There are a lot of transcription providers out there. So why not just pick the biggest name (or the cheapest quote) and hope they provide the best transcripts? In fact, there’s a lot you can do to ensure you get the transcripts you need, and choosing the right provider is just the start.
Choosing the right provider to get the best transcripts
Look for five key attributes:
- Quality – transcripts are more likely to be accurate if well-trained, qualified transcribers provide them. Providers certified to ISO9001 will have demonstrated this.
- Experience – established providers with a wide range of experience will have the resources, skills, and connections to respond to last-minute or high-volume requests and still meet your deadline.
- Security – your data could be highly confidential. If a provider has rigorous information management systems (preferably certified to ISO27001) and members of staff vetted to the very highest levels, they’ll be able to keep it safe.
- Value for money – assuming quality is important, value for money isn’t just about paying the lowest price. Good transcription providers offer flexible pricing options, for example, if your project is not urgent, you can choose to spend less, or you could choose to pay more for a high-security, in-house service.
- Little ‘extras’ – some transcription providers prioritise innovation, which means they’ll have the latest technology if you need it. Others offer a range of additional services like foreign language transcription and translation.
Deciding what you need
If you clearly specify what you want, you’re more likely to get it. Consider:
- Format and style of transcript – there are many transcript styles, including full verbatim, ‘intelligent verbatim,’ summaries, and note taking. Decide with your provider in advance, which type of transcript you need.
- Turnaround times – how urgent is your request? Is it part of a wider investigation that can’t progress until the transcript is returned, or do you plan to simply keep transcript on file?
- Confidentiality – think about how securely your data needs to be handled and what the implications might be if it ends up in the wrong hands. If it’s a highly confidential investigation, you may want to specify extra levels of security.
Getting the best quality recording
Make sure your recording is the best it can be. Appen’s blog: insert link here has more details, but our top tips are:
- Switch off any equipment that could interfere with the recording, including air conditioners and mobile phones.
- Close all windows and doors, so the recording doesn’t pick up external noise like traffic.
- Explain that the microphone is sensitive and ask participants not to rustle papers or put anything on top of it!
- Get the best quality recording equipment you can afford and place microphones close to the speakers, but not too close.
- Remind participants to speak clearly, one at a time, spelling out any complicated terms or names and referencing any exhibits or documents.
Producing accurate, value for money transcripts in a timely, secure manner is all part of a day’s work for the best transcription providers. But choosing a provider is only half the story. If you think carefully about what you need and follow a few simple rules when it’s time for recording, you can significantly improve your chances of getting the transcripts you need, when you need them.
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