inaudible]. [crosstalk] If people talk across each other and you can't understand any of it, you may use this tag. [foreign] Used when you hear a word or phrasein a foreign language. [silence] If there is no speaking for more than ten seconds, use this tag and put the tag on its own line. If you are not entirely sure what a word is but are fairly certain or can make an educated guess, put the word in brackets with a question mark. [San Juan Islands?] [laughter] This is used when a single speaker or multiple speakers are laughing. [chuckles] When a speaker audibly chuckles, you may use this tag. Note: Tags are helpful for giving the reader of a transcription additional information and sets the tone of a conversation. For the tags [chuckle] and 24Confidential Property of TranscribeMe July 2014 [laughter] it is not necessary to capture every single instance someone might laugh as long as the general mood is captured. Please do not spend too much time worrying whether someone chuckled versus laughed. Remember, we are going for a clean, readable transcription. Accuracy in transcription is far more important than whether every chuckle is transcribed.Take a look at the examples below, noting that if you are a transcriber, it is the QA's job to insert speaker IDs. Where are tags placed in a sentence? The [laughter], [chuckle], [foreign], [inaudible], [?], and [crosstalk] tags are placed inside punctuation. The [silence] tag has its own line. Both [music] and [applause] should go outside of punctuation. Take a look at the examples below:S1 I'll have to think about that. [silence] S2 Would you like a little longer to think this through? •We saved the best for last. [music] Our next guest needs no introduction. Please give it up for Sir Patrick Stewart. [applause] •Way to go. That is the best [laughter] I've heard yet. •Take a seat anywhere if you can find one [chuckle]. 25Confidential Property of TranscribeMe July 2014 Important:Someaudio files may contain technical language, or make references to products, objects or places that are unfamiliar to you. It is expected that QAs and transcribers make an effort to get unfamiliar words or phrases correct by researching on the Internet. Ifyou still cannot be sure of the correct word after searching online, either guess the word and place it in square brackets, or insert the [?] tag, as outlined above. Before tagging anything as inaudible or indecipherable please also make an effort tolisten to the word or phrase before giving up. It also helps to take into account what is being said. If a word or phrase makes no sense in context, it is probably wrong. Here is an example of a transcription that is clearly wrong: S1 Do you and your fence watch a lot of TV together? S2 I watch a lot with him because he is usually punctured into the TV. It should be obvious to all transcribers that the previous exchange has been misheard. Instead of submitting a transcription with obvious errors like these, please try to listen for words that would make sense in context, and if you still have trouble, resort to the tags outlined above. NumbersNumbers one through ten are written out. Numbers 11 and above, please use numerals. The exception to thiswould be if there are numbers below ten and over 11 in one sentence.In this case, it is fine to use all numbers. I had 3 cats and 11 dogs.When you are writing phone numbers, please type out the numbers like this: 508555-223226Confidential Property of TranscribeMe July 2014 Percentages are written out with a % not spelled out. 5%, 20%For fractions please type them out. Do not use 1/4th. Instead, write one fourth.For times use 5:00 AM or 5:00 in the morning, depending on what is said in the transcription.For very, very large numbers such as million or trillion write them like this: one billion bugs or 50 million people.For money use $5 or $25. For very large dollar amounts use $5 million, $50 million. Use all numbers but spell out cents as in 5 cents.Common Spellingand Grammar ErrorsYour/You're You're is a contraction of you are while your is a possessive. For example: You're crazy if you think your sandals are appropriate for climbing in the Himalayas. It's/Its Similar to you're and your, it's is a contractionof 'it is' or 'it has' while its is a possessive pronoun. For example: It's going to be cold tonight so please put the dog in its kennel. They're/Their/There They're is a contraction of 'they are', their is a possessive pronoun, while there is usually used to refer to a place. For example: They're getting impatient, so we should bring them their meals. The plates are over there. 27Confidential Property of TranscribeMe July 2014 A lot/AlotNever use alot when referring to quantity as it is not an English word. The proper spelling is a lot. All right/ Alright Like a lot, alright is not an English word. The correct spelling is all right. Please use okay not OK. Use TV not T.V. Use yeah not yea. Something is looseif it needs to be tightened up. If you don't win, you lose. General GuidelinesTranscribers and QAs are expected to maintain a basic standard of quality. We understand that it is hard to ensure that a transcription is perfect –especially when the quality of the recording is not good –but there are a few simple things you can do to avoid making obvious mistakes. •Please be careful to spell-check your work. It is unprofessional to return an error-ridden document to the client. •Please listen to the audio you are transcribing to make sure the transcription makes sense. Sometimes, whatis being said can provide sufficient context to correctly identify a word you are having trouble with. •Be careful with punctuation. Make sure sentences are coherent and words are capitalized correctly. Please avoid over use of the exclamation point. •Remember to use one space after periods and place a blank line between speakers if you are transcribing. QA will take care of Speaker IDs and timestamps. •Make sure names are spelled correctly. When in doubt you should research online. This is especially important for files with lots of references to names of products or places. 28Confidential Property of TranscribeMe July 2014 •Finally, and most importantly, make sure your transcription is accurate. Do not rush through passages you are having trouble with. If you have tried to make out passages of speech butare still stuck, use the tags provided in this style guide. Useful ResourcesIf you are struggling with grammar or syntax issues that are not covered in this guide, or want further clarification, feel free to post on Yammer. However, there are a lot of useful and comprehensive websites that cover grammar and syntax issues in great detail. However, if anything in this style guide contradicts grammatical rules you have read elsewhere, follow this style guide unless otherwise instructed. http://grammar.about.com/A comprehensive guide to composition and grammar written by Richard Nordquist, who is professor emeritus of rhetoric and English at Armstrong Atlantic State University. http://oxforddictionaries.com/The online component of the Oxford Dictionary. http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/Mignon Fogarty’s guide to common spelling, grammar, and syntax questions. http://www.merriam-webster.com/29Confidential Property of TranscribeMe July 2014 A very useful online dictionary that includes small articles on various issues in grammar and spelling. Happy Transcribing!
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