How To Choose the Right Provider for Your Official Record Transcripts

Why Quality Shouldn’t Be the Only Thing on Your Checklist

Official written records need to be accurate – the successful conclusion of weighty proceedings including court cases, serious fraud investigations and coroners’ inquests can depend on the accuracy of the transcripts. But when it comes to selecting a transcription provider, there are additional factors to consider.

Official record transcripts are verbatim written records of formal or legal proceedings, which can include inquiries into bribery or corruption, investigations into tax or benefits fraud, police interviews under caution, disciplinary hearings and employment court cases, and coroners’ inquests.

To ensure these proceedings have integrity, and aren’t slowed down by challenges, all parties must have faith in the official written record. Here are four questions you can ask to test whether your chosen provider can guarantee this.

How Do They Ensure Both Quality and Continuous Improvement?

Gold-standard transcription providers have clear systems and processes in place to ensure written records are accurate, and standards continuously improve.

As a first step, check your provider is ISO9001 certified. ISO9001 is an internationally recognised standard guaranteeing consistently high-quality goods or services. You can also ask about their quality management system – the best service providers use these to ensure both quality and improvement.

Other things to look for include clear, agreed quality objectives (with Key Performance Indicators), robust training and development programs, a strong quality audit system, and a process for monitoring customer satisfaction.

What Processes Are In Place To Handle Confidential Data Securely?

How To Choose the Right Provider for Your Official Record Transcripts

Most official record transcripts deal with confidential or sensitive matters, so the consequences of leaks or cyberattacks could be severe.

Start by asking your provider what arrangements are in place for staff security checks, or vetting. There are a number of different levels of vetting, depending on a person’s role and the type of data they’re handling.

Next, look for data handling standards accreditations, including ISO27001. Applicable standards may include those specific to your industry or those provided by your local government.

Finally, some transcription providers maintain a secure, on-site facility for handling the most sensitive data. Check the facility is physically secure, with restricted entry, employees vetted to the highest standards and strict rules on working methods.

Capacity and Experience – How Do They Measure Up?

Nowadays, there are many transcription companies to choose from – from smaller, specialist companies to large corporations with a global presence.

It’s worth considering the likely volume of official record transcripts you’ll need, and how often you’ll need them. Will your proceedings be regular or sporadic, planned or last-minute? And will they be brief, or long running?

Larger transcription providers typically have access to a wide network of transcribers, note-takers, quality assurance experts, technicians and even foreign language specialists. This means they can cope with urgent requests as well as lengthy projects generating large amounts of audio. It also makes them well-placed to handle unusual requests, for example proceedings carried out in foreign or multiple languages.

Remember that larger, well-established providers are more likely to have encountered challenging projects and keep abreast of the latest technological developments. Ask for examples of projects they’ve worked on that are similar to yours, as well as testimonials from clients and customer satisfaction scores.

What’s Included in The Price and How Much Flexibility is There?

Last but not least, clarify costs. Transcription prices depend on a number of factors, including:

  • The type or level of service; for example verbatim, ‘intelligent’ verbatim, summary or foreign language transcription.
  • The level of security required; rates will usually be higher for transcripts produced under high-security conditions, including at an on-site facility.
  • Turnround times; costs can vary considerably depending on how soon you need your transcripts, so expect to pay more for urgent work.

A reputable provider will work with you to determine the right service for you, at the right price. And if you ask the right questions, you’ll find the right partner.

For more information on Appen’s official record transcription services please contact us.

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