Dealing with Inaudible Words and Non-Words

Dealing with Inaudible Words and Non-Words

How should a transcription company handle instances of inaudibles, background conversations, periods of silence, and audio gaps?

* In the transcript, “(inaudible)” should be indicated for unintelligible words. Better yet is “(inaudible at 00:23:22)” or whatever the timestamp is, so that the reader can quickly find and listen to the spot in question.

* Periods of silence or periods of inaudible background conversation should be indicated in parentheses, i.e., “(inaudible background conversation)”. Or periods of people speaking simultaneously should be noted as “(overlapping voices)” or “(crosstalk)” or “(interposing)”.

* Laughter and other non-speaking sounds should be noted as well, e.g. “(laughter)” or “(chuckles)”

* If silence or background conversation goes on for a significant amount of time, the number of minutes of non-speaking should be indicated.

* If it sounds like there’s a break or interruption in the audio, “(audio gap)” should be indicated.

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