Digital Audio Transcription & Typing Services
Recording interviews, conversations, meetings and such like is easier now than it ever has been. Technology has advanced so far we can now record on our smartphones at the touch of a button.
Using modern technology in this way, as a back-up for detail discussed in a meeting, for example, or interviewing someone for academic study or a journalist interview. Most of these recordings are made with the intention of converting them into text, and this is what’s known as audio transcription. Audio and Video Transcription is the skilled art and process of converting recorded speech into written documents, commonly called transcripts.
Producing a document or transcript can be very time-consuming. Even for the quickest of typists, without specialist transcribing software and a foot pedal (see left picture) to avoid taking your hands off the keyboard, rewinding even for a few seconds to replay what was spoken can be difficult and frustrating when using the keyboard.
This is where outsourcing your recorded audio or video to a general transcriptionist (depending on the subject area) can be very beneficial. The time it saves you, against the cost of a freelance transcriptionist will be to your benefit. You will, in an agreed time, receive an accurate transcript that has been transcribed manually, directly from your recording.
“A transcriber is someone who writes down what someone else is saying.”
Initially, a transcriber was a person that wrote things down in shorthand, but this art is dying out. Technological advancements combined with the fact it isn’t taught any more means, unfortunately, this art of note-taking is no-longer used.
Instead, recordings made on your laptop or tablet, for example, can then immediately be uploaded to your transcriptionist, via email or a sharing application like DropBox or Google Drive. They then download the audio, upload to their professional software player and begin to type what they hear in the speech content into a transcript for you.
As part of the transcriber’s role, unlike years ago where commas, full-stops and new paragraphs were dictated, in today’s advanced world, an experienced transcriber will be required to insert the appropriate grammar for you, as a matter of course during typing. This is certainly something here at Virtuadmin that we do for clients; it is a natural thing to do as a native English-speaking transcriber. Without it, I cannot read if the transcript makes sense or not.
A professional touch typist should be able to type in the region of 75 words per minute. At this speed, the industry-standard states a minimum of 4-5 hours to transcribe 1 hour of recorded audio or video. However, there are other factors that the client and transcriptionist need to consider regarding the audio for transcription. They are:-
– The speed at which the participants of the audio are talking
– The number of participants in the audio talking (cross talking)
– The clarity of the recording (background noise, phone interview, interference)
– The speech clarity of the participating speakers (accents, speaking English as a second language, mumbling, no close enough to the microphone)
These are the variables that will add time to transcribing an hour’s recorded audio. It is difficult to say how much time should be allowed for these variables, so it is worth keeping in mind that a professional transcriptionist cannot type at the same rate as the average person is talking, no matter how fast they are. People generally speak 4-5 times faster than what an experienced transcriber can type. For more information see our Infographic “Audio Transcription Guidelines” that illustrates the times quoted to help you understand audio transcription transcribing times.
Professional transcribers can commonly be found on freelance websites, People Per Hour, Fivesquid, UpWork, are examples of these. Using these types of websites gives you the ability to see the service provider’s feedback, as well as protecting your money against a poor job, or no delivery at all.
There are transcription companies that are solely a transcription service provider, these are specialist businesses that only provide audio or video transcription. They employ teams of transcribers, either remotely on in-house. (You don’t get the same direct contact with your transcriptionist as compared to using a freelancer.) These are self-service type websites, you upload your audio and either pay a deposit of invoice after the audio or video has been completed.
Another option is to contract a professional transcriber directly. Search on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram to mention a few social networks as a source to find a transcriptionist. Search by a hashtag #transcriber or #transcriptionist and up will pop the latest tweets, on Twitter for example.
If you choose to contract directly, saving yourself time and money by not using a 3rd party freelance website like People per Hour, for example, there are some questions you can ask them as tips for you to ascertain how professional and experienced they are. Someone may think they can type quickly, listen to an interview and type what is being said, for example. However, this method can be very tricky to rewind even for just a few seconds without a foot pedal and professional transcribing software, like NCH Software, something Virtuadmin has been using for many years.
For audio transcription by an experienced transcriber, you would usually pay by the recorded audio minute. The rates vary from company to company or transcriber to transcriber. But, charging in this way helps you know the cost from the outset of hiring your transcriber. The rate for Virtuadmin, for example, rates start at 60p per audio minute for a single-speaker audio that is of clear audio quality. It is 70p per audio minute for 2-speaker audios with a good clear clarity recording.
It is usual for a speech-to-text service, either company or freelancer to add on a per-minute basis, 30-minutes or per hour for example, for poorer quality audios that contain background noise, or the speech is difficult to hear, for example. For these types of audio to be transcribed the transcriptionist must first convert the audio into a quality that is suitable listening quality. This can take sometimes a few hours for this, so don’t think if you have challenging audio that the transcriptionists are just looking to increase the cost to get more money, it is genuinely time-consuming to repair a poor audio recording to a suitable level for transcription purposes.
A transcriber is a professional touch typist that listens to recorded speech and types what they hear. A professional will insert the necessary grammar, and intelligently paragraph where applicable within the transcript. A transcriber that can touch type between 50-80 words per minute (WPM) would usually take 4-5 hours to transcribe one hour of recorded audio, as an approximate guide.
A transcription company that hires typists either remotely or in-house will probably have a higher fee, due to their overheads and profit before paying their transcriptionists. It is more common for a professional freelance transcriptionist to be more affordable due to their fewer overheads.
Hiring a transcription company you won’t get the direct communication or personalisation you might want. There is more flexibility with an independent transcriber. Contracting direct or via a freelancing website to work with them, you can expect more flexibility and communication. With Virtuadmin we definitely provide you with that. Flexibility, it is your transcript, you have it your way. From the font, font size and format, it is your choice. Communication, we always update you at every stage of the process. From the successful download of your audio file to confirming where we are in the process.
Most freelance transcribers will accommodate a template if you have one, or use their own if you don’t. If there is noise interference, you can discuss with them. For another example, let’s say you only wanted a certain part of the audio transcribed, or a certain part time-stamped for ease of reference.
Using a freelance transcription service, like Virtuadmin for example, is the quickest and most affordable way to go. Work is usually turned around as soon as it is received, therefore, approaching a freelancer offering a transcription service, they are most likely in a position to start it immediately, rather than wait in a queue for one to become available with a transcription service company.
Most college and university students who use closed captions and transcripts on video and multimedia find them helpful as a learning tool, despite them not regularly being made available, according to new research from Oregon State University.
One of the first surveys of its type, of 2,124 students across 15 public and private universities nationwide, found that 98.6 percent of students say captions are helpful, with 75 percent of them noting that they use captions as a learning aid in face-to-face and online classrooms. For video transcripts, students referenced the tool as a learning aid 85 percent of the time.
More than half of students surveyed said captions help by improving comprehension. The most common reasons students use captions are to help them focus, retain information and overcome the poor audio quality of the videos, while transcripts are often used as study guides and to find and retain information.
The national study, conducted by the Oregon State University Ecampus Research Unit in collaboration with 3Play Media, also shows that among the students surveyed, only 13 percent had registered with an office of disability services and less than 12 percent require academic accommodations. Of all respondents, 19 percent cited having difficulty with hearing and 37 percent have difficulty with vision.
"Many people associate the use of closed captions and transcripts only with disability accommodation, and that can mean they are not made widely available," said Katie Linder, director of the Oregon State University Ecampus Research Unit and author of the study. "One hope for this study was to help educate university administrators about how a range of students are using these tools, and that making them more available could help more learners."
According to Linder, closed captions and transcripts are now a legal obligation for universities that receive federal funding when they create videos for courses and for institutional purposes, to ensure that students with disabilities have equal access.
"Despite this, many institutions do not understand the legal obligation, or they only associate these tools with disability accommodation and do not consider how they could be helpful to all students," Linder said.
The study found that almost 100 percent of survey respondents had at least one course, either face-to-face or online, that included some video content. However, more than one-quarter of respondents were unsure about the availability of closed captions and almost one in five were not sure about the availability of transcripts of the videos in their courses.
"Not only is captioning often necessary for accessibility compliance, but, as the study shows, 75 percent of students use captions as a learning aid to improve their focus, retention, engagement, and comprehension when watching videos for class," said Lily Bond, director of marketing at 3Play Media, a company that provides closed captioning, transcription and subtitling solutions.
"As the use of video in higher education becomes more commonplace, making captions and transcripts more widely available should be a priority for institutions."
The survey was voluntary, conducted online and contained 46 questions. All study participants were college and university undergraduate and graduate students, mainly undergraduate, over the age of 18, and the majority of them came from the public, four-year institutions.
"In many ways, this study is just scratching the surface of what we know about how students use and perceive closed captions and transcripts in the college and university classroom," Linder said. "Additional research related to student use and perceptions of closed captions and transcripts is welcomed and encouraged."
A summary of the findings is available online at http://bit.ly/2eKmswJ, as well as a downloadable version of the full report.
* This report first appeared on http://phys.org/news on the 1st November 2016.
** Header image designed by Virtuadmin
If you have never outsourced your recorded audio or video to a transcription service or hired a freelance transcriptionist before, this Infographic should be of some help.
Many people think they can type and it’s easy to listen and type what is being spoken, take it from a freelance professional transcriptionist, it’s not. Transcriptionists also have to insert the correct grammar and spelling at the same time as intelligently paragraphing and making sure everything reads sensibly.
Equally, anybody that thinks they can type and that it’s going to be easy to earn extra money transcribing, either directly with clients or via freelancing websites, is probably going to end up costing their client requiring the audio or video transcription, time and money.
For entrepreneurs or small businesses, for example, that are on a tight budget, hiring a freelancer can be very attractive due to the economical costs. Established transcription services have websites with reviews from satisfied clients you have used their services. These services can be expensive and not so easily affordable for entrepreneurs or small businesses.
Established transcription services have websites with their reviews from satisfied clients you have used their services. These services can be expensive and not so easily affordable.
Freelancing to a professional freelancer can help you cut costs and retain the quality that you need and expect from your transcript. By outsourcing your transcription requirements to a freelance transcriptionist, that is professional touch typist with experience in listening and typing and what is spoken, hopefully not someone that is trying to scam you.
To guide you through your journey of outsourcing your recorded audio, video, podcast or webinar for transcription, I have created this infographic to help you find the best freelance transcriptionist, for a budget you can afford.
I am a freelance transcriber outsourcing my skills and 20 years of experience, that also helped me create this infographic.
With the advancement of digital technology, audio and video transcription has grown in demand significantly. If you need a transcriptionist that is reliable, fast and accurate then please do not hesitate to contact me.
When people ask what I do and I reply a Transcriptionist their face goes blank for a second. I then explain that I produce transcripts from recorded audio, video, podcasts or webinars. Ah, typing people think, typing what people are saying yes that’s easy once you can type. Contrary to popular belief audio transcription is a skill that takes years of touch typing repetition and experience to be able to turn around an hour’s audio in four.
The Infographic created by us, Virtuadmin, I hope puts into perspective that even the most professional and quickest of touch typists cannot type at the average speech rate. I have used 15 minutes of recorded audio for simplicity but hope that it illustrates that typing at the spoken word rate is virtually impossible.
There are also other factors to be taken into consideration:
All these affect the average turnaround time of your text document. Keeping these things in my when hiring a transcription service will help you understand the complexities of what goes into producing an accurate transcript.
To conclude that with just one speaker, with good audio quality professional transcriptionist that types 80 words per minute (that’s fast but that’s our average typing speed) would take approximately 30 minutes to transcribe and a professional that types 50 words per minute would take 45 minutes. That therefore on these statistics would mean than an hour’s audio that was just one speaker and straight forward intelligent paragraphing would take the professional 4 hours. For 2 speakers because each time a speaker changes a new line is started, therefore that takes extra time.
Audio transcription is a skill, you must love typing and love hearing people speak. If you love what you do, have a passion as we do, you will want to produce the best transcript possible. This isn’t always possible but transcriptions produced by Virtuadmin always aim to never insert an “inaudible”. Again, that is time-consuming replaying a part of the audio that you just cannot hear. You’ll probably get it in the end, but that’s another 5 minutes or so added to the completion time.
Hope the Infographic helps put things in perspective for the time taken when audio transcribing, typing into text the spoken word is just not as easy or quick as you think!
Advancements in technology mean quicker and faster, more capabilities and devices and so on, digital technology grows in cyberspace. This provides more opportunities for the transcriptionist to provide digital transcription services remotely at competitive cheaper costs.
Transcribing is a niche skill-set that is not really spoken about but such a vital expertise that requires a lot of training, fast typing, and typing experience. Digital technology advancements are now enabling virtually anything to be recorded and if narration or natural occurring speech is within that recording then it should be transcribed.
Entrepreneurs, Business Coaches, Bloggers, Marketing Experts and much more are all utilising transcription services for the benefit of their businesses. They record podcasts, videos, webinars and video blogs for clients and readers. They hold teleconferences, teleseminars and business meetings for accuracy and productivity. Eighty-eight percent of businesses say that video is an important part of their marketing strategy; all should be accompanied by a transcript.
Here are the top 7 advantages of a transcript:
Virtuadmin offers a professional and secure quality low-cost transcription service; it is my passion to provide you with the most accurate transcript possible. With over 20 years experience audio typing, transcribing and video captioning Virtuadmin are flexible and would love to work with you, either for either a one-off transcription or on a long-term collaboration.
If you would like to make an inquiry or get a free quote, there is a contact form in the ‘Contact Me’ section of my website and would be pleased to assist you. All audios and videos are secure with Virtuadmin with the latest firewall protection systems for enhanced security. Why not let me give you a quote?
Transcribing is the art of listening to audio and converting the spoken word into a written, readable form. Sounds easy right?
Just listen and type. Not true.
One who transcribes has worked hard to gain the skills and experience necessary to perform this task. An audio file (MP3, WAV, DSS etcetera), which let’s say is 15 minutes in length, can easily take an hour or more to transcribe.
The transcriptionist doesn’t necessarily have to be fast at typing (it helps, though!) but must have expert listening, spelling, and grammatical skills.
Listening skills mean you understand:
• More than one speaker
• Heavy accents
• Coughs, stutters, uhs,uhms (known as verbatim)
• What the speaker is saying (accurately typing technical terms)
Grammatical skills you have:
• Excellent spelling
• Can differentiate between English and American English spelling
• Excellent grammar
• Know how to paragraph the content
As well as the above, if your client doesn't provide you with a template to transcribe directly into, then you need to know how to set-up your Word (or the format you are using) document page correctly.
To help you understand and remember what audio transcription is, I have designed an Infographic. It was created and designed by me, the writer, 3 years ago. It has now had a revamp in style to be 'up-to-date' but the content is the same.