All the small business owners or sole traders that I have met really enjoy what they do, some are even passionate about it; it’s often a large part of the reason that they go into business for themselves. I will admit that I don’t feel passionate about transcription but I do really enjoy it. A part of that is the pleasure taken in a job well done but in the most part I enjoy transcribing because I generally find the audio that I am working with to be interesting. I can give you two contrasting examples from work that I have recently undertaken.

The first was a series of interviews with scientists and doctors recorded at a medical conference. Participants discussed the results of recent drugs trials which showed a lot of promise in prostate cancer. My background is in science and I enjoy seeing what’s going on at the cutting edge that really might make a difference in the next few years and potentially stop numerous premature deaths. It’s also interesting to see where science goes against the grain of public perception, an example of which is summed up very nicely in this New Scientist editorial.

If I’m honest, transcribing ordinary people talking about their lives is probably my absolute favourite type of transcription. The majority of individuals who I’ve transcribed in this way all have something interesting to say and even just little details of their lives can be fascinating. Every once in a while someone will say something that challenges my assumptions which I’m sure is good for me. I listen to the audio files with my own preconceptions about how people are and then something comes out of left-field, someone talking about an aspect of their life that I have never experienced or even considered.

My second recent example was an oral history interview with a woman who grew up in a post-Second World War slum in the Midlands. She talked about the cockroaches that shared their accommodation and how there was one outside toilet shared between three families. It’s easy to take modern comforts for granted and to forget how much things have changed within only a few decades.

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