Editor’s Note: We no longer use this transcription tool.
We believe we are one of the best transcription companies out there. But what exactly does that mean? Are we just blowing our own horn?
Our clients count on us to render line, form and movement to their audio and video recordings—the result being a tangible transcript of the spoken word. We’re contacted daily to deliver professional transcription support for focus group discussions, lectures, academic interviews, podcasts, meetings, webcasts… the list is endless.
As a business professional, you need to feel confident those whom you’re entrusting to transcribe your content have your best interests at heart. We’ve been delivering transcription services to companies for many years and it’s our pleasure to provide the outline below—identifying four key areas and the elements within—for you to consider when evaluating and choosing a transcription company.
Here’s what the best transcription companies provide and what they require from their employees.
- Keyboarding Skills/Speed – Look for an above-average rate of speed (75+ words per minute) married with a high degree of accuracy (98% or higher). Fast isn’t valuable if precision isn’t the guarantee.
- Know and Understand Technology/Computer Literacy – Work with someone who knows more than just the technology basics. Look for creativity and adaptability, ask what type of technology they use to listen to your audio/video and the software they use to create your transcript.
- Working within Deadlines – This is all about time management and organizational skills. Great transcriptionists know how to “work backwards” in estimating typing time, proofing time and reading-for-comprehension time to beat your deadline and exceed your expectations.
- Spelling and Grammar – You have a right to expect the best transcription companies to excel in these areas. Inquire how they ensure the accurate handling of homonyms. If they’re uncertain or confused about their homonym policy, don’t go there.
- Superior Listening – Typing what is said can be a science at times. Does the transcription company have the capability to provide verbatim (word-for-word) transcripts? Can they remove the superfluous (I know, you mean, like, uh, um, ah) interjections to create a cleaner transcript for you? Be specific with what you’d like to see as an end result and learn if the transcription company offers these skills.
- Superior Comprehension/Ear for Detail –This is where experience is vital. Great transcriptionists will hear discrepancies because their ears have been trained to hear and comprehend the detail. If something said later in the transcript does not jibe with what was said earlier, the best transcription companies will bring this to your attention. It’s not too much to expect.
- Specialties – Some transcription companies specialize in delivering transcripts of accented speakers, those that contain two or more speakers or transcripts requiring time code stamps. Be sure you understand areas of specialty and any price increases associated with higher-value services.
- Terminology Research – Is it important to you that your transcription company go the extra mile in researching and verifying terminology on your transcript? A transcription services provider who is on the ball will maintain a terminology list specifically for your work to ensure consistency on your future transcripts.
- Proofing Process – Ask questions about the proofing process. If your transcript is not proofed a minimum of two times, you may want to consider speaking with another potential provider. And… a response of “proofing as the transcript is typed” is not an acceptable guarantee of accuracy or consistency on your deliverable.
- Years in Business – Ask the provider how long they’ve been in business providing transcription services. Any transcription company worth its salt will be pleased to share this information with you. Longevity is significant.
- Professionalism – This does not become any less important as we move from the brick-and-mortar environment to the virtual workplace. Ask for references and examples of work if this will provide you with a better feel for the provider’s professionalism. Those who are serious about your business will gladly respond to your requests.
- Confidentiality – Work with a transcription company that provides a confidentiality clause in their service agreement. (Yes, be sure to sign an agreement.) Feel confident that the subject matter shared with your transcription company stays with your transcription company.
- Business/Industry Knowledge – This is extremely important when it comes to creating your content. A transcription company should be familiar with standard business acronyms, business leaders and business trends.
- Vested Interest in Your Success – Work with a transcription provider who wants to understand what’s important to you. Find someone who isn’t afraid to have a voice-to-voice conversation and clarify your needs. You want to work with someone who requests that level of detail because it indicates they’re interested in your success.
And finally… transcribing is more than just typing. If you have ever received transcription services support, you quickly discovered upon review of your final deliverable whether you hired a skilled service provider. Transcription is a combination of art, skill and business savvy; it’s the transformation of your raw material into a meaningful deliverable to support the success of your business. Be sure to partner with a transcription company that has experience, is pleased to answer your questions and is committed to your success.
All the best.
Lori J. Clark is the Founder and Lead Administrator of Clark VA Solutions, a virtual administrative consulting practice delivering services based on a strong, 30-year professional foundation of education, skills and experience. Clark VA Solutions serves C- and executive-level professionals and entrepreneurs with writing services, corporate/business transcription, administrative planning and brainstorming/structuring service offerings for success. See http://clarkvasolutions.com for more information.
photo by Nathan LeClair