We all make mistakes, the only difference is how many and what we do about them.
As the President of the United States seems unable to distinguish ‘there’ from ‘their’ or they’re’, never mind the thousands of other grammatical and vocabulary errors he makes, many people may think it is fine to make mistakes. It isn’t. It is very important for a transcriptionist to get it right.
- Check your work yourself
First, do not rely on spell checks or any software to correct your errors. These mechanical things will not catch them all. Try typing ‘t6yping’ instead of ‘typing’ and ninety nine percent of software will not mark this as incorrect, yet it is. By the same token do not automatically change something because a computer said it is wrong – it isn’t always.
- Indistinct Speech
During recording, if you are in doubt about a word go back and listen again, and again. If you are still unsure, even if one seems grammatically correct and the other wrong, put in both words; affect/effect (?) to let the client decide which applies.
Homophone is a word transcriptionists should know, but in case you have doubts, here it is. They are words that sound the same but mean different things, (enter Mr. Ttump, as he has called himself in a Tweet).
‘They’re’ and ‘their’ and even ‘there’ are prime examples. Provided you know the difference it should be obvious from the context, and as a transcriptionist it is your job to get the right one.
XXXXX dog is easy – it can’t be ‘there dog’, as that is grammatically incorrect. ‘They’re dog’ is just silly, as well as grammatically wrong, so it has to be ‘their dog’.
Homonyms can be another problem, (and this time if you don’t know what these are, look them up), so watch out for these, although they are less common than homophones.
- Spelling etc
Spelling, tenses and subject and verb agreement are things we all learn in school, so should not be a problem, except where technical terms are used. Use a technical dictionary or another tool to help you get these right.
Again the simple rules of a capital letter for proper nouns and names is basic stuff, but in a technical paper it depends what discipline you are working in. Medical terms are seldom written with capital letters for instance, but in another field they may be required. Do some research about this before accepting a technical document in a new field.
Know the basics and learn the rest. You cannot make mistakes.