Lost in Translation

close-up of a computer keyboard

We’ve had an unusual job in the past week or so. I say “we” because I piggy-backed onto Derek‘s gig due to my special skills: typing!

Derek is a hunt-and-peck typist while I’m one of those QWERTY queens who goes a mile a minute. The job he got was to redo the audio on a series of cyber-security awareness training videos. The presenter has a strong German accent and he wanted a North American voice on his work. One problem: no scripts!

Derek was supposed to listen to some of the audio, and then read it back and record it, bit by bit. It proved impossible, especially since there are more than two full hours of audio to deal with. He tried putting the audio through voice-to-text software but it couldn’t make sense of the man’s heavily accented English. So I made Derek an offer – I’d transcribe them all and he could read from scripts instead. Sound good? Sounded good. But hey, I work too, so I expected to get paid.

Long story short, we worked out what we both thought was a fair hourly rate, and the client agreed. It’s not something I’d choose to do every day, but it’s working out just fine. Each 10-12 minute video takes about an hour to transcribe because of the accent and my lack of familiarity with some of the terms. But once I figure out that he has said “WPA2 pre-shared key”, it’s no longer new. Google is pretty good at taking my nonsense attempts at translation and turning them into what this man has actually said.

This work is fitting in well between auditions, voice-over projects and writing articles for Walmart and other outlets. My goal as a freelancer was to mix it up. It’s pretty mixed up! The cyber-security awareness training is enough to make you want to go back to a home phone and put a lead wall up around your house. (Build the wall!) Threats are everywhere, and we are all pretty lax about them on the whole. But now I know. And had I not turned into Miss Typer-Typerson over here, I might not have learned all of this stuff.

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