epic surf

Greetings fellow Crowdsurfers!  

We haven’t had a Friendly Tips post for a little while now, but I’m excited to share a few with you this week!

The best advice I can give you, whether you’re a seasoned worker or a brand-new transcriber, is to join us on Reddit. If you’re not a part of Crowdsurf’s private subreddit, you’re missing out on some great information and interaction with your fellow workers! If you’re not sure how to handle something that you’re seeing in a current batch, you can ask about it and get advice from other workers. When we have batches with difficult or unfamiliar terminology, you might find a post that links to a useful resource or contains a list of terms that other workers have encountered. It’s easy to create a Reddit account (reddit.com), and once you’ve gotten that setup, you can request to join us at http://reddit.com/r/Crowdsurfwork.


62617839 - watch out sign, warning sign, vector illustration

Watch out for special guidelines! It’s so easy to get into a rhythm with our work and accidentally miss seeing some of those special instructions in the sidebar. A client’s special instructions always supersede the general guidelines, so it’s important to check for them! Get in the habit of looking for those sidebar notes every time you accept a job.

We’ve had an official update from CrowdSurf about sentence length! The guidelines will be updated soon to reflect this, but the new recommendation is that sentences should be no more than 160 characters in length. On the other side of the sentence length spectrum, do your best to avoid single-word sentences. If possible, join those sentences to another line. It won’t always be possible, especially in dialogue where speakers are responding with one-word answers, but it’s a good goal to keep in mind.


This new information doesn’t mean that reviewers and QC workers should now become obsessive character counters! It’s not about a magic number, it’s about what works best for captions. If your sentences are too short, they fly by too quickly to read. If your sentences are too long, they can block too much of the video and also be difficult to read.


Think of 160 characters as the longest you’d like your sentence to be in an ideal world, but there may be situations where you can’t stay below that threshold. Here’s a snapshot of several sentences of various lengths from an FTR job:


Even without counting characters, it’s pretty easy to tell which sentences need to be changed. But to give you an idea of what different sentence lengths look like in FTR, here’s a breakdown of how many characters are in each line. After each sentence, you’ll see two numbers. The first one is the number of characters excluding spaces, and the second is the character count including spaces.


Yes. 4/4

We also recommend in there, consistent with the bill, that counties be able to adjust some of their reporting.  92/110

There’s disagreement between the counties and healthcare services over the extent that they’re allowed to revise their annual revenue and expenditure reports. 137/158

And so the commission is suggesting that we need to clarify that, and the bill to do that. 73/90

And lastly, the law says unspent funds shall be made available to other counties in future years. 81/97

That’s what the law says. 21/25

It’s not clear how that is supposed to happen. 38/46

The commission has the recommendation before it to do exactly what SBXXX would do, would be create a reversion fund for three specific reasons, one is to highlight transparency in terms of these dollars, the second is to create an additional incentive to spend, the reversion policy is an incentive to use the money. 263/316


So you can see that the first line is too short (it’s only one word). You can also see that the last line is too long. It could be broken up like this:


The commission has the recommendation before it to do exactly what SBXXX would do, would be create a reversion fund for three specific reasons.

One is to highlight transparency in terms of these dollars.

The second is to create an additional incentive to spend.

The reversion policy is an incentive to use the money.


Sometimes it’s difficult to find a good breaking point for a longer sentence, and there will be situations where long sentences are unavoidable. Just do your best to create logical breakpoints that will make sense when shown as captions. And if you’re the reviewer or QCer of a job with a difficult sentence breakpoint issue, remember to give the original worker the benefit of the doubt.

And finally, when you are working on Full Text Review, look out for words that are not clear in some sentences, but are stated throughout the entire video. There are a lot of misspellings of words that are stated multiple times, yet spelled correctly in some lines.


I hope these tips were helpful. If you haven’t already, come join us on Reddit. And happy CrowdSurfing!