Transcription Technique: Ways to Improve Your Listening Comprehension

The majority of beginners to language learning tend to find it hard to understand native speakers of that language at native-level speed. Among new learners of a language, listening comprehension is typically considered the hardest skill to improve. They often find that the immense time they invest in developing their skills doesn’t match the desired result.

Fortunately, that is where transcription comes in handy – it simplifies everything and makes it fun to listen to a language. In this article, you’ll find out the transcription techniques you need to know about to improve your listening comprehension.

Transcription Techniques

Depending on specific requirements and usefulness, many people and organizations have developed two main transcribing techniques namely:

  • Manual transcription
  • Automatic transcription

1. Manual Transcription

Manual transcription is purely manual. An individual has to listen attentively to the speaker and write down what’s said, rather than employing automated tools. Besides writing things down manually, manual transcribing is mainly divided into four categories namely:

a) Verbatim transcription

Verbatim transcription involves turning every spoken word into text form. When transcribing in real-time, it’s virtually impossible to dictate everything without missing anything. What’s more, it’s not recommended for fast-paced settings.

However, verbatim transcription is mainly advantageous for identifying the smallest of details. Therefore, it’s ideal for information-sensitive events, such as agreements, meetings, and the like.

b) Intelligent transcription

Intelligent transcription is more concise as compared to verbatim transcription. Unlike verbatim transcription, intelligent transcription leaves out the unnecessary elements or words from the script. Essentially, intelligent transcription ignores the things that lengthen the passage, and add no value or meaning to the passage.

Although this type of transcription can help to save space and summarize the content, it’s not ideal for learning a new language. And since sentences can change in length or words might change, learners will likely confuse the intended meaning when listening to the audio.

c) Edited transcription

Edited transcription is a blend of both verbatim and intelligent transcriptions. It does so in multiple ways. First, it eliminates the very unnecessary elements and sentences in a recording, but still maintains the integrity of the message. Second, it identifies grammatical mistakes and corrects them. Edited transcription also clarifies sentences and makes them easy to understand.

Most importantly, it’s more appealing to read edited transcription and digest as compared to the aforementioned types of manual transcription. This is because it offers a balance of completeness and conciseness.

d) Phonetic transcription

Phonetic transcription is a technique that is mainly employed by professional transcribers, and it’s used for more prominent events, such as assemblies and hearings. It is quicker to capture pronunciations and type words because it uses the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).

To use phonetic transcription, you require a third-party software keyboard or a specialized input device. In addition, the transcriber ought to possess fast cognitive skills, multitasking abilities, as well as swift typing skills when transcribing.

2. Automatic Transcription

Since transcribing manually can be a tiring process, and not everyone is conversant with the rules associated with the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), automatic transcription tools have gained immense popularity among transcribers.

Transcribing software can turn audio recordings into text files within seconds, as compared to the lengthy time it takes to manually transcribe an audio recording. With these automatic transcription tools, you can check yourself when you take a practice transcription test or learn a new language. What’s more, transcribers usually get access to a wide variety of features, such as:

  • Language support. Besides UK and US English, the majority of transcription tools support various languages, including lesser-known languages and the most common ones.
  • Editable text. You can not only edit text, but you can also add, modify, or remove some parts from the resulting document.
  • Faster transcription. The biggest benefit of using automatic tools to transcribe is speed. Transcription software makes everything simpler and faster at the same time. With just a few clicks, you can have a fully transcribed passage.

The Bottom Line

Both manual and automatic transcriptions help improve your listening comprehension effectively and faster. They make the hectic process of learning a language more interesting and enjoyable.

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