Life as a Swahili transcriber

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Life as a Swahili transcriber

Thomas is fluent in Swahili, English and Kinyarwanda and currently is a member of the team providing our Swahili transcription service. We wanted to know what life is like as a Swahili transcriber.

KH: Thomas, where were you born?

Thomas: I was born in Tanzania but I have lived for some years in Kenya. I have a cousin who lives in London, so I visit the UK quite often.

KH: How long have you been transcribing audio and video files? I see that you speak Kinyarwanda, do you transcribe Kinyarwanda too?

Thomas: I have been transcribing files for around 5 years, and yes, I transcribe both Swahili and Kinyarwanda. Because I am perfectly fluent in English, I also provide direct translations from both Swahili and Kinyarwanda audio into English. This means that a client does not need to have a Swahili transcript prepared first and then pay for a separate translation into English.

KH: What is the advantage of this?

Thomas: If I produced a Swahili transcript first, then a subsequent translation cost would be calculated by the number of words. The client won’t know the end cost until I have completed the transcription stage. If I produce a direct translation from Swahili into English without an initial transcription, then the rate will be calculated by the source audio minute.

KH: So there are no surprises down the line?

Thomas: Exactly. Everybody knows what to expect from the outset. Not only is this solution more economical for the client, it ultimately saves a lot of time too.

KH: How long would it take you to transcribe 60 minutes of Swahili audio?

Thomas: Assuming good audio quality and no fiddly formatting requirements, I can normally finish this amount within a day or two.

KH: And if you are providing a direct translation from Swahili to English?

Thomas: This is obviously more time-consuming. I can probably handle around 20 to 30 minutes per day.

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If you would be interested in learning more about our Swahili transcription service, do please get in touch.


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