Automated transcriptions is the latest innovation in producing transcripts. Although inaccurate, some individuals prefer this automated type of transcribing service since they provide the ability to produce a transcription immediately, given that the audio recording has clear speakers and neutral accents – and not to mention that these services are relatively less costly than services from human transcription companies. However, there’s no way to tell how much editing the transcription would need once it is done. Many automated transcripts are only at a 50% accuracy even with the best audio recordings.
While there are other options such as commissioning freelancers from websites like Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer or Toptotal who market their skills within the range of $5 to as high as $60 per audio hour, there is no way of knowing if your files would remain secure and confidential, especially if it contains sensitive information and key important insights for the business. Worse, the transcriber may not even finish the transcript in the given deadline.
Because of this, many people opt for a transcription service instead, especially researchers, podcast moderators, legal advisors, financial managers, or students working on a dissertation. Albeit indirectly, a transcription service helps these people discover an important statistic, expand their following, win an important case, see valuable insights in current financial trends, or ultimately achieve the degree they’ve invested so much in.
Transcription services have a clear-cut process for converting an audio recording into a transcript. From uploading a file to completion and then deletion, it is facilitated by professionals who work with expertise and strict compliance from beginning to end, the most critical of which is when it is in the hands of professional transcribers and editors. Also, access rights to these files are limited to the team it is assigned to.
Once recordings are uploaded, files are assigned and marked according to difficulty along with client specifications. Difficult files with challenging audio, multiple speakers and/or with accents are categorically assigned to specific transcribers who can better understand and work files involving speakers with challenging accent; who are experts in focus group discussions, conference calls or webinars; who are knowledgeable in the subject matter at hand; and generally have the sharpest listening skills. These are then reviewed by editors who correct any grammatical mistakes or mishears. Once proofread, a senior editor performs a final sweep of the transcript before sending the finished transcript, deleting the copy after a set period of time under the supervision of a data security officer.
It seems arduous (and it is!) but transcribers and editors of a good transcription service are trained to work thoroughly and efficiently. They are expected to transcribe or edit up to a whopping 300 minutes every single day, ensuring that all deadlines are promptly met. There are times when transcripts are requested to be submitted within the same day, or even in the next few hours at the cost of an additional charge. Because of this, management and priorities are coordinated and observed and rush files are handled by the best transcribers and senior level editors to ensure the quality of the transcript, even with such a short time frame to work with.
In other words, coordination and trust are important in accomplishing timely deliveries. Errors in handling files like assigning difficult files to inexperienced transcribers and editors may spell disaster – since they lack the expertise, they might produce unsatisfactory quality or worse, not meet the deadlines. After all, time and convenience is bought at a higher price in most businesses, and transcriptions are not an exception.
When accuracy is highly valued, a transcription service should have expertise and follow a clear-cut process, practice thorough research, and the resilience to sit down and make sure that the every important dialogue, context and utterance, if required, is captured and reviewed by a reliable transcriptionist who can work the odds and send important transcripts in a timely fashion.