8 Transcription Features You Should Look For In A Human Transcript Provider

April 30, 2024

8 Transcription Features You Should Look For In A Human Transcript Provider

The value of the human transcription market in the U.S. will increase from $25.98 billion in 2022 to $41.89 billion in 2030.

(Grand View Research)

While we’re living in a world of AI, human transcriptions are still relevant — and more valuable than ever. AI transcription software or “speech-to-text transcriptions” may be growing in popularity, but the strengths and capabilities of human transcriptions far exceed any software today.

That said, if you were to pick a human transcription service, which one should you choose?

In a 2024 report, Zippia estimated over 51,000 active transcriptionists in the United States alone. It’s safe to say that there are significantly more professional transcribers worldwide.

Picking the right human transcription service provider can be challenging when there are so many choices. Fortunately, boiling the list down to the best is easy with a checklist of top features to guide you.

When choosing your next human transcription service provider, here are seven features you should consider:

Top Features To Consider In A Human Transcription Service

1. Consistent Accuracy And Speed

Being accurate and fast in creating audio transcripts are two of the most essential transcription features you should look for in a human transcription service. Unfortunately, finding a provider that delivers both speed and accuracy is challenging. Some services can create transcripts rapidly but with subpar accuracy, while others may produce accurate transcripts but aren’t quick enough to deliver them within your timeframe.

To get around this challenge, reach out to the provider’s customer support team and ask them about the following factors:

  • Quality assurance - What steps does your service provider take to ensure the quality and accuracy of your audio transcripts?
  • Training and certifications - What is your service provider's background, experience, and certifications in audio transcription?
  • (for transcription firms) Vetting process - What is their process in selecting the right human transcriptionist/s for your project?

2. Versatility To Custom Specifications

Human transcription service providers apply a specific transcript formatting to transcript orders by default. If you need your transcription to have a particular way of formatting, you will need a provider that can adapt to your custom specifications.

There are several formatting elements you can request for your transcripts. For instance, you may need specific types of transcriptions such as:

  • Pure verbatim - Word-per-word transcription, including filler words and false starts 
  • Smart verbatim - Transcriptions that remove unnecessary utterances
  • Non-verbatim - Paraphrasing the discussion while retaining the key insights

The ideal provider must also be able to apply specifications like timestamps and speaker identification.

3. Long-term Scalability

Most human transcription services are sufficient for single small-scale projects. However, you may want to plan to integrate transcriptions into your workflow in the long run. This may be the case, especially when you manage multiple audio recordings throughout your work — even more so as your workload increases.

In this case, you will need a human transcript provider that can match your growing needs. This can be difficult to gauge, so you must read up on customer testimonials to identify a provider’s scalability.

4. Industry-Specific Knowledge

Whatever your industry or niche, your audio recordings may contain specialized terminologies, jargon, or acronyms.

Human transcriptionists usually attempt to make an educated guess on unfamiliar terms. For best results, however, you must look for transcription providers that explicitly specialize in your particular industry or field. They’ll be able to create high-quality transcripts efficiently.

TranscriptionWing, for example, offers transcription services that specialize in the following fields:

  • University (academic transcription services)
  • Law (legal transcripts)
  • Healthcare (medical transcriptions)
  • Market research (focus group or interview transcription services)
  • Biotechnology (biotech research transcripts)

5. Quick Research Skills

The content of your audio recordings may fall under a domain of expertise that no transcription service provider specializes in.

In this case, human transcription providers with flexible research skills will significantly benefit you in the long run. Researching specific terms quickly to decipher unintelligible statements in audio recordings allows providers to produce good-quality transcripts.

If your provider ultimately cannot identify terms in an audio recording, they should inform you about them ahead of time with their corresponding timestamps.

6. Turnaround Flexibility

The more time allotted for transcripts, the higher accuracy is usually guaranteed by most services in a transcript. Ideally, your provider should offer the highest possible accuracy and quality regardless of when you request the transcript.

Even if you don’t need transcripts on short notice, it’s always best to have a service provider who can offer them. You never know when you need transcripts with a tight timeframe.

Transcription service providers like TranscriptionWing, for example, offer quick transcription services such as:

  • Rush transcriptions within 4 hours
  • Transcripts by 9 AM on the next business day
  • 1-day delivery

Check a provider’s service descriptions or contact customer support for information on their turnaround flexibility.

7. Compliance With Data Privacy Regulations

Depending on your industry, you may be dealing with sensitive content in audio recordings.

Market research firms, for example, undergo strict scrutiny as they must protect the privacy and identity of their respondents in their projects.

On top of local data protection laws, your chosen service provider should know how to comply with these two regulations:

  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) - A European Union regulation that applies worldwide and sets unified guidelines on processing and handling personal data
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) - A federal law in the United States that enforces strict standards for protecting sensitive patient information

8. Active Communication

Quick, open communication is crucial regardless of industry or niche. In audio transcription, communication is vital for managing expectations with transcript accuracy, the type of transcription required, and other factors.

Look for service providers with fast, 24/7 customer support, as they can ensure peace of mind with your transcriptions.

Freelance Transcribers Or Human Transcription Service Firms?

Another question is whether to hire individual transcribers or human transcription service firms.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Freelance transcribers work best for short-term, small-scale projects but may be limited to larger workflows and businesses.
  • Human transcription service firms are highly versatile, reliable, and efficient, which is significantly beneficial, especially for professionals and organizations that rely heavily on audio recordings. Most firms also have a rigorous vetting process to ensure you receive high-accuracy transcripts that comply with data protection regulations.

Generally speaking, human transcription service firms offer superior flexibility, efficiency, and guaranteed expertise.

Elevate Your Workflow With The Right Human Transcript Provider

Regardless of which human transcription solution you choose, one thing’s for sure: you’ll enjoy more accurate transcriptions that hit the mark more accurately than automated transcription or speech recognition services.

You need a tried-and-true human transcription service firm that matches your needs for the best results. Learn how TranscriptionWing ticks all the boxes as the ideal human transcript provider you should rely on!

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