Transcription is by no means a small feat and transcribing in the verbatim style is anything but easy. On one hand, a likely question which could be raised is just how difficult is it to type out exactly what you hear? It isn’t; but what happens when the audio file you are listening to is chock-full of grammatical, factual or other errors? Do you allow your instincts to take over and correct such flaws or do you just do your job and leave it at that?
There is always a good chance of course that obvious errors may eventually be corrected by the client himself on receiving the final transcript, but errors of any kind become much more serious especially when you are transcribing a medical or legal audio file. For instance, a doctor or the person dictating may begin a paragraph by talking about a male patient, but halfway through the paragraph, he may make a mistake and refer to the patient as a female. Or while recording the audio file, a lawyer may refer to a ‘petitioner’ as the ‘respondent’ when talking about a specific case. These errors may sometimes even be oblivious to the transcriptionist, but there’s a good chance that the person who made the audio file in the first place may not even understand what has been typed because of such errors. In medical transcripts in particular, such wrong information, misplaced words, wrong use of terminology or any other error can actually have grave consequences later.
Although, you may not be aware of the language skills of your client before receiving the audio file to be transcribed, rest assured that all clients want a transcript that does not need to be reviewed further. When you do face these little hiccups while transcribing, it’s best to ask your team leader or senior to suggest what course of action to take. Doing a bit of light editing which covers correcting small grammatical errors, improvising sentence structure or inserting the correct spellings are acceptable even in verbatim transcriptions. Remember, it’s always best to discuss such matters with your client directly as that helps to remove any doubts and also helps you deliver an impressive transcript!