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Espresso - time and place?

Sunday 04 November 2018 |
Annette Pike
Barristers are wonderful

You've managed to set up an interview time with that person who will propel your research forward.  Your questions have been fnalised and you've checked your recorder and ensured it's fully charged.  All set?  Well nearly.  You need a central meeting location and you want to impress this important participant.  I get that.  But I can see that you're Googling for a CBD cafe that has good coffee reviews.  Take your hands off the keyboard and step back.  Trust me, you'll end up being very thankful you did.

Imagine sitting at the computer with your headphones on listening back to this very important interview.  You don't recall that the cafe was that noisy, but you're still confident that you've captured all the dialogue.  Hang on - you don't remember a jet plane landing in the middle of the room!  No, that's the espresso machine I'm afraid.  For 30 seconds you can't hear that vital phrase within the answer to your question.  Nope, it's gone, lost in the din of the barista performing that wonderful magic.  I hope the coffee was worth it!

Now put yourself in the transcriptionist's shoes - or headphones.  They weren't at the interview so they don't have any context or memory.  A recorder does not possess that wonderful human quality of blocking out irrelevant and background noise so that you're able to focus on what's important.  It records...everything.  That espresso machine, the conversation at the next table, the clank of cutlery, the clunk of crockery and that cute but very noisy baby across the other side of the room.  Everything. 

So let's talk timestamps.  Every time a transcriptionist is unable to discern a word or phrase confidently because of overriding background noise, heavy accents or mumbling a timestamp will be inserted in the transcript for you to go to that audio point and have a listen.  You may or may not be able to fill in that gap.  Big risk, right?  That very important transcript is now littered with timestamps.

To give that major disappointment a real kicker, a surcharge has to be added to the cost because we need to spend more time on your transcript to try and give you as much content as possible. 

Now go back to the keyboard and Google not a cafe, but a private meeting room.  Heck, a library, a church or art gallery, just not a cafe.  Please. 

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