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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5 Secrets to Increase Your Typing Productivity and Speed

Type more accurately with speed
Type more accurately with speed
5 Secrets to Increase your Typing Productivity and Speed

A transcriptionist or typist is often involved in repetitive work and meeting very tight deadlines.  A typist is either looking at the text to be copy-typed or a transcriptionist listening to recorded speech and typing the text spoken.  When undertaking the transcription or typing process, there are things that you can do to help you obtain better productivity, efficiency and accuracy.

As a touch-typist and transcriptionist with over 20 years experience, to help you achieve a higher capacity in the production of transcripts or copy typing text, I will give you my top 5 secrets to increase your typing productivity and speed.

  1. 5 Secrets to Increase Your Typing Productivity and Speed
    Picture courtesy of Cornell University Ergonomics

    Before starting any work at all prepare your workstation to the correct ergonomics for your stature.  Preferably work with an ergonomic keyboard too.  This is a picture of the ideal workstation set-up to prevent any strains on your joints through repetitive typing work.

2.  Take regular and frequent breaks.  I personally like to take a break from typing or transcription every 20 minutes for 5 minutes.  Recommendations by the University of New South Wales in Australia also recommend taking breaks every 20-30 minutes, if only for 2-3 minutes.  This gives you chance to stretch, give your eyes and ears a break too.  Even after just a couple of minutes not listening to someone speak, or looking at the text to be typed, is enough to recharge and carry on more productively.

3.  If you are a transcriptionist and using specialist software, such as Express Scribe Professional, make sure everything is set-up correctly and to your specification.  Test your foot pedal is ready to use to what you are used to.  When I am transcribing I like to have it set to jump 5 seconds back for if I don’t catch what the person said the first time round.  Listen to the first few minutes of the audio and adjust the replay speed according to your typing speed and the rate of speech that is being spoken.  Check there is no background noise, if there is, some software players have ‘background noise reduction’ feature such as Express Scribe Professional.  Alternatively, if that hasn’t had an effect or has helped but not cleared the audio up completely try an online converter such as www.online-convert.com.  I have found from past experience that converting an audio can sometimes help clear any background or interference noise.  If it is not in a mp3 format I will always convert an audio into the mp3 format and then perform the background noise reduction feature again.

4.  Check with your client the purpose of the transcript.  If you are transcribing a video it may be prudent to produce the transcript in a text (.txt) file and not a word document if it is being used for closed captions.  Syncing the speech with the text is much easier.  If it is to be produced in a Word document utilise the auto-correct and find/replace if you need to perform several replacements of a word.

5.  Ask your client for the names involved in the audio or how they would like them referred to in the transcript if more than one speaker.  Before commencing also enquire as to whether there is any specialist terminology you should be aware of, and/or any websites that may help with research if you cannot quite make out the word.

So there are my five secrets to help you type more accurately and transcribe more productively.  Even taking regular breaks may seem like it is time you could be transcribing, as many transcriptionists have to work to tight deadlines.  This may feel the case, but in reality, because you have taken even just 2 minutes away from listening, you will return to your keyboard and foot pedal and type more productively because of it.  From many years experience working from work as a typist and transcriptionist, I know that frequent breaks and the correct ergonomics, preferably with an ergonomic keyboard too, are instantly going to help you be more productive and complete the work much quicker.

Please don’t hesitate to use the ‘contact me’ form if you would like to ask any questions about transcription, typing or my virtual assistant services that I can offer.

 

 

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What does a copy typist do and what is copy typing?

touch typist looks at text to be copied
What does a copy typist do?
What does a copy typist do?

The history of printing and the ability to imprint and the use of seals goes back to the early times of Mesopotamian civilisation before 3000 BCE.

After the initial printing process got developed over the ages came handwriting experts and then advancing to manually operated machines to produce printed characters onto paper.  This mechanical device was a typewriter and naturally followed the development of quick typing method, known as ‘touch typing’ by Frank Edward McGurrin in 1888.

typewriter home keys fingers
Touch typing home keys for a typist’s fingers

Typewriters increased the speed of producing documents, letters, and other important reading material at that time.  Learning to touch type meant that you could get a job and earn a living wage.  Many businesses were using these devices and required touch-typists to produce letters and documents.

 

 

Even though typewriters are no longer used in this advanced technological age, computers and word processors are now used. The good news is that doesn’t necessarily put the touch-typist out of a job.  It just means a readjustment to this new era and way of working.  A copy typist can undertake data entry, online secretarial tasks, audio and video transcription, virtual assistant and many other duties that can be performed online via the internet, our new ‘typewriting and communication’ tool of the 21st century, our modern, new age technology!

As a copy typist, what is it that I do?

As a copy typist, that is literally what I do!  Any type of English text, I copy type.  However, is it usually of non-original digital format, and can be faded or of poor quality. 

Original documents that I have been asked to transcribe into an editable text has comprised of a variety of texts.  I’ve successfully transcribed a unique dot matrix printed 250-page fictional book; religious newspaper articles that were written by E. W. Kenyon; handwritten notes for recipes and other non-digital scanned documents.

Because some out-dated texts, documents, reports, contracts, books and such like have been kept from before the computer age.  Now people are looking back on these and now wanting them to be digitalised.  Or they have found a useful document that they would like to edit but cannot do so because it is not in an editable format. 

PDF’s are a popular request to be copy-typed, simply because they can easily be converted into a Word document, but the software to carry out the process is expensive and generally it is more economical for businesses or individuals to seek the services of a freelance typist, like me, here at Virtuadmin.  I provide my typing and transcription skills through trusted and reputable freelance websites such as People Per Hour and Fiverr.  When printed or scanned documents are requested to be copied, wherever possible, I try to keep the same font, font colour, underlining, page set-up, and any other details.

It is now commonplace for businesses, entrepreneurs and individuals to seek these and other types of online freelance services as mentioned above.  Your money is protected through the website you using to hire/contract the typist, and any non-delivery enables you to get a refund.  Therefore, sometimes it is simply just more economical, quicker and easier to use them than buy software or programs that you may not be able to understand or use, let alone have a lot of use for after your initial conversion project is completed. 

What is my method of working?

A common question I frequently get asked is ‘do I manually type the text or use a text converter of some kind?’  My method is manual, every single time.  My touch typing speed is 80 to 90 words per minute (WPM).  It is actually far quicker for me to manually type any text than use a document converter that I would then have to edit.

I use Microsoft OneNote2013 to take a screenshot, view 2 pages of Microsoft word so that the document to be typed is side-by-side with the page I then type into to.  Then, simply reading the text I start typing away.  Because a touch typist does not need to look at the keyboard, only the text to be typed enables a much faster copy by the professional typist.

Tables, graphs and charts if they are included in the document and required by the client, do take more time, but I can still copy them and accompanying data and would communicate any additional time involved for this.

Am I copywriter as well?

Because the word ‘copy’ is in the title of ‘copy typist’, people often think that copy typing and ‘copywriting‘ are and can be one of the same things that freelancers undertake. No, they are not the same thing.  I am sure there are touch typists out there that benefit greatly from having touch typing skills as copywriters, but it is not the same profession. 

A copywriter is a person that writes online media content, say for a website or marketing agency.  The point of employing content or copywriters is that the written material to be persuasive to people and businesses, and create brand awareness.

As a copy typist, I receive documents and material that people literally just want to be copied, into usually a Word document, but more importantly into an editable format for them to expand and build on themselves once they have received the copy from me.

Conclusion

Most of my freelance ‘gigs’ have been for audio transcription and adding captions to videos for SEO enhancement.  It was only when I started a new gig for typing and copy text documents that I came to understand the amount of printed copy that is not digitalised.  It also amazed me how many people, not businesses, that want the services of a copy typist.  Personal notes, recipes, books, or anything else they required in a hard copy.  For me at the moment, most of the work I undertake is for copy typing and growing in demand daily. 

Luckily I enjoy my job as a typist and transcriptionist, so please look me up on People Per Hour or Fiverr and read about my conscientious service I offer.  I offer customisation for bespoke orders too, please just ask.

 

 

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5 Advantages of Outsourcing Transcription Services by Carey Suante

How businesses can benefit from outsourcing audio transcription

To outsource or not to outsource transcription services?

Many companies and individuals including law firms and real estate firms, construction firms, entrepreneurs, speakers, coaches, are choosing to outsource transcription services because they understand and realize the advantages of outsourcing.

Services like audio transcription requires huge investments if you want them in-house.  Transcription is also a niche skill set.  There are not that many people with the required skills and competence for transcription.  When you consider the wages, benefits and overhead of a dedicated transcription department  in-house it is very expensive for any company.  This is why many companies are choosing to outsource their transcription needs.

The digitalization of the recording equipment such as smartphones with voice recognition, secure online connections and a skilled freelance labour pool has made the outsourcing of transcription an attractive option for real estate firms, professional firms and law firms and other who record important meetings, telephone calls, interviews and the like.

Let’s take a look at the advantages of outsourcing transcription services to your organization.

At first glance, it would seem that opting to outsource transcription services would add cost to running your practice or decrease your company efficiencies. Not true. Advantages of outsourcing transcription services to a third party outweighs any perceived disadvantages.

5 advantages of outsourcing transcription services for your business:

1. You only pay for what you need, when you need it: Your transcription volume and requirement will fluctuate. Most companies will not need large volumes of transcription carried out on a regular basis.  This leads to transcription volume peaks and troughs. This fluctuating nature of your transcription requirement means it’s difficult to ascertain how many in-house transcriptionists you need to transcribe.  Keeping the least number of transcriptionists will mean they don’t cope in times of peak and keep enough transcriptionists to cope when your transcription volume peaks means your transcriptionists will be underused when the volume falls. So having an in-house transcription department is a bad idea.

Advantage of Outsourcing: You literally only pay for what you need as most transcription services only charge by the minute or by the line rather than the hour, and they are flexible in terms of capacity.

2. Outsourcing transcription saves money: The cost savings in outsourcing transcription instead of employing full-time transcriptionists in-house is significant. In the US a full-time secretary earns approximately $34,000 per year. Therefore, monthly expense on one full-time secretary is $2833 and this is excluding expenses on space, furniture, computer, electricity, Healthcare, insurance on this employee.  Also consider this transcriptionist will take time off for annual leave and illness, and you could be looking at savings of more than 30% of the expense by using an outsourced provider.

Advantage of Outsourcing: An outsourced transcription provider provides expertise and a specialised skill at a fraction of the cost you would need if paying for an in-house transcriptionist.

3. Access to experienced staff: Transcription is not an easy job. It requires focus and attention to detail as well as a keen ear. Using less experienced staff can result in inaccuracies and delivery delays.  Transcription expertise is a rare skill too.

Advantage of Outsourcing: Transcription companies are specialized service professionals. They are experts in transcribing audio to text. By using professionals you gain access to their skills and knowledge to give you a quality outcome. By using an outsourced transcription service, you’ll tap into a huge bank of experience for a small percentage of what you would otherwise have to pay.

4. Flexibility: Success in the your industry requires managing rapidly changing environments.  Transcription providers give you the flexibility to meet these rapidly changing conditions. The challenges for businesses include varying transcription volume, different turnaround times for different projects and cases, adding new services and departments, contraction, report format changes, etc.  These are a few of the curve balls a flexible transcription vendor can help your practice navigate.

5. Outsourcing transcription frees up time for your staff to develop other skills: Transcription is a specialized skill. Not every secretary or admin person can transcribe with accuracy and expertise. Most employees have skills that are better suited to other activities.

Advantage of Outsourcing: Outsourcing transcription means your personnel is used more efficiently and productively with minimal investment. This increases productivity and saves costs.

These are 5 advantages of outsourcing transcription that can help your business be more productive, profitable, efficient and competitive. We haven’t touched on the advantages of outsourcing transcription in terms of customisation, automation, universal access and standardisation, workflow process and branding for your business.

[This post first appeared on www.transcriptionpro.net on May 26th 2015]

*Virtuadmin would love to assist with your transcription needs.  See testimonials from very happy clients who have outsourced their transcription and typing to me.  If you would like a quote on your audio or video for transcription there is a contact form in the “contact me” section.  Have you outsourced your transcription before? If not, it’s very easy and simple, just send me a message and we can take it from there.