Transcription Is a Worthwhile Writing Task

The idea of transcribing a recording is often a turnoff for me. It can be a tedious and time-consuming exercise. But it’s also necessary work for some writing projects, and it’s often rewarding, too. The time spent transcribing can cut down on writing time. It aids understanding of the material and can help create a structure for a first draft.

This was the case for me on a recent project. My assignment was to ghost write a year-in-review article for a company president. My source material was an online town-hall meeting during which the president gave a state-of-the-company presentation. I also had his PowerPoint slides, as well as other background material.

I decided to transcribe his talk, which lasted about 35 minutes, a rough transcription instead of word-for-word. His presentation created a built-in outline for the article. Once I completed the transcription, I had a very raw draft of the article. I cut and polished his words, added an opening and ending, and set it aside. Later I refined the article and turned it in. My client liked it.

As it turned out, the transcription and other prep to write the article took much longer than the actual writing and editing. For the most part, the article wrote itself, a case when a full transcription was well worth the time.

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