Choosing an audio transcription service – what to consider
Posted in The virtual assistant blog
Transcription is a particular skill and care needs to be taken when looking for providers who specialise in transcription services to ensure you get the service you both require and are expecting. If you don’t either have the skills, resource or equipment in-house it can be more cost effective to outsource audio transcription. In this article we share our thoughts on how to find a suitable provider.
Finding a Provider
Searching online will return a number of transcription typing services and you’ll need to sift through them using reviews of, and comments on, each company’s work to get a feel for their service levels. Alternatively you can ask for recommendations from friends or colleagues.
What Type of Service?
Consider the industry you are in and whether you will need someone with specialist knowledge of that industry. In addition, do you want your audio typed up verbatim, along with all of the little joining words and peripheral details? This would be important for industries such as legal and medical for example.
Alternatively you can agree to have irrelevant details removed, and have punctuation added where necessary, although grammatical errors would be left. This would be useful for focus groups, webinars, interviews etc.
For copy that is going to be published, you may want to find a company offering content transcription where grammar and slang is corrected and interrupting comments are removed. Of course this takes more time and can cost a bit more.
Or you can have just a rough draft where the audio is listened to just once and the main points are recorded but not everything.
It is important to discuss and agree pricing before you start so you know what to expect and don’t get any expensive surprises. You’ll need to consider pricing structures, and timescales for the completed work to be returned to you. Urgent jobs will usually attract a higher rate.
With ‘per audio minute’ pricing the cost is based upon the length of the audio, not the time taken to type it up. The advantage of this is that you can calculate the cost up front but check that the cost includes the typist proof reading the document.
Some companies may state their cost as ‘per transcription hour’, with the approximate rule that 15 minutes of audio takes about 1 hour to transcribe. It is worth checking if they charge part hours, rather than rounding up.
Specific Qualities to Consider
Security and privacy: Even if your work isn’t of a particularly sensitive nature, ensure that you choose a reliable transcription service that guarantees the confidentiality and security of your data. It is important to ask what they do with your files once they have finished the work, and ideally you want an assurance that they will delete all files after use.
Accuracy and diligence: Precision is a key attribute when looking for data transcription services. It’s important to find a company or individual that can work in collaboration with you. They need to take the time and effort to understand the topic or industry, unique or key abbreviations, spellings etc, to ensure that what you are receiving back is accurate and useable. Whatever documentation they work on for you, whether it is a file note, or a legal document, they should give it the same attention to detail. You don’t want to have to proofread and adjust documents when you receive them back.
Native transcribers: The advantage of using a company that employs native transcribers is that they will have a natural understanding of the nuances of the language, slang, accents, cultural references, etc. This will help to ensure the accuracy of their work in terms of grammar, spelling and context. So it’s worth ensuring that the company you choose does not outsource their work.
These are just some of the suggested areas to consider when selecting an audio transcription service that will hopefully help in your search for the right provider. Alternatively if you would like to know more about the secretarial and transcription services we offer feel free to call us on 0800 994 9016 or click here to request a free consultation.