What does a transcriber do and what is audio transcription?

Outsource freelance transcriptionist

Recording interviews, conversations, meetings and such like is easier now than it ever has been.  Technology has advanced so far where now we can 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.

Foot pedal for audio or video transcription
Transcriber’s Best Friend the Foot Pedal

Producing a document or transcript can be very time-consuming, even for the quickest of typists, without specialist transcribing software and a foot pedal to avoid taking your hands off the keyboard, rewinding even for a few second to replay can be difficult and frustrating.

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.

The Transcriber’s Role

“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.  Technology and the fact it isn’t taught anymore 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 insert the appropriate grammar for you, as a matter of course during typing.  This is certainly something here at Virtuadmin that I do for clients; it is a natural thing to do.  Without it, I cannot read if the transcript makes sense or not.

How long does transcription take?

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 hours 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 talking, no matter how fast they are.  People generally speak 4-5 times faster than what an experienced transcriber can type. 

How to hire a professional transcriber?

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 as service providers; they are specialist businesses that only provide the transcription.  The 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 a self-service type website, you upload your audio and either pay a deposit of invoice after the audio or video has been completed.

Another option is to contact 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 contact directly, saving yourself time and money from not using a 3rd party freelance website like People per Hour, for example, there are some questions you can ask them as tips as to how professional and experienced they are.  Someone may think they can type quickly, but listening to an interview, for example, can be very tricky to rewind a few seconds without a foot pedal and professional transcribing software, like NCH Software, something Virtuadmin has had for many years.  (When I downloaded the free version you couldn’t use a foot pedal with the software, you had to purchase the professional version!)

What rates do transcriptionists charge?

For audio transcription by an experienced transcriber, you would usually pay by the recorded audio minute.  The rates vary from company to company or transcribe to transcribe.  But, charging in this way helps you know the cost from the outset.  Here at Virtuadmin for example, my rate starts at 60p per audio minute for a single speaker audio that is of very good quality.  It is 70p per audio minute for a 2-speaker clear clarity recording.

It is usual for a speech-to-text service, either company or freelancer to add on per minute, 30-minutes or per hour for audios that contain background noise, or the speech clarity is difficult to hear, for example.  For these types of audio to be transcribed the transcriptionist must first get the audio to a quality that is suitable listening volume.  This can take sometimes a few hours for this, so don’t think if you have a difficult audio that they are just looking to increase the cost, it is genuinely time-consuming to repair a recording to suitable levels for a transcript.

Conclusion

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 necessary within the transcript.  A transcriber will touch type between 50-80 words per minute (WPM) and 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 the transcriptionists.  It is more usual for a professional freelance transcriptionist to be more affordable due to their fewer overheads.

Dealing with a transcription company you don’t always get the direct communication or personalisation as with using a freelancer.  An independent transcriber, either working with them directly or through a freelancing website and working with them, you can expect more flexibility. 

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.

How To Increase Your Video SEO The Affordable Way

Video Marketing SEO The Affordable Way

With social video and video marketing becoming one of the most powerful ways to engage your audience, the digital landscape has changed dramatically over the last 10 years. 

Digitalisation and technology have become less expensive than it once was.  In today’s digital world you don’t necessarily need to contract a professional video producer.  Today’s modern technology allows you very simply to create a marketing video yourself, upload it to a video hosting platform like YouTube or Vimeo to name just a couple, plan your marketing strategy and off you go.

Marketers, Entrepreneurs, businesses, anybody making a video with the intention of marketing their brand, service or product to an audience, it is 100% essential to create and upload an accurate transcript for enhanced SEO and accessibility for the hearing impaired.  Something else Google will think highly of your video for.

In a recent post by leading marketing agency Marketo, last month published a post on essential SEO tips for videos.  Number 1 recommendation on their list of ‘5 SEO Tips for Videos‘ was “Transcribe Your Video Content”.

Nate the author of the post explains “providing both a video and transcription on a single page offers dual benefits: it caters to different reader preferences, and it makes video content more likely to appear in general Google searches.”  He goes on to say “full transcripts provide more engagement SEO opportunities“.

By adding an accurate text document, either a full transcription or providing text highlights (as described in the article on the Marketo blog), the transcript will create closed captions (subtitles).  Search engine crawler bots cannot see visual images or hear the speech, they rely solely on the readable text.

Unless you add an additional transcript bots only have the information you input in the title, subtitle, description in the metadata.  That is until you upload your video transcript to the hosting platform of your choice.

Automatic captions are not indexed

Yes, the video hosting platform will most probably automatically create subtitles/captions, however, Google (and other search engines) do not index them, which they do need to be to appear in search engine results pages. Closed captions (subtitles) ‘auto-captions’ are not considered accurate enough to rely on for indexing purposes.

So if your video doesn’t get crawled and indexed, your ranking will not be that great.  This is because there is so little information about the content.  The only source of information that they can reliably use is the basic title, subtitle, content of the video within meta tags.

If search engine crawlers cannot index your marketing video, for example, it will not get found, this is not the desired result.  It is also an issue that you do not need when it’s for business or entrepreneurial intentions.

Why add a transcript?

Adding an external transcript of the speech content is a huge asset, it enables search engine bots to read the text and:-

  1.  Find your page, crawl it and know the content is good quality content
  2.  Index it accurately accordingly
  3.  Keywords tied to your niche subject area are naturally spoken and will occur regularly within the transcript

Here are a few statistics to help you understand exactly how popular video marketing has become in recent years.  Courtesy of Buffer, from their comprehensive post of ‘50 Video Marketing Statistics to Help You Create a Winning Social Media Strategy in 2017‘ states “Captions on Facebook video ads increase video view time by an average of 12%.

If that is on Facebook Ads alone, what would it do for your video marketing efforts by adding a transcript; how much extra view time would that generate for your product or service?

Case Study (3playmedia.com)

Digital Discovery Networks performed a study that proves captions on YouTube videos boost SEO and increase views by 13.48% in the first 2 weeks and 7.32% overall. To test this, they searched for a keyword phrase that was present only in their video captions, not in the title, description, tags, or metadata.

Video transcription does not have to be expensive

Ultimately adding a captions file in the form of a transcript is the right way to increase your video ranking in SERPs (search engine results pages) increasing customer views, there are few ways you can do this.

  •  Create the text document yourself
  •  Outsource to a video captioning service (expensive)
  •  Outsource to a freelance transcriptionist (affordably)

Creating the text document yourself

If you are fairly quick at typing this can be the most economical option for you, it won’t cost you anything!  However, there are factors such as the length of the video, how man speakers, when you ideally would like it to be completed for, that determine if you can indeed produce the captions file quick enough.

Also, without transcribing software and a transcribing foot pedal, it is not so easy to go back and replay a couple of seconds to replay what was said if you missed it the first time.  This can eventually lead to frustration and time delays, something you do not need or want.

Outsource to a transcription/video captioning service

With the growing popularity of video marketing, so has the demand for video transcription.  With higher demand comes higher costs and no shortage of online digital transcription vendors specifically available to transcribe the speech from the spoken content within your video.

Unfortunately, however, these providers do have overheads if their staff are on-site office based.  If this is not the case, they operate purely via the internet, they still have overheads to take in consideration that they obviously need to factor into their fees when contracting out their specialist services.

This can be expensive and unaffordable, especially if you are a start-up, solopreneur/entrepreneur, self-employed and working from home, that are just a few examples.  You are trying to obtain the best professional service with the outcome of an accurate transcript with the least expenditure.

Outsource to a freelance transcriptionist

This is ‘How To Increase Your Video SEO The Affordable Way’.

There are some excellent freelancing websites out there today full of talented people waiting to provide their professional services at a fraction of the cost, transcription and video captioning is no different.  It is ultimately a risk-free way to get your video transcribed into text that you can then go on to use as a captions file.

How is it risk-free?  If you order the service of a transcriber via a freelance website you will deposit funds for their services into a holding account, such as Escrow, for example.  When the work is completed, delivered and you are happy, you pay them the funds.  If the worst happened and the transcript wasn’t delivered to you or it was totally unsatisfactory and not fit for its purpose, then it is simple to either hire someone else or ask for a refund.

Finding the right freelance transcriptionist can be time-consuming, invaluable when you find one.  As a freelance typist/transcriptionist here at Virtuadmin, over 20 years experience transcribing audio and video, a video up to 15 minutes in length, with a single speaker, would cost just £10 to transcribe and send in a text (.txt) file format.  This is how affordable video SEO can be. 

Other formats for closed caption files are available, however, from experience in captioning and uploading text (.txt) files to YouTube, I know this format works extremely well at automatically syncing the speech with the text.

Conclusion

If you are or planning to use video as a promotional tool for your brand, product or service, how is your video going to be found amongst the millions without a transcript? 

The only way to be sure of optimising your video for SEO the affordable way is either type it yourself into a text document or outsource to an experienced transcriber, like me at Virtuadmin, with the relevant equipment to deliver exactly what you need.

Transcripts are a great investment too, especially from a marketing perspective.  Once you have your document there are other alternatives ways to utilise it.  See my infographic ‘9 Ways to Use Your Audio Transcript’ for other instances to capitalise on your investment of a transcript.

Have you got any questions about video captions for SEO?  Please do not hesitate to get in touch, I would be happy to answer queries you may have.

 

 

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How to Save Valuable Time When Looking For a Transcriber

How to save time for your audio transcription
Save Time when you need a transcriber

Do you regularly use freelance portals like People Per Hour, Fivesquid and Fiverr to name a few of the platforms out there, to economically outsource your audio or video transcription requirements? Then read on there is important information inside!

As a freelancer offering very reasonably priced professional typing and transcription services, I visit daily the freelance platforms that I have active profiles on to search for assignments with potential clients that I can assist with in their typing or transcription projects.

It takes up a lot of my time, but frequently time after time that frustrates the hell out of me, to be honest, is the fact that businesses, entrepreneurs, students, or anyone that requires outsourcing to a transcription service, fail to put four important things that matter most to a transcriptionist: –

  1. Audio quality
  2. Number of speakers
  3. Length of the Audio
  4. Turnaround time/deadline

Quite often people needing audio or video transcribed are under the impression that touch typists can type at the rate of speech, and therefore as an example, a 20-minute audio recording would take a professionally trained transcriptionist, like me, 20 minutes to transcribe into text.  This is in fact not the case, please see my post and Infographic Audio Transcription Time Guidelines for more insight on this.

What Is Not Helpful

This is a typical example that I see day after day when people are advertising to get their audios or videos transcribed into text.

Time saving tips when advertising for a transcription service

This example is better than some, it describes the length of the audio which is a good start, the format they would like the transcript in, which is generally Word anyway unless the transcript it being used for video captioning.

But, this example does not state how many speakers the audio contains, or the quality of the audio.  These two factors will determine combined with the other two points highlighted above, the time it will take to listen and type the recorded speech into text.  There are other factors also, for instance, if it is a two-speaker audio is there a lot of cross-talking?  Are there any additional requirements within the transcript required, time-stamping for example.

Advice on Best Practices

When advertising for a transcription service vendor, or freelance transcriptionist, it is always best practice to give as much information as possible about the audio.  To get the best transcriber for the job, it would be very helpful attach a sample, or the audio itself, but this isn’t always possible for confidentiality reasons.

By doing this it saves the transcription provider time from having to contact you asking these basic transcription questions that they need to ascertain whether they wish to submit a proposal for the work or not.  Advertising the basic details, audio quality, the number of speakers, length and desired deadline, transcription service providers know what they are applying for.

You, as the contractor of transcription services then do not get delayed with your transcription, especially important when you have a deadline to meet.  It will prevent your service provider telling you they cannot fulfil their part of the agreement because of incorrect or missing details about your specifications.  It saves time for both parties concerned and speeds up the whole process with the transcriptionist having a clear understanding of the audio content from the outset.

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