How Transcribing Can Improve Your Listening Skills

by Marta Kuka

Listening is an important skill that all of us need to develop in the process of a foreign language learning. We have to listen in order to know what people are saying, understand instructions, and comprehend the meaning of a dialogue. Listening is also a prerequisite before we can speak or write about something that we heard.

Transcribing helps in the development of listening skills because it involves putting down everything someone else says on paper or on computer screens. Transcribing requires an active level of listening that we don't normally focus on in our day to day lives. When put into frequent practice, these listening skills can become honed and will provide a lot of benefits both within and outside of transcriptions.

Manual Transcribing Techniques

Manual process of transcribing requires writing down or typing the text that you are hearing while you are listening. Here are some manual transcription techniques:

  1. Listen to the full recording before transcribing

    By listening to the full recording, you can gain a clearer understanding of the speaker's train of thoughts and what they are trying to convey. This will enable you to have a better grasp on the information being provided so that you don't make any mistakes in your transcription while writing down what was said.

  2. Read through your transcript

    After transcribing, reading through your transcript will allow you to make sure that everything is consistent. You can compare what you wrote before and after you transcribed to ensure that the information provided is accurate. You can also use your transcript to look for errors in your listening, which will help improve your accuracy.

  3. Be aware of commonly mispronounced words

    When listening to people speak, try and focus on how they pronounce words. This way, you can be more mindful of the words that are being said and make sure that you're accurately covering them in your transcript.

  4. Listen with high-quality headphones

    Listening to a recording without high-quality headphones will not allow you to hear the words clearly, and this will cause issues in your transcripts. If you have really bad headphones, you may want to upgrade them so that you can be sure of covering all of the information that was said. Also, consider buying a pair of headphones with noise-cancellation technology if they don't have this feature.

Automatic Transcribing Techniques

In order to use automatic audio to text converter, you need a computer program, such as Audext, that takes in the sounds that we hear and converts them into text. Automatic transcribing is a very useful way of producing transcriptions as they are fairly accurate and can even be able to convert speech to text in real time. Some common techniques that use automatic transcribing include:

  1. Checking Your Listening Comprehension

    Automatic transcribing software can be used as a great way to check against your manual transcribing work. Using automatic software and then comparing it to your first draft will help you catch any details of the conversation that you may have missed, and sometimes it may even do better with a word that you may have had trouble understanding due to accent, word cadence, or environmental factors like wind and background noise.

  2. Establishing Time Codes for Certain Lines of Dialogue

    An automatic transcribing tool can be great for going back and pinpointing an exact time code when something was said. This can be super helpful if you need to refer back to certain points in the conversation later, and will allow you to keep track of when the topics of conversations change, so you don't have to spend so much time re-listening to the entire recording.

Using a combination of manual and automatic transcribing techniques is a great way for improving your listening skills in a foreign language and make the actual process of transcription much more interesting

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