Forensic Transcription and Translation Sessions at DVTA Summit

The September 10 East Coast Translators and Interpreters Summit, a first for the DVTA, brought in attendees from ten different U.S. states, representing 14 languages. Nearly one hundred individuals attended the Summit, participating either as attendees, sponsors, exhibitors, students, or speakers. The one-day Summit included several educational sessions that were eligible as CEU credits for certified professionals, and an ATA certification exam on Sunday for those interested in becoming certified.

Among the sessions offered were two lectures given by certified interpreter and translator Judith Kenigson Kristy, an expert in the area of forensic transcription and translation (FTT). Kenigson Kristy’s two sessions were well-attended, and for good reason! Her lecture on this too-often-ignored aspect of language services was enthralling and very informational. Between answering questions from attendees on how to estimate timing for these types of projects, how to know our responsibilities as transcribers, and how to format transcripts for the courts and attorneys, Kenigson Kristy provided DVDs containing helpful resources and practice recordings so that participants could not only learn about FTT but also give it a try for themselves.

Attendees listen eagerly to the lecture on transcription

Attendees listen eagerly to the lecture on transcription

One of the most helpful aspects of the FTT sessions was learning some specific and hands-on tips about transcription techniques and software. For instance, Kenigson Kristy listed several of her most commonly-used abbreviations in transcripts and their meanings ([IA] for inaudible, [INT] for interrupted, [UI] for unintelligible, etc.) and also gave a demonstration of how to reduce background noise in a tricky audio file using Wave Pad, an audio editing software. Additional tips included foot pedal basics, types of headphones that won’t hurt your ears, and a workflow for completing FTT projects: first review the audio and map out who is speaking and when; then do a first pass of the transcription; next, do a second review of the transcript after editing the audio to reduce background noise; finally, review the source audio again to ensure that you’ve only written what you can really hear before translating and editing the transcript.

DVTA appreciates Ms. Kenigson Kristy’s and all of our other speakers’ willingness to share their tips and tricks with Summit participants and we look forward to more great events like this in the future!