One of the key areas where the TTP business operates is the high pressure world of AGMs (Annual General Meetings) and Quarterly Results announcements. High pressure for TTP that is in that we are required to turnaround the transcription within two hours of the conclusion of the meeting. In years gone by this kind of work would be performed by an onsite stenographer. Stenographers are a dying breed of highly skilled transcriptionists who use a special transcription machine to transcribe, this machine has minimal keys to allow for real time transcriptions, not the usual QWERTY keyboard we are used to today. Stenographers are rare and expensive and in order for modern transcription businesses to keep up we have to employ some clever technology and plenty of contingency.
Most of TTPs clients AGMs and Quarterly Results announcements follow a similar pattern. Usually there are two meetings held the same day with only a short gap between the two. The Company Board will present the results in one session to journalists and in the other financial analysts, usually with a Q&A session at the end between the audience and the Board members. TTPs brief is to capture all the audio, all the questions and all the comments and produce a written transcript. These transcripts are often used for records of meetings and for company intranet sites for staff to view and read at their leisure. So how do we process the audio and turnaround transcripts so soon after the meeting has concluded?
We never transcribe onsite, we always transcribe from our Head Office which is fully equipped for our team of transcription typists and proofreaders. We have a live feed direct to the meeting over a phone line from which we capture and digitally record the event for our typist to transcribe. Sounds simple, but when you are dealing with clients such as Stockland, AMP and Coca Cola Amatil mistakes are not an option, contingency is key.
We assess all the things that can go wrong and plan around them, if they can go wrong trust me they will and always at the most crucial time. If we lose power we lose Internet and computers. If we lose the Internet, we lose the phone line (we use VoIP in the office) which essential as it is our audio feed. Our web servers could go down meaning we can’t access our secure file server for people outside the office. All these things need to be planned for and managed during a live record/transcribe meeting.
VoIP is the easiest way to record audio from a conference call. Using a SIP softphone we can record the meeting to a digital audio file. Losing the Internet would be a disaster so we have a backup 3G hotspot in the office, battery powered. We use a laptop, also battery powered, to connect to the 3G hotspot and to record a backup VoIP call. If we lose power the laptop will continue to record and the 3G hotspot will continue to be connected as they are both power independent. To take things further we also record direct from an iPhone using an Olympus TP-7 mic into a digital voice recorder, all battery powered just in case our contingency fails – you can never be too careful.
Super fast transcription turnaround can not be accomplished by a single person typing. To achieve maximum turnaround speed we utilise four or five typists. The audio from the meeting is recorded in short chunks and allocated to our transcription team, this lets them commence transcription as the meeting is still in progress. Knowing your typists is also key, careful planning will mean that they all work on a chunk of audio at the same time and none are left waiting around.
The final piece comes as the completed transcription chunks are completed. They are lined up in sequential order and allocated to one main proofreader. Utilising the one proofreader ensures a quality check that all pieces of the transcripts are consistent from terminology, correct speaker names, spelling and grammar.
Pulling together a transcript which is started as the meeting is still in progress takes a dedicated skilled team and a lot of technology. At The Transcription People we have mastered this technique which is why the blue chips prefer our service for their AGM’s and quarterly financial announcements.