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.

Why Transcription Is The Best Option For Market Research

Market Research

Market research, as defined by students from the Student Enterprise Programme as “the process of collecting valuable information to help you find out if there is a market for your proposed product or service.  To have a successful business you need to know what your customers want and provide them with that solution and make a profit.

The definition by Entrepreneur.com is “The process of gathering, analyzing and interpreting information about a market, about a product or service to be offered for sale in that market, and about the past, present and potential customers for the product or service; research into the characteristics, spending habits, location and needs of your business’s target market, the industry as a whole, and the particular competitors you face.”

So establishing that market research is very much needed for any budding entrepreneur or business that is considering introducing a new product or service.  By undertaking this kind of research it gives much-needed data to enable an informed decision to be made, then incorporated into the business planning process.

It highlights how your potential customers are thinking, buying behaviours and location as well as being able to observe market trends and see what your competitors are doing.

There are two types of Market Research for the desired data to be collected.  Usually, if there are statistics that already exist, primary research will identify key areas to question that will assist with the evaluation and decision-making process.

  • Primary Research
  • Secondary Research

Primary Research

After reviewing the analytics that already exists from secondary research, you can then begin compiling your own fresh primary data to analyse to meet your own unique requirements.  Gathering the figures and intelligence that you need can be carried out using questionnaires and surveys or interviews with individuals / small groups.

There are two types of Primary research, exploratory or specific.  Exploratory is more open-ended and there is no particular end result or data point, it helps you define a particular issue.  Specific is very targeted to investigate a certain area or topic, and interviews usually follow quite a structured nature when gathering information by this method.

Secondary Research

As mentioned above, secondary research studies that have already been carried out and are publically available.  Already organised into specific topics, these can include government agencies, trade associations, medical councils, or businesses in the same industry.  The good thing is this type of research can be free or low-cost, helpful when starting out with your business.services or product.

How Does Audio Transcription Benefit Market Research Interviews?

When starting a new business or you have an idea and want to build on that, funds are not necessarily readily available for investment, therefore you may decide to do the primary research yourself, rather than to outsource it to a professional independent researcher or market research company.

Conducting interviews that you have tailored to your own specific requirements can be a great way of gathering the information and data you want  You can conduct these meetings either via telephone, Internet, in person or hold a focus group meeting.

To get the best results when conducting your interviews, record them.  Do a dummy run to make sure that you can clearly hear what was spoken about in the dialogue.  You are investing your time in this fact-finding mission, the last thing you want is not to be able to review the content due to poor quality.

Then you have to get the recorded audio typed into text for your analysis when you have successfully completed all your inquiries, and although that sounds easy, replaying the interview and typing everything into Word, but have you tried typing at the same rate of the speech?  Even for the quickest of typists, if you need to keep looking at the keyboard whilst typing, your concentration will soon get lost with what was said.  Then you will need to rewind to catch what you just misheard if you’re not using a professional transcription software player.

Sounds a lot of work doesn’t it?  Hire a freelance transcriptionist, like me, outsourcing my touch typing / transcribing skills and experience as Virtuadmin, to create your transcripts from the recorded audios for your market research.

Conclusion

There are many skilled transcribers outsourcing their professional, qualified skills on Freelance websites like People Per Hour and Fivesquid.  For entrepreneurs and small businesses, they are a safe-haven to find lower-cost talent.  You are secure in the knowledge that if the work is not delivered or satisfactory you have support to assist you.  It can be a daunting prospect hiring someone directly with no security for your money, I understand that.

Getting your completed interviews transcribed by a professional will undoubtedly pay-off in the long-run.  You have the speed of the turnaround time, compared to that of which you could complete them.  And the accuracy of the content, as transcriptionists have the specific software to replay audio at their desired speed, an expenditure for the software you do not have to worry about due to hiring a freelance transcriptionist or transcription service.

If you have been convinced to use an independent contractor, either through a freelancing platform or directly, see my Infographic ‘7 Questions to Ask Your Potential Freelance Transcriptionist‘.  Some useful tips and tricks to help you get the best transcriber suited to your needs and not get scammed by potential ‘typists’ that think it’s an easy job, only to find the rate of speech is too fast for their typing skills!  This can easily result in lost revenue, something I personally, as a professional freelance transcriptionist, do not want to see happen to you.

 

 

 

 

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Audio Transcription Time Guidelines [Infographic]

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 and takes years of touch typing practice and experience to be able to turn around an hour’s audio in four.

The Infographic created by Virtuadmin I hope puts into perspective that even the most professional and quickest of touch typists cannot type at the average spoken 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:

  • Number of Speakers
  • Audio quality
  • Speech clarity
  • Is there any background noise
  • Is this an intelligent or strict verbatim transcription?
  • Is the transcript to be time-stamped?

All these affect the average turnaround time of your transcript.  Taking these things into account 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 approximate 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 a love of hearing people speak.  If you love what you do, have a passion like we do, you will want to produce the best transcript possible.  This isn’t always possible but I 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 audio transcribing and putting into text the spoken word is just not as easy as you think!

Transcription - Is it as easy as you think?
Transcription – Is it as easy as you think?

Transcription – Is It a Necessity For Your Business?

Freelance transcriber for business transcription

Do you need transcription for your business?

Yes, you do! Transcription services, freelance or provided by specialist businesses, transcription is growing in demand each and every day.

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:

  1. It gives you a permanent hard copy of what was spoken. What if the audio recording got damaged, lost or recorded over by mistake?
  2. Instant accessibility for the hearing impaired to partake and absorb the valuable information.
  3. Using a Search Engine on the Internet can only search in a text it cannot search audio at this moment in time. (I’m sure it will come as image search is already available!) Adding an accurate transcript increases your chances of your audio, video, podcast, webinar being discovered because of the extra information held within that additional transcript rather than just the title and sub-title text for details about what it is about.
  4. Having a transcript gives you a document to refer to, scribble on, copy, make notes etcetera. Instead of searching through the audio for a certain point that caught your attention you can quickly scan through the transcript instead.
  5. Provides a great resource for repurposing content to create Tweets, blog post ideas, e-books, creating online courses or writing white papers.
  6. For marketers offering online e-learning courses, a transcript can be a tremendous incentive to encourage enrollment onto your program.
  7. For a Business meeting, it clarifies actions points for the participants and employees and also gives an accurate account of who said what during the session.
  8. Hopefully, these top seven advantages of hiring a transcription service for you to add a transcript to your audio or video has convinced you of the benefits to justify the initial cost of getting your recorded audio, video or other formats transcribed.

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? 

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.

 

Why you should get your audio or video transcribed

Virtuadmin blog post why you should get your audio or video transcribed
Why You Really Should Get Your Audio or Video Transcribed

Every single audio or video that is recorded in a variety of different formats; interviews, podcasts, webinars, video’s captioned, motivational speeches, business conferences, student lectures is unqiue to the speaker and the participant/s.  Whatever is spoken you have taken enough care and organisation to record it so that you have a record of what was said.  The thing is you need it in a permanent ‘hard-copy’ of what what spoken in the form of a transcript.  Why you ask?

Well computers, hard-drives, servers, cloud based servers are wonderful things but are vulnerable to attack and your audio or video starts with you.  Whatever you have recorded was important enough for you to record it in the first place, but what happens if that audio gets corrupted and no longer playable?  You have lost that important interview, coaching call, student lecture, business tips speech or whatever audio or video that you took part in.

The new age digital world is a wonderful place but it can be hacked, viruses can be spread and all the data that was precious can be gone in an instant so why not get it transcribed?  As soon as your recording is complete you can send it to your transcriptionist straight away.  They should already have an active Dropbox account or similar like Google Drive to share the audio or video files.  The sooner they receive the audio or video the sooner they can turn it around for you and your audience, participants or clients get their copy of the transcript.

  1. There are many other advantages of getting your audio or video transcribed which I feel outweigh the expense of the initial transcription:-
  2. Permanent record should the digital copy accidentally deleted or lost.
  3. Always something to refer to, copy it as many times as you like and write all over A ‘bonus’ for participants  of your podcast, webinar, or live audience.
  4. Text to copy and paste Tweets, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and other Social Media platforms to market     and advertise your business.
  5. An accurate transcript added to a Podcast, Video, or Explainer Video will enhance your listing in Search Engine Results Pages.
  6. Excellent resource for Student revision or inclusion in dissertations.

Depending on the length of the audio or video/podcast, the amount of speakers, quality and clarity of speech will generally dictate the time to transcribe and cost.  The transcriptionist will have to take these things into consideration when pricing an audio/video for transcription etcetera.  It’s rare to get a recording that cannot be transcribed, calls in cars, conversations via skype can be challenging due to the background noise while travelling in the car can cause interference and a slow internet connection on Skype.

Before hiring the transcription service of your choice after research or recommendation it’s always helpful to forward a copy of the audio first so that you as the client and your virtual digital transcription service provider are sure that they can both fulfill the agreement of recorded audio or video speech into a text, word or other format of your choice can be met.

Hiring a professional transcriptionist like Virtuadmin may seem a little daring compared to other big companies with their fancy website and assurances but please consider this; what is the process when you visit one of these sites?  Can you speak directly to your transcriptionist and explain what little tweaks you would like from your transcript?  Can you speak about the environment in which it was recorded and the background details of why and the subject matter?  Most probably not.  You have security that they have secure servers, confidentiality agreements (we do too just ask!) and secure payment methods but once you’ve fired off your audio and paid for it what then?  Can you chase it up to inquire about the progress?  Again probably not, why?  Because most big outsourcing transcription companies and organisations break the audio’s into tiny little segments that get sent to many different transcriptionist if the audio length requires it.

This breaks it down to make it more cost effective for the business that is transcribing your audio but many transcriptionists are listening to your audio what if this audio contains sensitive information?  Is each and every transcriptionist expected to sign a confidentiality agreement (we have one in place for you) or non-disclosure agreement?  This is getting time consuming and costly before you’ve even got your transcript!

The many other benefits include accessibility for the hard of hearing, they may hear some of what what was said but having the transcript alongside the audio would ensure they they do not miss out on any important details and especially helpful for students.  Some people who are listening to your audio or watching your video, listening to your podcast rather than auditory and therefore would benefit from an accompanying transcript to get a better comprehension of what was being explained or taught.  Adding a transcript to a broadcasted podcast, video or webinar will enhance the Search Engine Page Results because by adding a transcript the search engine trawlers have a lot more information about your podcast, video or webinar rather than just a title and maybe a brief description.  With the spoken text in your niche it is by nature your transcript will be keyword rich in your subject area giving SEO bots more information to rank it higher.

To conclude the benefits of hiring a freelance transcriptionist is phenomenal and very cost effective.  If you have carried out your research well, asked the right questions before hiring your potential freelance transcriber this should far outweigh the initial expense of the transcript.  Again a freelance transcriber should be more cost efficient than bigger corporations due to the lower overheads that virtual digital transcribers have to bigger competitors.  You’ll get better accuracy, efficiency, flexibility of the format of your transcript, time-stamps, names included, intelligent or strict verbatim and probably a lot more.  More importantly virtual assistants with transcribing / audio typing skills will probably have a wide range of knowledge and experience with a higher skill-set in areas of professions and topics covered in your niche, but that is just one of the questions to ask when searching for the “right” transcriptionist to meet your requirements for your uniquely recorded audio or video.

Thanks for reading and if you can think of any other benefits to having your audio or video transcribed please do comment on the advantages for you at the end of this post, I will be sure to update it.