How to select the best transcription services

03/07/2013 | Hayley

In an increasingly hectic world, more professionals are choosing to outsource transcription in order to free up their own time to focus on more pressing matters. However, selecting a transcription service provider is a decision that requires careful thought.

Tech Reviews notes that finding the best transcription service for a buyer’s needs, whether they are a market researcher, doctor, lawyer or manager, may seem a “difficult task, but it doesn’t have to be”. Providing the buyer keeps certain things in mind while they are researching companies, they will end up with a typing service they can rely on. Best of all, they can safely return to this business again and again.

Jack Solomon, writing for the reviews site, lists some of the main things to look out for.

Word of mouth

Digital communication means it has never been easier for professionals to outsource business services. As well as these services were more readily available, they are also more popular than ever before. By outsourcing things like transcription and translation, employees don’t have to use up their own valuable time on these tasks. They can also free up resources by paying for the services as and when they require them, rather than employing someone full-time to do the job.

When there are so many dictation providers to choose from and their location is not a deciding factor – as digital communication means businesses can outsource these services to anywhere in the world – choosing one can seem tricky. That’s why companies should listen to word of mouth.

Many service providers have social media pages, which are a great source of information and a good place to see recommendations. Speaking with colleagues is another good way to get a recommendation of a transcription firm that they feel has delivered good results in the past.

Security and confidentiality

A buyer’s major concern when sending off files to be transcribed is likely to be security. Files might contain sensitive medical information, confidential market research data or a legal client’s private details. Keeping this information safe is a major priority.

Customers should check that the service provider complies with the Data Protection Act. This includes providing a secure method of file delivery and storage and ensuring that all typists sign a confidentiality agreement. These steps provide the peace of mind that files and the content stored on them will be in safe hands.

“Ensuring that the transcription service you choose will go out of their way to protect your data is extremely important,” Mr Solomon explains.

Tailored service

No one transcription job is the same as the next, and for that reason looking for a service provider that offers tailored quotes is advisable. Buyers all have different requirements, be it that they need a verbatim transcription or an intelligent one. They may have a tight deadline, or they might want to set up an ongoing contract so they can send in files as soon as they have them.

An experienced typing service will tailor their product and quote to the needs of the client. They will also be upfront about whether or not they can deliver on the job specifications they are given, such as whether they can meet the client’s preferred deadline.

Further benefits include assigning your project to a dedicated coordinator who you can contact for a progress report when you require one. This person will act as your point of contact if you need to give them any more information, you wish to extend your contract, or you want to set up a new job.

Languages

As Mr Solomon explains, a transcription should ideally be produced by someone working in their mother tongue. It is easier to pick up everything on the audio file if the listener speaks the same language; particularly if the quality of the file is poor or the speakers have regional accents.

Some companies offer audio translation services as well. This involves translating the content of the audio file as it is transcribed, and can be a useful option for companies that need to distribute the content internationally.

Specialist knowledge

In addition to ensuring the transcription is produced by someone who speaks the same language as the speakers, it’s also worthwhile looking for a service provider with specialist knowledge of the buyer’s industry. Audio files recorded by medical or legal professionals are likely to contain a lot of complex industry terminology that someone with no experience of that sector may struggle to correctly transcribe.

Experienced transcription companies will have a large network of typists to call on and will have selected their secretaries based not only upon their typing skills but also their industry experience. This means they can assign files to the typist who has knowledge of the industry it has come from or the subject it focuses on.

Quality control

A transcription is not complete once the secretary has finished typing. To ensure they get the best possible finished product, buyers should look for a service provider that promises quality assurance. This means offering proofreading as standard.

It is vital that the completed text accurately reflects the content of the audio file. This is best achieved by having a third party check over the document while listening to the audio to ensure the two match up. This quality assurer can also amend any spelling errors or typos the typist may have inadvertently made.

By selecting a transcription service that includes this quality assurance, the buyer knows the results they get back are accurate and reliable.

Customers who consider all the above points when selecting their transcription provider should find the most efficient service for their needs, which produces results they can rely on time and again.

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