Taking Salt out of Soup & Transcription News


The last time I checked in with you all here, I was trying to fix the audio from the Helena, MT storytelling event at Free Ceramics back in May. I hired a sound engineer, who did some work on it & admitted that it was unusable. He said that trying to fix the recording was like trying to talk salt out of soup.

I provided the enhanced version of the recording to all of the Helena storytellers & they all agreed that it was not fit for public consumption.

Lesson learned & I’ll be more diligent about testing unfamiliar recording equipment in the future.


When I began offering transcriptions of the stories told at Tell Us Something, my goals were twofold:

1. Provide another way for people to “hear” the stories. Because I believe that everyone’s story matters & is worth hearing, I wanted to provide another way for stories to be experienced. The hearing impaired population can also benefit from transcriptions.

2. Improved SEO. The more text, the more words Google indexes & the more likely www.tellussomething.org would return in search results. Again – the goal is to get the stories into as many people’s ears & eyes as possible.

When transcription of the podcasts began, Tell Us Something had an intern who was providing the transcription service for free. She struggles with it & it took her a long time.

She left Tell Us Something & I began doing the transcriptions. Tell Us Something purchased a dictation app called Dragon Dictation. It was not effect for transcriptions because it would provide a huge block of text with no punctuation. I would then have to go back and listen to the story again, punctuating the dictation & correcting inaccuracies.

The process took about 5 hours for one 10 minute story.

Then I looked into transcription services. The least expensive one I found was $1/minute. If there are on average 8 storytellers for an event, the cost would be at least $80/event.

Without having any data on how many people are utilizing the transcripts, for now, I have made the decision to suspend transcriptions until I can capture and accurately analyze that data. The time & money required to offer transcriptions are better spent in other endeavors for now.

Expect the next podcast episode to be published tomorrow at 9AM. Subscribe here if you haven’t already.

Thanks for listening.