Year-End Review: 2019

by Dee


It’s that time of year again for a year-end review. Keeping my words from the year-end review of 2018, I focused more on transcription in 2019. It’s been quite a year since I found out that transcription work is no laughing matter. 2019 started with a kick with loads of tasks from returning clients I ‘met’ in 2018. It feels terrific to know that the service is satisfactory that they came back to work with me. I certainly hope that some work relationships I began this year will last.

Photo by Chinh Le Duc on Unsplash

2019 in Review

Continuing some of the previous contracts, I still do English to Bahasa Indonesia translation here and there. I deliberately didn’t look for new translation work because I wanted to detach myself from that niche altogether. Again, not that I hate it. But as I told you before, it became clearer that this niche is too saturated to accept yet another translator.

Even though small and short contracts are good to ‘build up your profile’ as suggested in the freelancing groups, I personally am yearning for a long-lasting collaboration (or several). Why? Simple: certainty. I’m not kidding myself that transcription projects, similar to other types of projects, can be pretty scarce and undulating in frequency. 

This year I worked on 572 files with a total of 339 audio hours. One client demonstrated a steady workload, which allowed me to calculate and make monthly savings targets much more meticulously. I believe it’s a good sign.

Transcription tasks
Audio hours
0 %
Accuracy rate

Also, still holding on to an element in my work ethic; no project or task is taken for granted. Every task is as important and treated with great care. I must say that I learnt a lot this year, especially in the renewable industry, business and management, and real estate. Working mainly on those topics during 2019, I learnt something I never thought I’d touch before.

2019 Setbacks

In life, there are always setbacks. Something happened to my hands in the middle of the year, and I had to make adjustments to keep up with both the treatment and work.

Another setback was in the middle of the year. That’s when I was overwhelmed by the tasks arriving in my inbox. Yes, it’s a good thing, but I have to be honest that I didn’t expect transcription work would be so demanding.

Wait, wait. Before you think I am complaining, this was the first time I got so many tasks in so little time. Having gone through this, I began to understand what this profession is all about. I realised how much responsibility it holds and how much I enjoyed it. The deadlines were tight, but it reminded me of when I had several papers due to submit. In all honesty, I kind of like the gut-wrenching, heart-pumping, sleepless nights. Although, I’m sure it won’t be healthy in the long run.

I’m not happy with my accuracy rate this year. I seriously am not happy with the total number of inaudible words I can’t decipher this year. To me, the number 99.2% isn’t enough to convince people to hire me. No, I know it can’t be 100% either. I mean, even ears got its limitation too, right?

Looking up to 2020

In truth, I am beginning to find my mojo working as an English transcriber. Moreover, I can see myself doing this for a long time. I think I’m still going to do this in 2020. Maybe I have stepped over completely, officially leaving my trowel behind. For 2020 goals, I’m aiming for another chunk of funds to set aside as savings for my own abode. This would mean accepting more tasks or getting new clients. It’s been a while since I wrote my last proposal in Upwork.

I also would like to increase my accuracy rate for the final products. Challenging accents or dialects like Geordie or Liverpudlian are still not my strongest suit.

Vacation! I need some vacation. One week on a beach or a mountain somewhere deep in the country won’t be a bad idea.

I can’t wait for 2020 to start. I see a whole new opportunity for me in this little transcription niche. Let’s hope for a prosperous, loving, wonderful year ahead. May your new year be blessed with all the goodness in the world.

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