What Does A Transcription Service Do?

Transcription services convert spoken language into written text. But what’s the point? Why do companies and institutions go through all the trouble of finding transcriptionists or using transcription services? 

In this article, you’ll learn how:

  • Businesses use transcription services to create written records of meetings, interviews, podcasts, focus groups, and more. They are commonly used in various legal, medical, and media industries.
  • Manual transcription has marked benefits over automated transcription. 
  • Professional transcription services like Ditto have the best accuracy, quality, and turnaround times. 

Definition and Overview of Transcription Services

As mentioned, a transcription service is a business service that aims to convert audio and video files into written or electronic text. The transcription process is typically divided into several distinct steps: 

  1. The client records an audio or video file then sends it to the audio transcription service for transcribing. 
  2. A professional transcriptionist listens to audio recordings and accurately documents the spoken content. Depending on the type of transcription, the transcriber will either write it down verbatim or clean up the transcript. 
  3. The transcript is edited to fit the required formatting guidelines. 
  4. A proofreader or transcription editor looks over the transcript to check for errors. 
  5. Once the transcript is complete and cleaned up, it is returned to the client for its intended use. At the same time, the transcript is archived on the provider’s platform. 

Depending on the type of transcription work, there may be additional steps. Freelance transcribers can also convert audio into text, but they may lack the resources of an established transcription company. 

Types of Transcription Work

Businesses using a transcription service often have a preference regarding how they want their completed transcript to look. Here are the most common: 

Verbatim Transcription

Verbatim transcription captures every single word said. We will transcribe every syllable that we hear in an audio file.

When you need verbatim transcripts for your project, tell us. We will have our transcriptionist type everything they hear on the recording. It will be a true reflection of exactly what was said and a better reflection of how people actually speak.

For example, if someone stutters, has a false start to a sentence, uses filler words, or repeats words or phrases, they will all be included in the transcript. Background noises, such as coughs or laughter, can also be noted in your transcripts. Here’s a finished example of a statement made by a suspect in police interview using verbatim transcription:

verbatim transcription example with everything included

While verbatim transcription is exact, it can be difficult to read the final product. Verbatim transcription also requires considerable time and effort to capture every syllable and sound heard on the recording. Here are some industries that work with verbatim transcription best:

  • Law enforcement transcription
  • Legal transcription
  • Media transcription (podcasts, interviews, focus groups, market research, etc)
  • Medical transcription (psychology/psychiatry)

Non-verbatim transcription

Non-verbatim transcription – also known as “cleaned up” or a “clean copy” – excludes all unnecessary speech to make a transcript more readable without editing or changing the meaning or structure.

You’ll notice that all unnecessary speech will be removed in a non-verbatim transcript. This will not change the meaning or structure of the conversation. Using the previous example, below is the same audio transcribed in a non-verbatim, cleaned-up format:

non verbatim transcription cleaned up example

Was the suspect nervous or hesitant when they made this statement? Possibly. Notating how the suspect replied could be important in a future criminal or civil trial. Here are some industries that prefer cleaned-up transcripts: 

  • Business transcription
  • General transcription
  • Academic transcription
  • Healthcare and medical transcription

Benefits of Outsourcing To A Professional Transcription Service

The demand for transcription services has increased by 40% between 2020 and 2023 due to the growing need for remote work and virtual collaborations. Transcription services can provide several benefits for clients of different industries. Here are some of them: 

Cost Savings

Outsourced transcription companies offer an excellent way for various companies and organizations to save money. Let’s list them out here: 

Cost-Saving AspectDescription
Saving Money on HiringIt takes an average of $10,000 to find and hire a suitable candidate for most positions. Transcriptionists may take less or more, depending on your organization’s experience requirements.
No Salary Package and BenefitsTranscription is a specialized task; not every company has options for lateral employee movement if transcription dries up. The median salary for transcriptionists in the US is about $37,000, with more experienced candidates earning $65,000. Tack on another 30 or 40% for other benefits. Outsourcing allows companies to avoid the headache of providing salaries and benefits for new transcriptionists.
Fewer Workspace RequirementsMost sources claim employees need about 60 to 100 square feet of office space for optimum productivity. However, office space is expensive, and providing adequate room for in-house transcribers to perform their tasks is an additional, avoidable expense.
No Need to Provide EquipmentIf you outsource your transcription needs, you no longer need to provide office equipment for in-house transcriptionists. That means a few thousand dollars of savings for every would-be employee that can be used for other, more important business requirements.

Time Savings

Transcription services will save you time. Without them, you’d have to listen and type recordings yourself. Sure, you might be quick on the keyboard. However, transcribing is not about how fast you type; instead, it’s how well you listen and how fast you type.

Transcribing audio files takes professional transcriptionists four hours for every one hour of transcription. After that, the resulting transcript must be reviewed and scrubbed of errors before use. (Remember: inaccurate transcription can have very serious consequences.) All that time spent could be better allocated to higher-value tasks relative to your operations. 

Our standard turnaround time is 3-5 business days, however, we can offer completed transcriptions within 4 hours if needed. 

Focus on Strengths

Without needing to do transcription, you can dedicate energy to core operational competencies that push your business forward. A law firm can concentrate on legal work rather than transcribing depositions. Healthcare providers can focus on patient care instead of documentation. Police officers can devote their attention to their surroundings instead of looking down at their laptops and typing away while on patrol.

Transcription through professional services brings expertise and efficiency at reasonable costs.  However, the quality of a transcription service is important, as accuracy and confidentiality are key factors in delivering a reliable transcript. 

Scalability

Quality transcription service providers handle projects of all sizes. You can send individual files or hundreds of hours of recordings—we’ll take it. This circles back to hiring in-house transcribers and how transcription demands can surge or drop at different times. 

You don’t need to get tangled in overtime requirements and workforce scheduling nightmares. Have as little or as much work sent to a trusted provider with little to no fuss. 

Search Engine Optimization

Videos have little metadata real-estate aside from their titles and descriptions. Transcripts allow search engines to crawl through the contents of a video through captions and subtitles, opening many possibilities for being ranked on search engine results and, by extension, getting found by more people. This applies to big or small content creators. 

Accessibility

Captions and subtitles also make videos accessible to people who are hard of hearing, making your content more inclusive. Furthermore, transcripts can make it easier for people to find the information they need without repeatedly watching videos. 

Confidentiality and Security Measures

Video and audio content may have sensitive information included. This is particularly evident in law enforcement, legal, medical, and business transcription. Those who need a transcription service may require privacy and security compliance like HIPAA or CJIS for medical or legal projects. Also, check if your chosen provider can sign non-disclosure agreements to ensure data security further – we do!

Turnaround Time and Delivery Options

On average, a professional transcriptionist can transcribe approximately 60 minutes of audio in just under 4 hours. That’s quite long, considering how many transcripts we need to get through in a day. Transcription services work with a lot of clients. However, they need to be flexible regarding delivery to make it in the industry.

Ditto Transcripts, for example, offers expanded timeframes to fit every budget. We have offered one to two, three to five, and six to ten business days turnaround time. We can even offer a 4-hour rush service if needed.

Importance of Accuracy in Transcription

Accuracy is a vital aspect of transcription because errors can have profound effects. This is important across the board; it doesn’t matter if you’re a lawyer needing court transcripts or a digital marketing agency looking for video transcription. We have extensive training and rigorous QA protocols to ensure accurate results.

Automated speech recognition software can provide lightning-fast transcripts. However, automated transcription tools produce transcripts that are only 86% accurate. Transcribers must comb through every line and every page of speech-to-text transcripts, checking for errors and effectively negating its speed advantage. 

Plus, there’s no automatic arrangement of the text format of automated transcription projects. 

Businesses may use AI transcription for projects that don’t need rigorous accuracy or won’t be used in any official capacity. Otherwise, they’d be facing consequences like: 

  • Reputational Damage
  • Operational Disruptions
  • Legal Implications
  • Waste of Time And Money
  • Financial Losses

Human transcription (by a professional) produces the most accurate transcripts. Experienced transcription providers like Ditto Transcripts guarantee more than 99% accuracy for all projects. 

So, get in touch with us to experience the most accurate transcription service in the industry.  We handle various industries, including legal, medical, law enforcement, business, and academic, serving over 50 different professions.

Ditto Transcripts is a HIPAA-compliant and CJIS-compliant Denver, Colorado-based transcription services company that provides fast, accurate, and affordable transcripts for individuals and companies of all sizes. Call (720) 287-3710 today for a free quote, and ask about our free five-day trial.

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