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Backup is Best!!!
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Backup is Best!!!
by Antoinette Franks, CET

In this industry, most understand the definition and value of the word backup. They usually take it to mean backup your transcripts, because we have all had the unfortunate experience of having a document magically disappear by way of Word not responding, closing the document without saving, a power outage, et cetera. And it is an experience we never forget. But have you thought about what else the backup should apply to in your everyday life as a transcriber? No? I will tell you. It applies to everything, and I do mean everything.


I thought I had everything covered, because I have been in this industry a LONG time. Lo and behold, I did not. We all have varying degrees of redundancy or backup to save us aggravation in the long run. Of course, with Office 365, I have my files saved to OneDrive, which keeps them safe and accessible no matter what anomaly may take place during my work day. I have a battery backup on my PC to protect it from being damaged by power surges/outages. It gives me over an hour of battery power if my power goes out, which allows me to keep going on that document in critical moments where I cannot afford the delay of no electricity. I have my trusty laptop networked to my PC, so that I can easily switch from PC to laptop and pick up where I left off in my document in that situation, or just to remain mobile when I need to be chained to my desk. And the trusty keyboard, yes, I have a backup for that too. I always have my active keyboard and an additional one in the closet for those days when your keyboard decides, "Okay. I've put in my time and I don't want to work for you anymore," and quits functioning in some form or fashion; or the most common event, you cause it to stop working by spilling your hot coffee or tea all over it. We have all experienced that at least once.


Okay. So you are reading this and saying what is left? The one thing I forgot to back up, my headphones. And this is the way we all usually figure out what we need to back up; something goes wrong and you can't work because of it. Yes, it happened to me, even after 20 plus years in this industry. Now most know you should periodically replace your headphones, because they gradually degrade over time. Because it is gradual, you do not notice it as much, but it affects your productivity, your ability to decipher things said in your audio. I knew that, but that allows for time to go get another pair. What I had not thought about is the other issue. What if they break, like literally break and are totally unusable? It happens and it recently happened to me.


I was typing along in my daily for the day, focused on meeting a very tight deadline. I took my Bose headphones off to go make some much needed coffee. I came back to my desk ready to jump right back in. I sat my coffee down, picked my headphones up and attempted to put the very headphones on that I just took off my ears. Something was not right. They just would not sit firmly on my head and ears. I took them off to inspect them. And to my horror, the metal portion of the head band had snapped completely in half! Oh my goodness! I do not have time for this. The stress kicked in as I was in a dilemma of having a hard deadline with no efficient means to meet it. What did I do? I did the most painful thing we can do when you cannot get out of your chair. I improvised. I turned my speakers up, shut every bit of white noise off that I could, and typed the remainder of that daily using my speakers in order to get it done. That is another experience I can say I will not soon forget.


Once I was finished with my nightmare and turned in my daily, I immediately ordered my replacement Bose. But that still left me with no headphones. So everything was put on hold while I got in my car and drove to get a backup pair for the Bose until they came in. After an hour-and-a-half in Best Buy, I settled on Skullcandy Crushers, a nice quality backup pair I must say. And now I just had to wait for my precious Bose to be delivered. Six days later, things were normal again when my headphones arrived and I could put my backup pair away. I was, once again, a happy transcriber.


So I say all of this to emphasize, if you think you have backup covered on every angle, in every aspect, I will tell you firsthand that it pays to think long and hard and to make sure you do, all the way down to your headphones. In this instance, it is always better to have too many than not enough. So to save yourself the stress and aggravation of an experience like the one I just recently went through, sit back and say, "Have I truly covered it all?" Chances are there is at least one thing you have not thought of. And we all know it is better to think of it now than to discover it later when it happens to you. And I promise it will happen to you eventually. So backup, backup, backup!!!

Antoinette Franks is an AAERT Certified Electronic Transcriber. She can be reached at



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