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?

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.

What is Audio Transcription?

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.

 

Transcription acronym by Virtuadmin