Common Challenges Transcriptionists Face and How to Handle Them: Part Two

how-to and resources Oct 01, 2018

We previously discussed how to deal with poor audio quality, an issue that deserved its very own blog post! Today we are going to discuss other common challenges transcriptionists face, from boredom to bodily aches and pains and more. Even though these challenges can be difficult, there are still some ways you can deal with them, so keep your head up and read on!

1.) Long, boring files

Sometimes as transcriptionists, we get files that aren’t necessarily difficult, but they're very boring. And when that happens, it can be awfully hard to pay attention, and we get distracted. Something -- anything -- is more interesting than what we have in front of us! And because the internet is at our fingertips, it’s easy to get distracted by something shiny.

So how do we deal with files like this? Well, for starters, they’re not going to go away, so instead of throwing your computer out the window, be thankful that you’re not dealing with a long file AND difficult audio (and if you are, I’m so sorry). Secondly, just remember that the better you stay focused, the sooner you'll be done.

Thirdly, reward yourself at the end. Knowing you have a favorite beverage, some chocolate, or a favorite Netflix show waiting for you at the end can be motivation to put the distractions aside and power through.

2.) Bodily aches and pains

Sitting for long periods of time can take its toll on our bodies, something we’re very aware of the older we get! Stiffness, sore seats, and aching joints are all things you need to be aware of and try to prevent. It's easy to get caught up in your work and forget to take a break, especially if you’re up against a deadline. For the sake of your body, though, it’s a good idea to get up and do some stretches or some light exercise even if it’s just for a few minutes. YouTube has a wealth of exercise videos to choose from, and with some of these exercises, you don’t even have to leave your desk. Are you a yoga fan? You can try it while sitting down!

3.) Several formatting requirements to keep track of for different clients

If all your clients require different ways of formatting their files, it can be hard to keep track of. Some clients might want their files to be double-spaced, others want them single-spaced. Some might want a particular font or a hanging indent. The list goes on... So how do you keep track of all these things? In a previous post, I talked about the importance of a checklist. Think of it as a cheat sheet to help you keep track of the different requirements your clients have. That way you can be confident you didn’t forget anything important.

4.) Difficult clients

It's definitely exciting to get a new client. More money, right? But at the same time, if they are unreasonable, always have last-minute files, consistently have poor-quality audio, expect tight turnaround times or, worse yet, they pay late, consider if it’s worth your time and frustration. It’s a big world out there... and there are plenty more clients in the sea, so to speak. See if you can find someone who is a better fit for you.

5.) Tight turnaround times

There’s nothing like a good dose of stress to get you nice and focused! In this situation, again, communication with your client is very important. Make sure they know your rates for files that need to be turned in quickly. Set them higher to make it worth your while! Also, don’t bite off more than you can chew. If it’s not reasonable for you to get the file done within the set timeframe, tell them that before you start.

Our Take

Every job has its challenges, and transcription is no exception. Just don’t let the challenges deter you from your goal. It's par for the course that issues will come up, but keep these tips in mind. They'll help to equip you for the future so you can tackle these problems head on!

Your Turn

What are some challenges you’ve experienced as a transcriptionist? Do you have any tips or tricks for dealing with them? I'd love to hear about them below in the comments!

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