Transcribing a Hard Act to Follow

Fiction is definitely my love, I am an escape artist of epic proportion.  However I am starting to enjoy factual writing and even transcribing.  My client recently asked me to record and then transcribe a conversation with his dying brother.  I knew this would be hard.  I carry with me at all times a big bubble of emotion but that had no place in this situation.  I had to be in control and professional, then I had to do my job.

There are a few stages to creating a piece of writing from a transcript but first you need the transcript, thank goodness for iPhones!  There will always be that annoying moment where a plane goes overhead or someone interrupts you but generally the words are all down. Then at home it’s earphones in and type, stop, rewind, type.  This resembles a first draft manuscript; very messy but it’s where all the content lies.  The second draft is taking out all the he said, she said, just, so’s and then. Next is where you try to make sense of the words by putting them into sentences.  Nobody talks in readable sentences apart from the cast of a Jane Austen movie!

The third draft is where it starts to get interesting the content now makes sense but it needs a re-jig.  What the client said first might just be preamble and need completely cutting, whereas what they said last could be the introduction.  This is the bit I love, a nice big wordy jigsaw.

Sitting next to the bed I was amazed at the presence and power in his words.  This guy could have been one of the characters in the new Tarantino film!  He had swagger, a lovable rogue who draws you in with his compelling narrative and a sense of humour as dry as the Nullabor Desert!  Fact can draw you into another world faster than fiction.  Transcribing might be a slightly more laborious job than fictional flow but nothing worthwhile is ever easy.

Have you tried to transcribe? Siri is no master but if you have some patience with her secretarial skills using an email on your phone and the microphone symbol you can record a whole book this way, just talk while she types.




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