Monday, 1 July 2013


Lately if you've been following me on my twitter account, you can see that I kept on mentioning about doing some transcribing. Yep. Transcribing. Funny how I, someone who have a small problem in hearing is actually doing transcribing. Transcribe is an act where you put in words the spoken words, mostly ad verbatim. Meaning word by word. I don't actually know what or how people usually transcribe but I can tell for one thing that most journalist do it, especially when interviewing people via voice or tape recorder. It doesn't matter which gadget you use it as the final product is what mattered.

So, I had to transcribe these interviews conducted by the club to the past presidents of the club and the people who were there since the beginning time of the club. So they had these people in their sixties, seventies, and even eighties interviewed, and you can imagine how they speak. I had so many trouble trying to identify what the hell they were saying.

Some of the time, they were talking too fast, so I had to slow down the audio tape, which will automatically change the voice structure into these funny big voices. Which ultimately doesn't really prove to be any help at all. Then I had to revert to the original speed and once again, I would not be able to catch whatever it is that they were saying. And then there were cases where I don't know what they were saying for me to be able to spell it out. They weren't really pronouncing the words but rather mumbling or speeding through it, just to show they can speak fluently. Hello?! Talking fast is not a sign to show that you're a good speaker, if people had to say 'pardon' just to understand.

And most of the time, I kept slamming my hands on my desk and scratching my head, trying to figure what is that they're saying. Don't these people learn how to enunciate?! I can't tell whether you're saying 'lie' or 'lie'. You tell me. And then there were cases, where I am seriously frustrated to do the transcribing ad verbatim.

Do you know how frustrating it is to do an ad verbatim transcribe when:

a) the interviewee likes to make up his own grammar rule. Sentences all jumbled up, all in a mess. No correlation, no cohesion or coherence whatsoever, and all the is/are/was/were are used in any way they like. Tenses, verb to-be, SVO agreement all went out the window.

b) the interviewee likes to play 'here and there' with their answer. One minute they're talking about one topic, and then in the middle, suddenly shifts to another topic, and then branch to another, and finally come back to the initial topic, just to get the message across. Learn how to chronologically sort out your thoughts, seriously.

c) the interviewer neglects to take into consideration of the location of the interview, the surroundings, and the noise that will interfere with the recording. For example (and this is what I'm actually dealing with right now), background performers singing, clattering of cutlery when they're actually eating during the interview, and a couple others.

d) the interviewer doesn't know when to shut up. Why the hell would you chime in when the interviewee is speaking? Are you interviewing or you're the one being interviewed? Seriously, it really grind my gears.

e) there are more than two people involve in the interview. Everyone wanted to speak, everyone wanted their voices to be heard. Resulting in overlapping voices in a single moment. Now how the hell am I supposed to transcribe who is saying what and what when everyone's voices are mashed into one? Learn turn-taking for god's sake.

I know I'm being too negative about it, but it's hard for me to do my job when I have to face all of this problem. Besides, not many people actually know how tiring and exhausting it is to have your ears stuffed for a long time, trying to pen down everything they hear. And I haven't even mentioned the terrible fillers and pauses, which contributes to a lot of punctuation errors allowed in a sentence.

Okay, I'm done complaining!