What to look for in a transcription agency
Searching for a transcription service isn’t always easy. You have to trust them with sensitive and confidential audio recordings and hope they can perform well. Here’s a list of things to look for when choosing the right agency for you…
What services do they offer?
First things first, make sure the agency offers the service you’re after. The world of transcription is very broad, from media to academic to legal transcription
, so there is a possibility that not everyone will be able to provide what you need.
Can they provide verbatim transcription?
Verbatim transcription is the act of writing down exactly what is said without missing a single utterance. This is crucial in many scenarios, such as police interviews and court proceedings, but is not speciality of all agencies. Some prefer to offer intelligent transcription – a type of transcription where repeated words or “unnecessary” phrases are omitted if it’s believed their removal won’t alter the meaning of the speech as a whole.
Do they promise a fast turnover rate?
Some industries require transcriptions to be returned swiftly for them to complete projects and finalise work, for example a journalist might need an interview transcript returning under a short time frame to allow them to write an article for a certain deadline.
Is the process user-friendly?
You want their process to be as easy to use as possible, especially if you’re going to be giving them lots of business with many recordings every month. To do this successfully, some agencies have a client portal that you use to manage each step of the process; starting with uploading the audio files to managing the progress to downloading the finished transcription. The better agencies will also produce easy to read documents presented in a well-organised manner with your preferred branding.
Can they handle complex recordings?
If there’s a possibility you’ll be asking them to transcribe long conversations between many people and a range of accents or that your recording many have interference from background noise, then check in advance that they can handle this.
Can they promise confidentiality and safe handling of sensitive topics?
Many industries that necessitate transcription services require their recordings and documents to be dealt with sensitively and treated with the utmost confidentiality. This will be important for cases such as police interviews, legal recordings and medical subjects. Find out how a company protects its data and how they can guarantee confidentiality.
Do they understand your industry?
Some topics can be transcribed without any prior comprehension of a subject, however sometimes a degree of understanding is required or at least desired. This can be particularly important for legal matters (where some understanding of the law will benefit the transcriber) and medical situations (when it helps to know medical jargon and drug names to avoid relying on phonetic spelling).
Can they show you testimonials?
If a company isn’t willing to share reviews or testimonials with you then this can be a red flag. Don’t give money to any agency that doesn’t have proof they can perform well.
Carefully consider your needs before selecting which agency is right for you.