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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Why Is Speed Important in Audio Transcription?

What is audio transcription?
What is audio transcription?

Transcription is one of the largest growing industries, not just in the Medical Industry but in many others.  Digital technology advancements enable pretty much anyone, from an academic requiring interview transcription for their dissertation, to Entrepreneurs and small businesses to utilize online transcription services.

Creating a transcript from recorded audio does require a special set of skills, however.  Everything from listening to the audio and listening in detail to an understanding of the language; having excellent spelling and grammar skills is important.  One of the most important skills, though, is typing, preferably touch typing.

Keep reading to learn more about why typing speed is so important in the world of transcription whether you do it full-time or part-time.

Accuracy means efficiency for your client

For anybody doing transcription from dictation or recorded audio, the job requires a fair amount of speed, accuracy, and effort to create an accurate transcript.  To make any decent amount of money this is an essential element.  Why? Because the average transcriptionist that types approximately 70-80 words per minute, will take, depending on the amount of speakers and audio quality, roughly 4-5 hours to transcribe.

That means that the ability to type quickly and accurately will improve the amount of money that you make performing an online transcription service like Virtuadmin.  Sending back an as accurate a transcript as possible means less time for them having to check and correct mistakes.  That inevitably means saving time means saving money.  Delivering an accurate transcript on time, or earlier, also then sets you apart from other service providers.

Audio Transcription and Dictation

Transcription services can typically not be just copying-typing down text from one piece of paper or screen to another.  Some of the audio transcription transcriptionists do every single day means typing exactly what you hear.

Most transcription jobs, though, are not ones where you are sitting in the same room with the person dictating, you would then be audio typing as the person dictating would be instructing you exactly where to put the punctuation.  If they are not, however, then you are indeed transcribing.

Transcriptionists work with audio where you upload the recordings and transcribe what is being said.   A transcriptionist, freelance or employed directly by a specialized transcription company, could be typing anything from market research notes to day-to-day activity logs.  This type of transcription is essential for busy professionals who need notes and thoughts in written form.

Conclusion

Anybody can require their audio or video to be transcribed into text.  It could be for a one-off call/meeting, interview, the reasons are endless.  Equally, the ability to record what you need transcribing, has, through the new technological age, the ability to just record your conversation on your mobile, tablet, and now wristwatches.

With so many choices in ways to produce audio recordings, digital online audio transcription services are growing in demand day by day.

However, although it may seem attractive to be able to work from home, working when you want, the money may not be fantastic, especially at the start.  It may not make your fortune.

If you enjoy listening and typing, that’s a good start to working in the transcription field, just be prepared to start working for low pay in the beginning, and work your way up to what could be a good wage.  Maintaining a regular constant typing speed and accuracy is important, that is what will, at the end of the day determine how much you earn for that audio hour you are charging for.

 

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? 

What best describes what kind of typist you are?

Typist's roles

Typist DifferencesDid you know that there are various kinds of typist?  No?  Okay, well neither did I even as a transcriptionist of over 20 years!  Why?  Because with the digital world and the advancements that have been made between transcribing from a microcassette to now transcribing mp3, mp4 and other audio formats, my job role has changed without me even realising it.

When I researched the subject further, that is when it became apparent that there are indeed different types of typist and the variations I am now going to explain.

Audio Typist

 An audio typist is someone who specialises in typing text from an audio source which they listen to. – Wikipedia

The source is a Dictaphone in which the person speaks into with instructions on where to pause, stop, start a new sentence or new paragraph.  Sounds easy but having done this type of audio typing in the 1990’s from a microcassette this takes a lot of getting used to but once you have mastered it, in comparison to transcription (which I will explain next) this is an easier way of learning audio typing because you do not have to determine where the grammar, new paragraphs etcetera go it is all done for you by the person dictating.

Transcriptionist

A transcriptionist is similar to an audio typist, but the audio source is more likely to be a recording of someone speaking naturally instead of a dictation. – Wikipedia

So in comparison to an audio typist where I started over 20 years ago (see my post why I love being a transcriptionist) transcription is where I am the transcriptionist listening to a person either recording say calm relaxing affirmations to music I determine where ALL the grammar should be, the paragraphs and when to insert a necessary um or ah to read correctly.  This can be easier with Interview transcription between they are a question and answer scenario.

Focus groups are a difficult area for a transcriptionist having to determine which speaker is saying what, inserting the correct grammar, paragraphing if one person has quite a bit to say. When there is more than one speaker when the speaker changes the typist starts a new line; a lot to think about when there are more than three or four speakers.

Of course along with this and being a transcriptionist the client may require the um’s and ah’s left in the actual transcript (known as strict verbatim transcription) and time-stamping for easy reference to the audio.

So although technology has made transcribing as a profession a lot easier and flexible in a much not going out to an office and using micro cassettes, you can download a mp3 or mp4 file and start transcribing immediately.  But it is actually harder now because of all the responsibility that has since now transferred to the transcriptionist; recording meetings, interviews, phone conversations has never been easier, but in certain situations, background noise can be an issue in as much it is difficult to hear what is being said.  Dictaphone dictation is usually very clear because the person recording is using specialist equipment aware that they are dictating and adjusts their voice accordingly;  the typist has specialist equipment.

That’s not to say that a transcriptionist doesn’t have specialist equipment they do, pretty much the same as what an audio typist’s equipment consists off which is a headset, foot pedal, adjustable speed control, tape counter, backspace feature, pause, search. 

A professional transcriptionist, however, will not have a micro-cassette player but professional transcribing software on a laptop or desktop that will indeed have adjustable play speed control, backspace feature used by the foot pedal so that the typist does not have to take their fingers off the keyboard and a headset to enable total clarity of what is being spoken and not hearing anything in the background within they are working in.

Medical Audio Typist/Medical Secretary

A medical audio typist usually types up clinical letters and notes from dictation of patients’ appointments, tests, operations and procedures and may work in a hospital or health centre for one or more clinician.

Another area that I have had experience in working as a medical audio typist in an outpatient department for a large health authority.  A medical secretary has other duties apart from typing dictations for out-patients appointments, test or operations.  A medical audio typist may type non-standard letters, take phone calls for the Doctor they are working for, file letters and reports, diary management, adding or removing patients from procedure lists, the list can go on depending on the department, job requirements and so on.

Medical transcription is a specialist knowledge type of transcription and can be carried out remotely in certain circumstance; outsourcing specialist types of audio transcription is becoming increasingly popular due to the cost saving and convenience.  A medical secretary would not usually work remotely and would travel to their job.

Copy Typist

A copy typist is someone who specialises in typing text from a source which they read. – Wikipedia

A copy typist and in fact any typist from the outset much know how to touch type.  The reason for this is that a touch typist does not have to look at the keyboard, they look at the document they are reading from to copy type.

I enjoy copying typing because to me it is easy, just look at writing or notes and just type away!  (I have been typing since I was young, though – see my post Why I love being a transcriptionist).

Stenographer

A stenographer usually uses a special machine to type a kind of shorthand of what was said in court. – Wikipedia

A Stenography Machine The Different Types of Typist
A Stenography Machine The Different Types of Typist

A stenographer / court reporter uses a special keyboard machine, shorthand, or voice writing equipment to produce official transcripts of what was spoken in a courtroom or official proceedings.  A court report typically works for law firms, local government, local council meetings and other official roles.

 

 

 

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Is public media ready for machine transcription? (A Socratic dialogue) — Medium

A conversation between American Public Media’s Andy Kruse and Pop Up Archive’s Peter Karman.

This is a very interesting read about the discussion of manual transcription versus automatic speech recognition.  It starts with the question of whether transcripts are needed to be added to your audio in the first place and moves on to discuss how a document produced by ASR rather than hire a professional transcriptionist or transcription company and get an accurate transcript is surely better because of the cost saving?

If SEO is to be a consideration and reason for adding a transcript then a document that is not accurate in spelling of its content is pretty useless to search engine bots where words can so easily be misspelt by SEO bots.

As a professional typist and transcriber with over 20 years experience putting recorded speech into text I will always argue the case for manual digital transcription because a professional transcription service does not need to cost the earth to get a professional transcript and for the value of the transcript and its different uses surely it’s the best investment?

If you have a minute please take a minute to read the article and please do comment on your thoughts about the value of transcripts and are they necessary?

Source: Is public media ready for machine transcription? (A Socratic dialogue) — Medium

Limitations in Interview Transcription

Limitatioins on Interview TranscriptionInterview Transcription Prone To Errors Due To Certain Limitations by Ritesh Sanghani

Interview transcription looks quite simple but in real life, it is very a complex and an intricate task. It should be noted that mainstream semi-structured and structured interviews necessitate a comprehensive transcription that needs to be accessible by the interviewee to scrutinize for respondent authentication.

Sociolinguistic research being the exception to the rule wherein the transcription needs to be understood from speech to print. It should be transformed in a manner that satisfies the interviewer and interviewee.

Interview Transcription Considerations:

Transcriptionists need to artificially augment the language for lucidity and suitability. It is significant to take note that ethics should be taken into consideration while conducting transcription validation and understanding the requirements of the respondents. There has been a lot of debate on types of interview, questionnaire design, benefits and limitations of audio recording, but the very insignificant proportion has been written about transcribing the interview.

According to Holstein and Gubrium, 1995, p.78, “If conceivable the research needs to be taken into consideration for audio or videotape interviews. The tapes can be used after for transcription for close scrutinization. There is nothing mentioned about whether the transcription of an interview from spoken to written word can be problematic.

According to Rubin and Rubin, 1995, p86, “It is very significant to note how transcription was developed and how the transcriptions were substantiated. It should also be noted that transcription should integrate pauses and other non-verbal hints of what happened. If the transcriptions are in final revised drafts of the tape recordings, you should also consider what was left out.”

Selections for the treatment and conduct of transcriptions need to be followed up but the situations under which these selections about editing and verification should be made are ignored. It is a known fact that structured interview consists of closed questions and the interviewer will finish the transcription throughout the progression of the interview. There is no need for audio recording.

For different types of interviews, a wide array of linguistic features needs to be figured out like tone, emphasis, body language, the setting and so on. It is very important to take into consideration interviewee’s comprehensions and views. Woods (1996) and Bell (1993) recommend varied methods of partial transcription where the researcher preserves comprehensive interview notes and has critical passages of the tape transcribed. According to Rubin and Rubin (1995), “It is an embarrassment when you tape for preciseness and then do not have a comprehensive transcription at the finish line.”

The Specifics of Interview Transcription:

Interview transcription can become one of the most tedious jobs that you will ever come across. It is very tough and extensive and requires a lot of concentration. Nearly around 6 hours need to be spent on each recorded hour for interview transcription. According to MCLELLAN, MACQUEEN and NEIDIG (2003), “Unsuitable and insufficient methodology of conducting transcriptions can lead to holdups in scrutinization and research conclusion, even presenting chief errors in the findings. This leads to failure in the attempts to enhance the efficacy of transcription which leads to greater delays.”

A research conducted by MEHRABIAN (1971) showcase that approximately 7 percent of information carried out by direct face-to-face communication is done through words alone and there is an approximate value of 38 percent which is integrated by vocal tones that enhance the information transmitted. But because it is very intricate to interpret symbols the procedure of transcription sometimes loses out the meeting of conducting transcripts.”

According to BAUER and GASKELL (2000), conversation analysts “We have created symbols that help in interpreting the missing pieces. There are certain symbols that have certain meaning but can be difficult to gauge and can be time-consuming but can be utilized to gather the missing pieces of information.

There Can be Different Reasons for the Interview Transcription Errors. The TWO Prominent Reasons Being Equipment Failure and Environmental Hazard.

1. Equipment Failure:

About 10% of interview transcription errors are prone to equipment failure. There are bound to be some equipment failure when you conduct interview transcription. Whether, it is the recorder or camera stopping, batteries dying, electricity going out or other issues. Hence, it is very important for transcriptionists to have a traditional backup plan of pen and pencil. To avoid this embarrassment it is important to evaluate all equipment before the interview. It is also significant to have additional batteries at your disposal and a camera or third recorder just in case if there is some problem with the recorder.

2. Environmental Hazard:

Approximately 15% of interview transcription errors occur due to environmental hazards. Background noise is one of the most deterring factors disturbing the transcriptionist. The background noise may or may not be the only thing hampering the productivity of the transcriptionist. It can also be the sensitive microphone of the camera or recorder that intensifies the sound which hampers the transcriptionist to understand the conversation.

When the equipment is turned on and off the relentless disruption also breaks the rhythm of the transcriptionist.  In order to avoid an environmental hazard, it is imperative for the transcriptionist to sit at a quiet place. It is also significant to have recorder or microphone close to record the conversation.

Oliver, Serovich, and Mason, authors of “Constraints and Opportunities with Interview Transcription: towards Reflection in Qualitative Research” (2005) claim that their differences between naturalism and denaturalize.  Naturalism is when every word uttered is transcribed in a comprehensive manner while denaturalize is when the characteristics elements of speech encompassing stutters, pauses, nonverbal, and involuntary vocalizations are eradicated.

There is no fixed pattern of conducting interview transcription.  Sometimes transcriptionists utilize a combination of both these methods.

This article was originally posted on http://www.hitechbpo.com/ August 12th, 2014

Image Credit: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/files/2010/08/Microphone.jpg

 

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