Transcription services for digital and audio tape transcriptions - Frequently Asked Questions by IB Transcription Services FAQs - digital transcription services, audio tape transcription services, minidisc transcription services

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The aim of these FAQs and our Overview pages is to cover many of the questions and topics which have cropped up in the past about transcription services. We have also provided Recording Guidelines and Equipment pages which we hope will be useful, plus more information on the factors which influence Transcription Times. If there is anything you feel we've missed, please email - this is a constantly evolving free resource for all our clients.

1. What makes your service stand out from the rest?

2. Who does the transcribing?

3. Do you proofread and check transcripts?

4. Should I go digital?

5. Will you tackle poor quality recordings?

6. Do you offer discounts?

7. How do I find out more information or get a quotation?

8. What is your standard turnaround time?

1. What makes your service stand out from the rest?
Or put another way, why should we use you when we've been quoted a cheaper price?
In short, you get what you pay for and cheapest doesn't necessarily mean best. We are professional transcribers who have been in business for more than ten years and we are now the preferred supplier
for a wide range of companies and institutions. We invite you to look at our Testimonials page to gain an idea of the high quality of our service. Our reputation is paramount and we undertake to protect client confidentiality and go that extra mile without being asked. We do not restrict ourselves to 'normal' office hours. If your project is urgent, we are pleased to offer a flexible service to meet your needs, not our convenience.

All recordings are run through a second time and all transcripts are proofread by Irene Boston at no extra cost, to ensure that our high quality standards are maintained. We never compromise those standards by taking on more transcription than we have the capacity to deal with - we will never bite off more than we can chew! Too many transcribers accept large projects without the project management skills to complete them. This results in transcripts not being proofread (other than by the outsourced freelance transcriber typing them) and recordings are not listened to a second time to resolve queries. In short, there is no single guiding hand overseeing all the transcripts which results in a very uneven service. Several clients have come to us after their large projects have been inefficiently handled in this way. Project management of large assignments is provided as standard, and we believe we have the requisite skills, experience and attitude to provide a first class service.

We know our business thoroughly (as we hope this website demonstrates) and we pride ourselves on providing a meticulous and reliable service. We believe our prices are cost effective, reflecting our professionalism and the quality of the work produced. If someone offers transcription services at a ridiculously cheap rate, it's unlikely they have much experience as professional transcribers. We've heard numerous horror stories from clients who've come to us after using transcriptionists who charged a very low rate. They have received what amounts to a rough draft transcript, with inappropriate punctuation or incorrect words, or they've waited several weeks for their transcripts. Please see our discussion over the difference between a copy typist, audio typist and a professional transcriber. If you approach a professional business, you will receive a professional service.

2. Who does the transcribing?
We use only highly experienced transcribers based in the UK. We will never outsource to agencies outside the UK and we are finding this an increasingly important consideration for clients. We believe the standard of transcript can't possibly be the same as that provided in the UK by transcribers whose mother tongue is English. We've been asked by clients to correct transcripts completed abroad and, if some of the mistakes weren't so catastrophic (as in wrong medical details), it would be laughable. We believe the outsourcing should be in one direction only - from you to us and certainly not from us to all and sundry.

3. Do you proofread and check transcripts?
That would be a YES! ALL recordings are run through a second time by Irene Boston to check the transcript against the original audio. Internet research is carried out where necessary to clarify any names, places or terminology etc, and all transcripts are proofread also by Irene Boston at no extra cost to the client, to ensure that our high quality standards are maintained.

Too often clients end up with rushed transcripts, completed by numerous outsourced transcribers and, due to the sheer volume of material that the transcription company has taken on, not everything in that project will have been checked by any supervising hand. It horrifies me that sometimes transcripts aren't even proofread. Or if they are, it's only by the outsourced transcriber whom the company has used. No project manager or overseeing eye has even looked at them.

Not only are mistakes not picked up, but any missing or unclear words aren't clarified as the recording is rarely run through a second time. These 'inaudibles' may only have been the result of one transcriber not hearing a name properly on a recording, whereas another transcriber on another recording might have picked it up more clearly. Without one supervising 'ear' both relistening and proofreading, these corrections and gaps are never filled in - resulting in an incomplete and inaccurate transcript. We don't regard that as providing a professional service. Check all claims of re-listening and proofreading carefully - often a company's T&Cs will contradict their website claims of doing so and you'll find out that merely means their freelancers are responsible.

4. Should I go digital? 
Yes please! And I'd be surprised if any transciption service would say otherwise.
Digital recordings are far superior in quality to any analogue recording. This reduces transcription time and costs significantly and the improved recording quality results in fewer inaudible sections. Digital files have many advantages - they can be copied without losing quality, they're easily stored, they don’t deteriorate over time and they're easily transmitted to your transcriber. Please view our comparison page on the advantages and disadvantages of digital and analogue recordings. Further details of our digital service can be found here. We are pleased to provide free Guidelines and tips on Equipment to use for all clients thinking of making the switch to digital.

5. Will you tackle poor quality recordings?
We are more than happy to attempt to transcribe any recording you may submit. But clients should be aware of the extra time it will take to transcribe poor quality recordings and the extra costs involved. We will do our best to produce an accurate transcript. The only limitation is what your budget allows. If we are told a recording is of good quality but after listening, it becomes obvious that this is not the case, we will requote, give you our professional opinion on how much longer it will take to transcribe and request your permission before we proceed.

6. Do you offer discounts?

We are pleased to offer a discounted transcription service to all students, charities and universities as we recognise the budgetary constraints under which they operate. However, this only applies to digital audio and video, and minidisc recordings. Standard audio tapes, mini tapes, micro cassettes and video tapes are too variable in quality and are charged at a full hourly rate. Please see the indvidual service pages for more details.

7. How do I find out more information or get a quotation?
We hope these website pages on the different services we offer are comprehensive and provide most of the information you need. If you have any specific queries, we'd be more than happy to answer them - please call (01485 543746) or email.

In order to provide a detailed quote and a turnaround time, we need the following information:
ow many recordings do you have (number of tapes / digital files)?
What format are they in? Standard audio tape, mini tape, micro-cassette? Minidisc, digital audio or video file type?
For digital audio and video, what digital format is the recording in?

How long is each one and, therefore, what is the total recording time?
What type of recording is it - i.e. interviews, focus groups, conferences etc?
How many speakers or participants are there?
What is your deadline?
What type of transcript do you need - intelligent verbatim, complete verbatim or edited transcript? (See definitions to decide)
How good is the recording, and are there any potential issues such as background noise or strong accents?
What is the subject matter and, therefore, is there is any complex terminology involved?

We will then provide you with a detailed quote, our estimate of turnaround times based on our current schedule, and a booking form. If you are able to make your decision quickly, call or email to confirm, complete the booking form and post any tapes, or we will provide a password so that you can upload your digital files. If more than a week passes between receiving the quote and being able to make a decision, it's worthwhile checking our availability again as our schedule fills up very quickly. We will re-confirm turnaround times to meet your deadlines.

8. What is your standard turnaround time?
This is very much dependent on the volume of work you have and our current schedule. We aim to deliver dictation transcription the same day if received in the morning and by the next lunchtime if received in the afternoon. One hour of a one-to-one interview will take 24 to 36 hours to complete from receipt, depending on the quality of the recording and our schedule at the time. For larger projects such as focus groups and conference transcription, we recommend that you contact us in advance so that we can reserve space in our schedule. Most professional transcription companies have a long list of regular customers and to suddenly find a large block of free space can be difficult. So book your transcription company in advance, in the same way as you would the venue or the speakers. Our schedule does fill up very quickly so any advance notice is appreciated. Having said that, if you do have urgent work, we will do our best to accommodate you.
We do not restrict ourselves to 'normal' office hours and we will always try to offer a flexible service to meet your needs. And if we can't help, we have a network of experienced colleagues with whom we can put you in touch.

We specialise in digital transcription services including MP3 digital transcription, WAV digital transcription, WMA digital transcription among many other digital audio file formats. We also provide standard audio cassette tape transcription covering micro cassette or micro tape transcription, plus mini tape or mini cassette transcription which is also known as audio transcription or audio typing services. This can be extended to include minidisc or minidisk transcription services. Extensive experience in conference transcription services allows us to offer transcription of conference proceedings including keynote speaker and plenary session transcription, lecture transcription, seminar and symposia transcribing, Q&A session transcription and transcription of breakout sessions, roadshows, roundtable discussions and workshops. Interview transcription services form a core part of our service and include one-to-one interview transcription, as well as multiple participant interview transcription. We are pleased to offer discounted transcription services for charities, students and universities for their research interviews, particularly qualitative analysis transcription compatible with Nvivo and Atlas Ti. Support for oral history interview transcription projects can include both digital transcription services and audio tape transcription. A niche specialty is our podcast transcription services which also covers webcast transcription. Transcription services for authors, writers and journalists can include anything from digital dictation for article transcription and manuscript typing through to research interview transcription. Also offered is focus group transcription, forum transcribing, market research and vox pop interview transcription as well corporate or group meeting transcription services. Word processing services and digital dictation for correspondence is also included. Teleconferences and telephone interviews can be transcribed from digital and analogue formats. Analogue video tape transcriptions are offered along with digital video transcription services. Different transcription styles are available including Intelligent Verbatim Transcription, Complete Verbatim Transcription, Edited Transcription and customised transcription styles for Oral History projects and Focus Groups.

We are pleased to offer free Advice Pages: Equipment FAQs Overview Transcription Times and free Guidelines for: Conferences Dictation Digital Audio / Minidiscs Focus Groups / Forums Interviews Lectures / Speeches / Presentations Market Research Vox Pops Oral History Interview Projects Podcasts Audio Tapes Teleconferences / Telephone Interviews Digital DVD / Video Tapes Webcasts Workshops Our Home Page provides an overview of the wide range of transcription services we provide.


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