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10 things you need to ask your transcription vendor

audio transcriptionHave you ever walked away from a product, store, or service, baffled at the level of disappointment it brought on?

Did you wonder whether you may have had a different experience if both parties were clearer about the specifics of the service as well as expectations from deliverables before committing?

Asking the right questions can help you set the right expectations, ensure that you’re on the same page, boost project clarity, and even open up fresh perspectives.

Now, when you’re opting for a specialized language service like transcription, you need to know a lot of details about pricing and their internal processes along with other organization-specific stuff that’s seminal to your project.

Here are 10 questions you should definitely ask your transcription vendor to get the most out of your project.

1. What’s the level of transcription accuracy they can assure?

Now, if you’re wondering how to get accurate transcripts of audio files, this is the first question you should ask.

A lot of transcription companies use voice recognition software to speed up their projects at the initial stage, which often ends up compromising the accuracy level of the transcripts.

Essentially, most software-based transcripts are in the 60%-80% zone in terms of accuracy without human intervention.

Now, the correct approach to ensure at least 99% transcription accuracy is to have a hands-on, manual approach that produces accurate transcripts no matter the quality of audio.

Accurate transcripts are an asset no matter the industry.

If you’re transcribing and captioning your e-learning videos, you’re boosting the SEO of your course content and in turn expanding your user base.

As a lawyer, an accurate legal transcript can definitely speed up your case preparation process. However, an inaccurate and unclear transcript can have you chasing empty leads and turn the case on its head.

  1. Are they willing to sign an NDA?

Most professional transcription companies are happy to sign a non-disclosure agreement before they start on a project because they realize that your information may be proprietary or sensitive.

A lot of vendors even go a step further by making NDAs a compulsory part of their hiring process.

However, before you sign an NDA, ensure that both parties are on the same page with the terms proposed.  For example, for a one-time job, if you want your files deleted immediately after the transcript is delivered to you, make sure that this is included in the NDA.

Typically, most companies store this information for at least days to address any concerns you may have about the transcript.

  1. What is your typical turnaround time?

A professional transcription company can deliver accurate transcripts of audio files within a day. However, this is largely dependent on the duration of your file.

Typically, it takes about 8 times the duration of an audio file to produce an error-free transcript (so about 6-8 hours for a one-hour audio file). Moreover, if you’re a legal professional who’d like to get complicated audio files like wiretaps transcribed, the turnaround time could be higher.

So, rather than going by an “expected” turnaround time, shoot a quick mail to the client servicing department and decide on a collaborative deadline.

  1. Are their transcribers savvy with industry terms?

Transcribing vlogs or podcasts is relatively easier since industry jargon hardly comes into the picture.

However, if you’re opting for high quality medical or legal transcription services, it’s worth asking whether your transcription vendor has subject matter experts on board. This is specifically to rule out technical errors in the output that may impede further research or case building,

  1. What does their transcription workflow/process look like?

A full-proof transcription workflow should ideally involve qualified transcribers (preferably subject matter experts) in a two-stage process. The first transcriber listens to the audio (or watches the video) and produces an error-free transcript. At the next stage, another expert transcriber checks the transcript against the original audio or video before sharing it with the client.

Now, can you get accurate transcripts of audio files even when the audio quality is compromised?

Some professional companies may use intuitive AI-driven software to clear distortions or amplify the voice quality before moving on to the hands-on, two-step manual transcription process.

  1. Can they ensure complete security for your project files?

Most professional transcription companies beef up their network security and even invest in effective digital rights management (DRM) systems that not only protect your files on the servers and systems but also on cloud data sharing platforms.

At iScribed, we ensure that all your interactions with us are completely encrypted, right from payments to file sharing so your data never ends up where it shouldn’t.

  1. What does their pricing model look like?

Most vendors are happy to provide a flat per word rate for transcripts of audio or video files. However, they’re also happy to share a custom quote for your project in case you have advanced requirements like API integration or need to clean up your audio before it can be transcribed.

You can also opt for valuable add-ons like adding time stamps to your transcript or opt for a premium service that bundles all the necessary add-ons in the transcription process.

  1. What if you’re unhappy with the quality of output?

Reliable transcription companies have an effective quality management system to significantly reduce the margin of errors in the outputs.

Don’t forget to ask them in detail about their quality assessment system as well as revision process in case you need changes or are not entirely happy with your transcript.

Most professional vendors ensure they get to the root cause of client dissatisfaction to prevent recurrence of similar issues. Moreover, they may also offer free full or partial revisions depending on the issues noted.

  1. Do they offer editing and proofreading services for transcripts?

A round of editing and proofreading is usually integrated with the transcription process. This is to ensure that the transcript is coherent, accurate, as well as logically consistent.

Are you ready to kickstart your transcription project? We’d love to chat with you to get these essential queries out of the way.