I know that when you go through a book quickly you skim through it.

What is the exact term when I go through an interview i recorded quickly? listening different steps just to get the general idea and jot down a few notes before proceeding to the actual activity of transcription.

I've looked online but I wasn't to sure... could it be 'speed listening' ?

  • I don’t understand the second part of your second paragraph.
    – Scott
    Aug 21 '17 at 23:30
  • Skim and scan are both good; one more idea: preview. Aug 22 '17 at 1:33

The metaphor of skimming, which refers to the meaning of skim as "to move quickly just above a surface without touching it" (Cambridge), can apply not only to reading but to any kind of perception. This is especially true when it's used in the prepositional phrases skim over or skim through, as the OED explains. In your example, skim through pretty much hits the nail on the head.


Compared to speed reading, the similar form would be speed listening.


LOVED the book. Listened to it on Audible at 2x speed and finished it in three days. Couldn't put it down. Congrats!

Source: The Rise of ‘Speed-Listening’, The Atlantic.

See more examples online.

Unlike reading a text, you cannot technically change the speed of your listening. You may, however, go through audio clips at a quicker rate by increasing its playback speed.


scan works for this - it is not necessarily visual.

Verb: scan (scanned,scanning) skan

  1. Examine minutely or intensely

    "the surgeon scanned the X-ray"

  2. Examine hastily

    "She scanned the newspaper headlines while waiting for the taxi";

    • skim, rake, glance over, run down
  3. Make a wide, sweeping search of

    "The beams scanned the night sky"

  4. (poetry) conform to a metrical pattern

  5. Move a light beam over; in electronics, to reproduce an image

  6. Read metrically

    "scan verses"

  7. Obtain data from magnetic tapes

    • read

-- WordWeb


A term used in the review and editing of audio files is scrubbing. Here is Wikipedia's definition:

In digital audio editing, scrubbing is an interaction in which a user drags a cursor or playhead across a segment of a waveform to hear it.[1] Scrubbing is a convenient way to quickly navigate an audio file, and is a common feature of modern DAWs and other audio editing software. The term comes from the early days of the recording industry and refers to the process of physically moving tape reels to locate a specific point in the audio track; this gave the engineer the impression that the tape was being scrubbed, or cleaned.


A less technical term for the activity you describe is skimming, as suggested by @EditingFrank.


Skip or skipping come to mind.


intransitive verb

  1. a : to pass over or omit an interval, item, or step

transitive verb

  1. b : to pass by or leave out (a step in a progression or series)


verb (used without object), skipped, skipping.

  1. to pass from one point, thing, subject, etc., to another, disregarding or omitting what intervenes: He skipped through the book quickly.

verb (used with object), skipped, skipping.

  1. to pass over without reading, noting, acting, etc.: He skipped the bad parts.

Although many sources mention skipping through books, a web-search shows the term is also frequently used with audio/music. The term can be used to refer skipping entire tracks (CD and MP3 players often have a "skip" button/function), but it can also refer to skipping within a track -- either accidentally:

Sonos answers

If your Sonos system experiences audio interruptions such as stops or skips, we recommend following the steps below

or deliberately (as would be the case for the OP's use):

Mozilla Support

Skipping to the middle of a streaming audio track on various sites causes stuttering and glitchy audio

Previously, I could skip through my stream at will, going straight to the middle of tracks or mixes to listen to a few seconds, and determine if I liked the track. Now, I cannot do that on Firefox 41.0.1. The problem is merely annoying on songs that are 3 or 4 minutes in length, as I must let them "cache" for perhaps ten seconds before skipping around. Unfortunately, the problem is a game-breaker on mixes that are, for example, 90 minutes long. If I skip to a point directly in the middle of the mix,

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.