5 Tips for Proofreading Automated Transcriptions

a female transcriptionist using her laptop

In these past few years, there have been a lot of paid and free audio-to-text converters popping up here and there. In its wake, people have been quick to utilize and patronize these free transcription services because of a number of reasons: quick turnaround times, ease of use, affordability, and more. However, as convenient as it is to use these speech-to-text converters, the fact remains that the output will not be perfect. There will be misspellings, incorrect words because of homophones, wrong names of people and places, missing punctuation marks and more. This is where proofreading comes to the scene.

Now, if the automated transcription service you’re using offers extra proofing services then you are in good hands. They can take care of the proofreading process and you’ll have a flawless output without breaking a sweat. Most of the time, however, you’ll find that you’re going to have to do it yourself. You may not be a professional proofreader, but you can still do a great job if you know just what to do or what to look out for.

Here are some proofreading tips when working on automated transcription files! 

Check the format. 

As the proofreader, you also need to check the format of the transcription file to make sure you come up with the exact output you need for work or for school. Does the transcription need to be timestamped? Are specific headers needed? Do the names of the speakers need to be indicated in every line? Is the font size and style already readable enough? These things are usually not included by the regular audio-to-text generators, so you better check and edit the document format yourself.

Always double-check spellings. 

Spelling is definitely a priority. You might think everything looks fine at first, but there will always be missing Ietters, misplaced letters, and letters that should not be there altogether. Spelling can easily be messed up when it comes to machine-generated transcription files, so double-checking or even triple-checking the transcription is more than okay. 

Don’t forget about the punctuation marks.

Punctuation marks can also make or break your transcription files. Audio-to-text generators most likely will not consider the tone of the speakers in the audio. The little pauses they make, the excitement in their voice, the questions they ask—these things are all in need of proper punctuation marks. Moreover, punctuation marks can easily change the meaning of a sentence. You definitely do not want your transcription to say “It’s time to eat John!” instead of the more accurate “It’s time to eat, John!”

Watch out for the homophones. 

English is a complicated language indeed and homophones will truly ruin your chances of getting that spotless and error-free transcription file. Since the automated transcription generator relies on the audio, it usually does not consider the meaning of the words or the context of the sentence. Be careful of homophones such as “two”, “too”, and “to”, or “sea” and “see”. This also applies to words such as “cars” which is a plural noun, and “car’s” which can be a contraction or the possessive form of “car”. 

Get the details right. 

Most important of all is to get the details right. Details of the speakers, of the venues, of the events, of the names of the interview or the conference, and everything else. These transcription files contain data and information that will be used and referred to in the future. If the audio-to-text generator fails to get all the details right and you didn’t check thoroughly, then it may just result in misinformation. 


Keep these tips in mind the next time you use a free transcription service with no proofing service. If you follow these then you might just get a flawless transcription file in your hands in no time.