The process of doing transcription can seem deceptively easy. A decent set of headphones and the right software, you just listen to the words said and put them down on the computer screen as quickly and accurately as possible.
If your client wants a verbatim transcription then you document everything that is being said exactly as you hear it. That includes every pause, cough, sneeze, and repetition that is put down on the page.
This perception of transcription can make vendors search and price negotiate portions of a project frustrating. Clients that are faced with impending deadlines want the most accurate transcript with the quickest turnaround time and at the lowest price.
When a professional transcription service begins to ask more detailed questions, and those questions are then dismissed as attempts to ‘up-sell’ the cost of the transcription project or to add additional cost onto the service that isn’t needed.
You Deserve to be Heard, But Are You Listening?
Freelance transcriptionists are often more interested in maximizing their short-term monthly income than building long-term client relations, will often follow the client’s instructions exactly.
A professional transcription service will have a different approach. This means they risk antagonizing a client that is simply focused on the approaching deadline. They will ask for more information. This is done not to ‘up-sell’ but to rather make sure the client received the best and most accurate end product that will please their client and keep them coming back in the future.
If the transcript requested is for a written summary of a conference presentation, then a verbatim version would better suit the client’s needs. The impact on turnaround time or cost doesn’t change. The end products are just a better fit for the client. Only a professional transcriptionist service that is committed to that outcome will take the time to ask the question
Court and Legal Transcription: Expertise & Experience
A professional transcription service should encourage you to ask all the questions you need to feel confident that the project will be completed successfully. Transparency about relevant expertise and experience is critical. The specific answer rather than just generic assumptions as to how much legal transcription the freelancer has done is a positive sign.
References and testimonials should be equally specific and offer you the necessary reassurance that the transcription services will speak your language, understands your requirements, and can be counted on to deliver an accurate transcript.
The Humility of Quality Control
Solo transcriptionists will often emphasize the speed at which a project can be turned around. A professional service would prefer to have a second pair of eyes to review the work and double-check every element of the document.
Familiarity blindness can happen and is a challenge when you are looking for accuracy. This happens when you get immersed in a document for an extended amount of time. A professional service understands and recognizes this, which is why there is value in a separate quality control checking system to minimize errors.
Finding a professional transcription service can take a little time and will require a more detailed and collaborative approach. The investment is rewarded with a quality and accurate transcription that hopefully exceeds your expectations.