The Game Changer

Here it is, the end of January and I haven’t blogged like I said I would in my New Year’s goals. But I do have a good excuse: I’ve been busy writing articles for publications (read: money).

A year and a half ago, I thought I’d never get to the point I’m at today. Sure, I had a lot of writing credentials to my name, and I had a few small writing gigs, but it was slow. The few times I did get to go out to interview subjects for articles, it was awkward and I was always filled with anxiety. Trying to ask questions, lipread, take notes and keep the interview flowing all at the same time is hard. Gathering information, getting it right and filling an article with good quotes is the whole point of interviewing someone, and I was failing. Badly.

I often bluff when it comes to lipreading. It’s both a bad habit and a means of survival. It means I’m left out of the loop because people think I understand more than I actually do. It’s a no-win situation, both socially and professionally. And while I really can’t do anything about the social aspect, I knew I had to get more control over the professional aspect of communication so I could keep doing what I love: writing magazine articles.

After a lot of trial and error, (mostly error) I’ve finally found a solution. I tried online voice to text translators. (No. Everything was gibberish.). I tried interviewing via video relay service so I could utilize an ASL interpreter’s talents. (It worked, sort of: it’s a challenge to take legible notes while watching the interpreter.) I even had my mom transcribe a few interviews. (A great solution, but at my age, I’d like to keep work & my mom a bit more separate.) Finally, I tried online transcription services. Bingo!

Truth be told, this one had a bit of a false start. I first went with Transcription Panda —  they promised a free trial with a 2-3 day turnaround. I sent my file off, then heard nothing back for several days. I finally emailed them and was told by customer support that they “wanted to have a transcription manager review the transcript as well prior to delivery. This will be finished today.” Then: radio silence.

It’s not easy, is it?

I tried one more: Transcripty.  At $1 a minute, it’s not cheap and it takes a chunk out of my freelance checks. However, the reduction in my anxiety over interviews and the related increase in my interview confidence makes it worth every penny. I record the interview, upload it to their site, pay up and send it off, and get a complete transcript back within a day. Even more impressive: the transcriptionist understands 90 percent of MY speech, something I did not expect.

It’s a game changer. I’m heading into interviews much more relaxed and confident; they go much more smoothly and I have great quotes I know are exactly right.



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