Monday, March 3, 2014

Transcription Service: Are You Asking The Right Questions?

Welcome all to another article about transcription.

By now, you would have come to know what transcription is. It’s the process of converting recorded speech into clean and readable transcripts, so that one can go through the content, even if the audio is not available. It basically involves a person listening to the audio and writing out what he or she is able to decipher and understand into a specific format for further review by a reviewer and/or editor. The transcript is then reviewed by another person (reviewer and/or editor) for any discrepancies or errors and is finalized and sent to the client as a word/text document.

Today, what we’re going to talk and discuss about is when you want to get your audio or video recordings transcribed, do you outsource it to a third-party vendor or do you get the transcript done in-house with your own staff? When you’re choosing either of these methods, what are the essential factors that you’re considering for this?

Questions To Ask:

  1. What is the nature of the content that you want transcribed (i.e., secretive or public).
  2. How quickly do you want the transcript back?
  3. Are you going to publish the transcript or are you going to use it in-house for your own or company needs?
  4. How much willing are you to forego with the lapses in quality?
  5. Do you want the content quickly or are you in for the quality?
  6. Are you willing to pay more for quality?
  7. Do you think outsourcing the transcription process to a third-party vendor at a lower rate will give you a quality transcript?

Some of the questions that I’ve just outlined above are the most that are being asked by companies that are outsourcing this process to other vendors. Essentially, you want to make sure that the recording that you are providing is not being misused by the people who are doing the transcription process.

If the content is of secretive nature, then it is best that it is transcribed in-house by your own staff over whom you have strict control with regards to the content and quality of the transcript. Having secretive recordings done by other third-party vendors is always of concern to the person who is outsourcing the process.

Another thing that you want to ask yourself when outsourcing your transcription work to another person or vendor is whether they will take the same care with which you do your work on the work that you are providing to them. If you believe that they will provide you quality transcript within the required turnaround time, and in the required format, then it is okay for you to outsource the work to them.

You have to be sure that once when you receive the transcript back that there are no quality issues and if they do arise, then the vendor or person who has done the work will provide you with a reprocessed transcript. It is no use outsourcing transcription work to someone who provides you a shoddy transcript and then blames it on some other process.

You’re outsourcing the transcription process to save on time and money expecting to receive a quality transcript and in time. You do not want to be receiving something that is not worth your time to recheck it again and your money if you have received something that is not up to the mark for which you have paid the amount.

Also make sure that you’re being served for the payment that you’re giving and you receive something that is well worth it. When assigning transition to someone else, make sure that they follow all the required parameters that you have given them and that you are clear in your instructions and they are clear in following them.

There is a certain limit for which you will accept some quality issues. Don’t make it a habit that your vendor takes advantage of this and provides you with transcripts that are not up to mark. You should be very clear about what you need and how you want the transcript to be delivered to you.

The best method to ascertain the vendor’s quality would be to provide them with some sample files of five or 10 minutes each of various accents and audio quality, so that you get a feel for what they are capable of.

Always ensure that you poke around and beat around the bush to get what is being provided and expect what you will get in the future. Always have signed contracts and/or video recordings of your interaction with your vendor so that both of you are on the same page and discrepancies do not arise in the future.

Whenever you feel that the transcripts being delivered are not of the quality that you are expecting email and intimate the vendor or person about this and make them understand what it is that you are expecting. Do not let anything to chance or expectation about what you’re thinking, as this will later on lead to doubt and discrepancies between you and the vendor.

Always talk with the vendor person doing your work, and fix an appropriate rate based on either one of the following:

  1. Pay per minute
  2. Pay per hour
  3. Pay per page
  4. Pay per character

The transition process is a two-way process of review and feedback where you as the client and they as the vendor provide each other with feedback regarding the transcript and audio as well as the quality of the transcript and the quality of the audio.

Also, it is best to outsource bulk volume of work so that you get the transcript back one by one, and you have sufficient time to review the work. Always provide feedback to the vendor or person doing your work and guide them accordingly so that they can review it and provide you with better transcripts.

In concluding this article, I would like to say that if you want transcripts to be delivered to you in quality and in time, then you employ a person in house. If you’re looking for transcripts to be delivered to you with 95% to 99% quality and over a period of time, then you outsource the process to a person or vendor who can deliver it to you by your specified time.

[NOTE: The article "Transcription Service: Are You Asking The Right Questions?" first appeared on the Transcription, Online Presence, Articles, eBooks, and What Not... blog.]

[Follow: Devesh Prabhu is an avid blogger and blogs on many topics. He has been associated with the blogosphere for the past 8/9 years. You can follow Devesh Prabhu on social media through the buttons provided on the blog.]

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