Two of the best known advantages of outsourcing transcription are to save time and money. However, to fully achieve these benefits, the relationship between the client and the transcription provider must be a partnership. Working together in a collaborative and honest manner builds trust and enhances the transcription process. At TTP we’ve brainstormed a few of the most important things you can do to help us help you – in other words, to ensure a smooth and efficient transcription experience:
1. Create a good quality audio recording
It’s important to produce a sound recording that is sharp, with minimal background noise, and to ensure that your recording device is sufficiently close to the sound source to capture it clearly and loudly. It also helps if you and your participants are speaking as clearly and slowly as possible to allow for optimal, accurate transcription.
2. Be sure that your recording is in a readily usable format
TTP can generally transcribe any file types. However most compatible for transcription software are: .mp3, .mp4, .wma and .wav (note: .wav files can be extremely large and affect the upload/download speed).
Please ensure that your audio recording is in a non-proprietary (unencoded) format so that users of software such as Express Scribe can easily transcribe it.
3. Provide accurate information about speakers
Providing your speakers’ names and a short description about their accents or any idiosyncrasies could help the transcriptionist identify them more quickly and easily on the recording. This helps them to do the very best job they can, in a shorter time frame. A few minutes’ expenditure on your behalf facilitates a quicker document return with potentially fewer gaps (time-stamps) for non-interpreted terms!
4. Be honest about your audio
On rare occasions clients have been known to stretch the truth a little, claiming that their recordings are good quality, despite significant background noise and patchy volume. A handful of clients have also claimed that there were fewer speakers in the recording than were apparent upon playback. Fortunately this doesn’t happen very often, but it is a serious issue as poor quality audio and multiple speakers add time and cost to the process. This is why it’s important to realise that transcription is a two-way street: just as clients have the right to expect honesty and transparency from TTP, we ask for the same in return.
5. Be realistic in your expectations
It is also helpful for clients to be realistic in their expectations about a long, complicated, or poor-quality sound file. In these cases the transcription time can be extended and there may be a higher cost for completion. Such files are also more likely to contain a larger number of time-stamps where words have not been able to be interpreted or speakers cannot be distinguished from one another – particularly during short utterances, with very similar voices, background noise, or more than one person speaking at a time.
In summary, there are many factors that influence the time and ease by which transcription occurs, beginning with the fundamentals of a good-quality sound recording that is in an unencrypted format, sufficient information about speakers, realistic expectations, and on-time payment of invoices. The most accurate and efficient transcriptions are created collaboratively between TTP and their clients, in an environment characterised by honesty, integrity, good-quality audio and great communication!