Correct Transcriptions and Spoken English Quickly
Transcription + Grammarly = Improved English.
Transcription + Grammarly = Quicker transcription editing.
Alright. That was the extent of my math career. When I started my podcast and vlog Without Borders, I knew I wanted to help English learners with transcripts. I already knew that transcribing would be a pain in the ass, but since it allows ESL students (and improves SEO results), it's worth it. After three hours of capitalizing letters, adding punctuation, and correcting homophones—the stuff automatic transcriptions don't include—my brother said, "So… Why don't you just copy and paste this into Grammarly."
Genius! Grammarly recognized the recurring errors and fixed hundreds of mistakes within seconds.
I still had to spend the next few hours fixing the words that were transcribed incorrectly, but Grammarly cut the time in half. Not only that, but I discovered how using Grammarly with transcriptions can improve all your English skills: listening, speaking, writing and grammar.
Many language learners and teachers are familiar with the transcription technique to improve listening skills. If you spend hours writing down every word someone says, your listening skills will improve. But you can also improve your speaking, writing and grammar skills with Grammarly.
When you write with Grammarly, their AI analyzes each sentence and looks for ways to improve it, whether it's correcting a verb tense, suggesting a stronger synonym, or offering a clearer sentence structure. However, what is grammatically correct doesn't always sound the best, and Grammarly recognizes that. So, when you use Grammarly, you can help improve its suggestions. Whenever you hit "ignore" on an unhelpful suggestion, Grammarly gets a little smarter. I've been using Grammarly since 2014, and I've seen how much the AI suggestions have improved, especially when it comes to fixing wordiness, vagueness and hedging, poor word choice, and gnarly sentence structure–they even tell you the mood and tone of your writing.
Of course, we don't want to speak precisely the same way as we write or vice versa—unless you want to take stream-of-consciousness writing to a whole new level. If you've ever done a transcription, you know how many mistakes we make when we speak—a shit ton. Native speakers switch verb tenses in the middle of a sentence. For instance, we might start in the past tense and, mid-way through a sentence, switch to the present tense to create a sense of immediacy to the story. Of course, some writers do this, too, but it can be somewhat jarring for the reader, well, unless you're an established writer within some elite literary New York circle—in that case, people will say your work is groundbreaking and prolific.
After recording my first few podcast and vlog episodes of Without Borders, I realized how many mistakes native speakers make that I often correct with my students. For example, we used like instead of as. As Grammarly explains, "In formal writing, like is used as a preposition, telling where, when or how the noun in the sentence is doing whatever it may be doing. As is used as a conjunction, joining two clauses." There were also a few instances where we misused was and were and is and are. For example, "There was a lot of different things" instead of "There were a lot of different things." We also misplaced adverbs by saying "he's coming always" instead of "He's always coming" or "I remember often" instead of "I often remember." There were also many instances where we misused articles such as "in the most of western countries…" instead of "In most of the western countries." The mistakes didn't end there, my friend. We even mixed up "where" and "when." For instance, "three years ago where I was still doing…" should be "three years ago when I was still doing…." When you read these mistakes, they seem obvious, but you might not notice them in verbal communication unless you're an ESL teacher like me, listening for errors.
Keeping all these common mistakes in mind, you don't need to stress when Grammarly shows that you made several hundred mistakes within five minutes of speaking. What makes it so useful as an English learner is that if you don't understand why what you said is wrong, you can click on the mistake, and Grammarly will provide you with an explanation. For example, take the following sentence "However, it has both advantages and disadvantages, let's see!" You will find a red line under the comma and let's. You click on it to understand what's wrong, and Grammarly states, "It seems that you have two independent clauses improperly joined with a comma. Consider correcting the comma splice." Now, if you don't know what any of that means, you click on "Learn more," and you'll get the following explanation:
Of course, that example only pertains to your writing. Nobody is going to notice that when you're speaking. As I stated, Grammarly will help you find synonyms, correct your verb tenses, and find other issues that improve your writing and speaking, but how to the hell does it improve your delivery, mood, and tone? It will give you options for how to rephrase your sentence. For instance, it might tell you to use active instead of passive voice. Or it will tell you what words to eliminate:
At this point, I think you understand how beneficial the combination of Transcriptions and Grammarly is. Currently, Grammarly has several different options to ensure the suggestions it gives are the most relevant to your writing style. So, this is what it looks like:
I hope that Grammarly adds 'Transcriptions' as one of their options. With podcasts being an ever-growing industry, more people will want to make their transcriptions and captions readable. With Grammarly, we can do just that. They have cut my workload in half, but I'd be grateful if they found a way for the AI to recognize a transcript.
If you've made it this far in the article, you're likely thinking, How much is Grammarly paying this guy to write an entire article about them? The answer is nothing. Even though the founders, Max Lytvyn and Alex Shevchenko, are billionaires, my broke ass doesn't mind supporting them because their user-first security and privacy principles drive everything they do and provide transparency on how they work. They make money from selling subscriptions—not by selling or renting user data. If you've read my article Social Media Alternatives, you understand why that attracts me. They also donated $5 million—equivalent to the net revenue generated from usage of Grammarly's product in Russia and Belarus since 2014—to organizations and funds supporting the people of Ukraine. They also blocked users located in Russia and Belarus from using Grammarly products or services.
As a language enthusiast, the price is worth it. The product is $144 per year ($12 monthly) and $15 a month for their business plan, which includes features for teams, organizations, and enterprises. If you're a teacher in an academy—in other words, you're grossly underpaid for your work—that price might seem pretty steep. However, I hope more academies spend money on Grammarly business because it has made marking students' homework much easier and faster. It's also thanks to Grammarly that my manuscripts aren't full of mistakes—a line editor gave me a deal when correcting my manuscript of Living with the In-Laws because it was "clean," as they say in the business. Clean, as in a few mistakes, definitely not clean as in suitable for children. Grammarly has helped me as a teacher, writer, and podcaster. I hope it can do the same for you.
If you enjoyed this article, please subscribe and spread the word. And if you have any pull with Grammarly, try and convince them to add transcripts to their set of goals.