Thank Goodness For Search Engines

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As transcribers, we wouldn’t be able to produce transcripts with the level of accuracy that McGowan Transcriptions prides itself on and demands from its entire staff without internet search engines; Google being my favourite. Often, in fact, more time can be spent looking on Google to confirm the spelling of well-known brand names, cities and towns around the world and just generally words that only terribly intelligent people (or those looking to impress) would ever use in everyday conversation than can be spent actually typing a transcript.

Even with well-known brands and products, as a transcriber, it’s a good discipline just every once in a while to click over to Google and double-check to make sure that how you think something is spelt is in fact correct.

Other times Google is absolutely essential to our work. As the use of digital transcription continues to grow, our international base of clients continues to grow also. We’ve done projects in places like Poland, Germany and Brazil where at times I have found myself with a world atlas in one hand, a strong cup of coffee in the other and a ‘I am not going to let this beat me’ attitude, spending what seems like hours trying to find a town or city a Respondent has referred to. I also confess to not being very good with places in Wales having only ever been to Cardiff before and if you can’t spell that then you certainly wouldn’t be working here!

We also do a lot of medical transcriptions where again, without the use of Google very few of us would be able to spell conditions such as phenylketonuria, glomerulonephritis and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Even aneurysm is a word that most of us know but probably couldn’t spell correctly. Drug names are another obstacle, but due to the many years of combined medical experience we have certain key members of staff who know where to look using internet search engines and they share that information amongst the team.

Google is also handy when helping to spell peoples’ names. At McGowan Transcription we don’t guess. We take the time to go onto a company’s website and use their own search engines to confirm the correct spelling of a person’s name when Google can’t provide the answer first time around.

Lastly, Google is a necessary tool for just looking up words that you’ve never heard of before. I consider myself to be an intelligent person. I am university-educated and I even have letters after my name but at times I find myself shaking my head at my computer screen and thinking what on earth is this person talking about when faced with a very complex and technical discussion.

However, Google can also be a distraction and my inquisitive mind often sees me veering off the task at hand. If I come across a word I don’t know I will as a matter of course look at the definition to check that it fits with the context but also to feed my own mind. If a politician is mentioned as being connected with a scandal I’ll have a quick look at any associated articles. If a new technology or product is mentioned I will take a peek and see what it’s all about. Our work as professional transcribers and our wide range of clients means we get a new project every day to work on and the scope of projects never ceases to amaze me.

The team here, therefore, are not only expert transcribers but great researchers as well, not to mention walking dictionaries! If one combination of words on a search engine doesn’t throw up what you’re looking for you carry on, changing the combinations and thinking of new ones until you get the right result.

Therefore, without Google and the likes we wouldn’t be able to deliver perfect quality transcription files day after day.

Blog written by Julia Page