How does your company select transcribers to transcribe audio files?
Our transcripts are typed out by human transcribers, picked for their facility with the accents and subject matter of the file concerned. We employ high-calibre, native English transcribers who are skilled with the nuances of the English language.

Is an audio file is split up and given to different transcribers to transcribe audio or video, or does one person do the entire transcription?
We avoid splitting audio files if possible, but sometimes the turnaround time required by the client makes this necessary. An average transcriber produces 15 minutes of transcript in one hour. So if a client requires a one-hour turnaround on 60 minutes of sound, for example, the sound file will have to be split at least four ways. If a sound file is split, we get the transcribers to communicate with each other concerning keywords, speaker names and concepts. This process is overseen by a senior member of Operations.

If the audio file split and given to different transcribers how does the company ensure that speaker A for one transcriber is the same speaker A for another transcriber?
When the transcript has been completed, the disparate sections are combined by a member of our Operations team and checked for consistency of speaker attribution, spelling, formatting and key concepts. We do, however, avoid this process whenever possible, and will even try to allocate as many sound files to a single transcriber as possible, so that their greater familiarity with a client’s work produces gradually increasing quality over time.

As we are looking to transcribe a total of thirty 35 minute audios, we would like to be able to compare the quality of the transcript by the different companies before deciding. We are hoping each company can do a sample transcript with a 3-4 minute cut of one of the 35 minute audios. Will your company be able to do that?
We happily offer a five minute free sample for clients considering us for projects of this kind, to familiarise you with our transcript lay-out and style, and to assure of our quality.

Are the transcription rates for videos of the same specifications as for audios?
If clients require us only to type what is said in the file, then video is charged at the same rate as audio. If we are required to type on-screen text, then an additional rate applies.

Please advise us on any other matters pertaining to the audio file/quality/services required based on an example of the clip.
The quality of transcript produced is directly proportionate to how clear the sound is and how much information we can provide to the transcriber. A glossary of terms used is always helpful to the transcriber, as is a list of speakers or a running order. If you have a special format you’d prefer us to use, an example of a transcript completed using this format would be very helpful indeed.

What do you do if the sound quality of an audio file is really bad? Do you charge more?
No, our rates remain the same. We do the best we can with all files that are uploaded to us.
When an audio file is uploaded to us, an Operations Manager listens through bits and pieces of the file to determine the nature of the files, accents of the speakers and quality of the sound.

Can you ‘crank up’ my sound?

If the sound is faint due to distance from recorder or heavy background sounds, we use a programme such as Audacity to boost the sound or filter out some of the background interference. This has limited results, however. It is not a guarantee that the file will be much louder or clearer.

We then allocate the difficult files to our most experienced transcribers for the turnaround you are requesting.

And again, your transcript accuracy will be commensurate with the sound quality.

NB: It is very important to realise that transcribers are working outside the context of the recording (simply put, this means that the transcriber was not present at the occasion of the recording). A client who is present at the occasion of the recording may be able to fill in some words we miss with the poor sound, as the awareness of the context will be greater.

Why do you offer free time stamps?
We include two free time stamps per transcript page to help you identify sections of the
audio with particularly bad sound where we had to note [unclears] or [inaudibles]. In
addition, we also time stamp each particular uncertain word or phrases to allow you to
specifically find that word or phrase on your audio.

What is an Independent Review?
Our Independent Review is a comprehensive analysis of a completed transcript by a trained transcript proofreader. This person will listen to the entire audio, checking the transcript for spelling, grammar, speaker attribution, keywords, and difficult-to-hear words which the transcriber has had to mark as [unclear] or [inaudible]. While we cannot guarantee a perfectly clean transcript (especially when audio quality is poor) this service does allow for a second professional to check through everything again before the transcript is returned to the client.

Why might I choose this service?
An Independent Review is recommended for critical transcripts, when accuracy is imperative, particularly if the quality of the audio is poor – with background noises obscuring the speech or speakers overtalking frequently. When our transcriber has completed the transcript, a trained transcript proofreader listens to the entire audio and does a second comprehensive check of the transcript, focusing carefully on the difficult-to-hear words.

What do you suggest for getting a recording of better sound quality?

We strongly suggest the following basic steps:

  • Use the best recording equipment available
  • Speakers should introduce themselves with a short, clear sentence
  • Speakers should let the previous speaker finish before beginning to talk
  • Select a quiet, appropriate location for the recording
  • Do not continue with a phone interview if there is distortion or interference

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