Wondering how to pass the CastingWords Audio test?
The CastingWords test is a transcribers’ task that gauges an applicant’s competence. CastingWords will then hire or send a message indicating otherwise to the individual who has sat the test depending on their results.
Transcribing is a job where individuals receive work in audio form and are asked to note it down in written format. This article will share tips on how to pass the CastingWords transcribing test.
CastingWords is an American transcriber company based in Los Amalos, New Mexico but with workers across the world.
It was founded in 2005 and over the course of the years it has grown to be one of the most reputed establishments of this nature.
Majority of CastingWords workers are independent contractors. This means that rather being hired as full-time employees, workers are only answerable to the company at the times when they have pending tasks.
Transcribing an audio with CastingWords goes for an average of 8.5 cents per minute. At times however, some audios go for as high as 2.5 cents while others for as low as 2.5 cents.
Variance in pay is dependent on an individual’s rank in the company’s system usually determined by their previous scores in assignments submitted.
Prior to working with CastingWords however, one has to sit for a test. This tasks is usually a simple one.
Most people that use English as their first language or have attained a reasonable degree of education will pass it.
Generally, the text examines one’s grammatical skills, writing, as well as their punctuation.
One should note however, that not all individuals that log in to the company’s website will be required to do a test.
In most cases, individuals from countries that use English as their first language will be accepted as transcribers right away.
It is also the case that the company doesn’t allow applications all the time. The website will display a remark that informs an applicant that it doesn’t admit new transcribers if they login at such a time.
This phenomenon isn’t permanent though and so one who checks with the portal again will soon find a window in which to proceed with the test.
The surest way to pass the test is by studying the guidelines available to you on the CastingWords website.
Reading through allows you to know what it is that is exactly expected of you as you attempt the question.
This is important even for individuals who might have worked as transcribers already in other places since various channels emphasize different aspects of writing.
As an extra benefit to those that read the guidelines, the test can serve as practice for when their application succeeds since the instructions that apply to the test don’t differ from expectations in real assignments.
The guidelines are titled “Quick-start style guide” at this stage.
Below we explore some of this content.
a) Against paraphrasing
In attempting the test, one shouldn’t paraphrase. This means that you should write the sentences as articulated in the audio.
Words should also be written in the order they are spoken including instances when sentences contain grammatical errors.
At no point should a transcriber adopt words that were never mentioned in the clip or deduct words used.
An applicant may however, live out filler words as well as false starts. Filler words are those that speakers will use as mannerisms rather than conscious behaviour.
False starts are sentences that a speaker begins on but doesn’t conclude. Consequently, they add no meaning to what he/she already said.
Words like “um” and “uh” should be omitted too. And so should words employed as prompts. Prompts are used to lead a speaker to concluding a sentence.
This happens in audios made-up of more than one person. Examples of prompts pointed out in the guidelines are “okay” and “mm-hmm.”
b) Labeling Speakers
Labeling refers to attaching an identifier on the individuals involved in an audio. This must be done as you attempt the test regardless of whether the audio has more than one speaker or not.
There are several ways to do this so one has the liberty to choose that which is most convenient for them so long as it doesn’t fall outside what is stipulated.
Generally, labels take the form of speakers’ names, roles as well as their gender. Examples here are Announcer, Interviewer, Woman 1, Man 2 etc.
These are to be used every time when someone is speaking for the first time, every after the use of a descriptive tag (further details to be discussed), and at points when an individual starts speaking after someone else.
The last part also applies to cases where the person speaking next had previously spoken.
In such instances however, only one of their names is used even when both of them are known. In effect, you should use full names for speakers that are appearing in the audio for the first time.
Where you can’t establish all of a speaker’s names, then you can use the one you know.
Labels should be written in the standard conversation style i.e. in capital case and ending with a colon at the end.
All work should be written in paragraphs. As much as possible, your paragraphs should not exceed four hundred words.
You are allowed to shorten unnecessarily long sentences. In doing so however, fragmentation should be avoided.
Tags should occupy a paragraph of their own i.e. skip one line prior to using a tag and skip one more after using it.
d) Descriptive tags
Descriptive tags are twofold. Sometimes, they are used to indicate sounds that appear in the audio on top of the spoken words.
In this case, they help to give context to editors especially in reading the mood. The sounds may be made by the speakers themselves, objects, animals, other individuals etc.
Examples include; laughter, breaking objects, and birds chirping.
In other instances, tags serve as short remarks that indicate an issue in the submitted work that a transcriber is unable to workaround on their own.
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CastingWords has a uniform way of capturing these tags. Use [SP] to indicate a word whose spelling you have failed to find. You shouldn’t rush to use this tag though.
Your first instinct should be to try to find out the right spelling through means like dictionaries. You’re likely to score very low marks in the test if you adopt the tag for a word you would have otherwise found.
Use [xx] to indicate instances when a speaker becomes inaudible or cases where you are not sure about the words being used.
Again, you should try as much as possible to understand the word (s) in question first before you use this tag. [xx] can be used to replace one word or an entire sentence.
Punctuations should be adopted in these cases just like it would have been if the real words were used.
Use [?] before a word or sentence that you have transcribed but are not certain about it. Tags should always be written in lower case and enclosed in square brackets.
Use [crosstalk] to indicate a time in the audio that involved speakers speak at the same time.
e) American English
CastingWords is an American-based company. As such, the test should be written in this style. There are not very many distinctions between American English (AE) and British English.
Usually, the only difference concerns spellings Applicants who can’t tell the difference should always run their work through apps set in the language upon completion but before submission.
Examples of words that carry different spellings are “OK” (AE for “okay”), “behavior” (AE for behaviour”) and “all right” (AE for alright).
If the audio contains numbers from zero up to nine, they should be written in words. Numbers starting from ten upwards, decimals, as well as negatives should be written numerically.
Once one opens an account, there is a sample script that they can use to compare with all the descriptions above.
Perusing through will help you to have an idea of how your final template should look like upon completion. This is especially so for people who are not good readers.
Punctuations applying to the test are those that are general used in English. A transcriber can you quotation marks for instance, if a speaker in the audio appears to quote words that are not originally their own.
Exclamation marks can also be used in case of use of strong emotions.
Other Aiding Applications And Sites
Transcribing is a profession of a wide spreading scope and so it has been discussed in several other places. This section refers the reader to several sites that elaborate further on the topic.
Additionally, transcribing is dynamic since the person engaged has to do several otherwise independent tasks to successfully accomplish the entire process.
Below we highlight examples of applications that will simplify your work as you attempt the test.
Depending on your degree of development however, you might not require to consult with all of these resources especially at test level.
Accordingly, you can go with those that address areas in which you are still lacking. Knowing which sites to consult and which ones to leave out will require honest self-criticism.
Try not to overestimate your potential, but at the same time don’t be too harsh on yourself. If you are unsure about this, then you are better off checking-out all of them.
Best Transcription Sites
This is a professional transcription site. The services available at the website range from offering a short course to publications on transcribing both in written and audio format.
One who enrolls for the course will also be awarded a certificate. For purposes of passing the test, an individual only needs to consult with a few resources there.
Other opportunities available on the site include internships as well as recommendations for further working elsewhere.
Because the test is to be typed out, one who is lacking in the skill might have issues sitting for it. Typing.com is designed to match diverse categories of individuals no matter the stage of mastery at which they are with their keyboards.
The site has a well laid-out curriculum which an individual may also customize depending on their interests.
These services offered include Computer Basics and Literacy, as well as Comprehensive Keyboarding and they are all provided at a free cost.
NCH is a leading software developing company founded in Australia. It develops several tools important for our case being sound converters and editors.
This applies mostly to the audio that you will receive from CastingWords shortly before the test.
Generally, the audio is of reasonable quality and should be able to work on its own.
Should that fail however say due to incompatibility with your device, the site comes in handy to help you overcome the said issue.
This is a site that will provide you with a range of transcription tests. You can use them to weigh your progress prior to finally attempting the CastingWords test.
One should however note that different instructions are used for each of these sites. The best way to practice therefore is to get the audios on these sites and transcribe them per the guidelines of CastingWords.
Essentially this also means that one can find a random audio that involves people conversing say a podcast and use it for their practice.
Grammarly is an app that will help you correct spelling errors, punctuations, and any other issues that may appear in your work. The app is available on playstore.
Be sure to download it and run your test through it before sending it in. The app is free though there is a premium version for those that can afford it. Alternative apps to Grammarly are Wordtune, Sapling, and Ginger.
Several people have made videos on how to pass the CastingWords test. Here are links to my best three;
Most of the ground covered in most of these videos have however already been covered in this article and so one who has already read it need not watch them.
You can still go ahead and do so though for purposes of comparison.
Doing the test
A couple of instructions will be sent to you when you open your browser to attempt the test. Please check with them and ascertain that you meet the requirements therein.
CastingWords will tell you here that only individuals above eighteen years are eligible for the test. You will also learn that all payment is done through PayPal. To proceed from here, you will have to sign a contract first.
Thereafter, you will be requested to talk about yourself in less than five hundred characters.
It is important that you execute this task with proficiency as your input is weighed and used to determine whether you should sit for the test or not.
If at all you are meant to sit the test, you should at this stage see an option that leads you to a place where you can do the test.
You will be allowed a little more than half an hour or even more to attempt the task at hand. A live timer will display below your screen as soon as you start. Endeavour to keep an eye on it.
The test is done online though you could do it somewhere else and simply copy and paste it into the browser.
Like any other cases that involve writing, it is up to the individual to decide whether to write as they make corrections or first jot-down the details of the audio and revise the work later.
Once you’ve submitted the work, you will be notified about the receipt of the work and requested to wait on your results.
The results take anywhere between a few hours and two weeks. The latter happens in extreme cases though where results have to be reviewed manually.
If your application is successful, you will receive an email confirming that you are now a transcriber.
Therein you will receive other important details including an invite to the Facebook group where you can find other transcribers of the company.
At this point, you can begin on work by checking with the available tasks in the “Jobs” section. Usually most of these are not available to beginners.
As you grow in ranks though, you can do more and more work.