Using Transcribing Companies Vs an Automated Software

Transcribing Companies in TorontoWith the fast pace of modern life and the globalization of business, there has been a growing demand for transcription services for some time now. So much so that traditional methods have been challenged by automated software in the quest to produce quick results while attempting to maintain high standards. While a good number of business have placed their faith in automated software, most are reluctant to use them when quality is a priority. With a number of top-quality transcribing companies in Toronto still doing well, it looks like manual and automated services will have to battle it out for quite some time to come.

What’s the Difference Between Automated Software and Transcribing Companies in Toronto?

Rather than being entirely direct competitors, automated software and transcribing companies in Toronto tend to market themselves to slightly different markets, albeit with some overlap. When it comes to turnaround speed and cost savings, it’s pretty hard to beat automated software – you pay once for the program up front, and it works whenever you need it. The main challenge it faces, however, is in terms of quality results. Despite all our technological advances and utilization of mass data, automated transcriptions can still produce unwanted results, and that can be a major problem when used in business or legal, medical and other fields. The main advantages that transcribing companies in Toronto have include:

People Deal with Accents Better than Software – Once a professional transcriber has identified a speaker’s accent, they can work within known parameters to establish what is being said. For example, a British speaker talking about the best route, might be confused by software as an American speaker talking about the best root. When we consider the range of accents in English alone – from South African to Scots, it’s no wonder that professional transcribers produce more accurate results than software.

Software Struggles to Contextualize Speech – When asked to transcribe an isolated sentence, both humans and computers may struggle to recognize the difference. For example, the difference in meaning between ‘the sail of a boat’ and ‘the sale of a boat’. Humans, however, are naturally able to determine which word is used once it is put in context. This is still a major challenge for automated software, which merely attempts to transcribe without any understanding of the context.

Human Transcribers can Take Account of Other Factors – Most professional transcribers are adept at taking into account changes in the sounds of words when someone has a cold or a speech impediment. Furthermore, we can easily recognize a cough, sneeze and language fillers, such as ‘ah’, ‘um’, ‘eh?’ and so on. Automated software often attempts to match such sounds to words, giving an inaccurate representation of what was said.

All of this doesn’t mean that automated software isn’t fit for purpose – if you need general approximations of what was said, you need them quickly and you don’t have a lot of money, it could work for you. If however, you value accuracy and readability, you really need to make use of professional transcribing services.

Why Transcribing Services are much more than Glorified Typists

transcribing services CanadaThose who haven’t had much experience with transcription may sometimes believe that transcribing services are basically typists with a fancy title. Unfortunately, they often realize too late (after hiring a cheap typist to do a transcriptionist’s job), that transcribing is a much more specialized profession, which requires specific skills, training and experience. Just because someone can type at 80 words per minute or more, does not mean that they can transcribe a document accurately for use in court, medicine, engineering or academia.

Transcribing Services Canada Can Be Proud of

Thankfully, there are the high-quality, experienced transcribing services Canada needs, thanks to companies such as Flaming Fingers, whose work highlights the differences between professional transcriptionists, such as their own, and amateur typists. Perhaps the most important of these differences are the following:

  • A thorough understanding of appropriate contexts – Professional transcriptionists do much more than simply listening and typing. For every project they work on, they must consider the format and context into which it will be transcribed. Verbatim texts have prescribed spellings and punctuation concerning disfluencies. Many transcriptions require such content to be edited out and grammatical corrections to be included, and some require transcription of exactly what is said.
  • Familiarity with accents and dialects – Professional transcriptionists are exposed to a wide variety of speakers during their training. It is very unlikely that a day will go by when they don’t need to transcribe audio of people with strong regional accents and people who are not speaking their first language. Transcriptionists tend to build up a wealth of experience in this area, whereas typists tend to listen to one speaker for years at a time.
  • Familiarity with a range of specialist terminology – Whereas a typist usually spends their career working with the vocabulary of one specific field, the best transcribing services Canada can provide will be exposed to terminology from widely different areas. Often they will take courses in these areas to improve their knowledge and expertise.
  • Professional presentation – While a good typist will endeavour to produce documents which look acceptable, professional transcriptionists know that a specific format and style of presentation is required for each type of transcription. By hiring a professional transcribing company, all of that work is automatically taken care of for you.
  • Flexibility – The best transcription services Canada has to offer will always invite you to send your audio in the format which is most convenient for you. In order for this to be practical, they must be familiar with, and sufficiently prepared to work with a wide variety of formats. While your average typist may not have heard of AIFF, FLAC, MPEG-4 DST, ATRAC and other audio file formats, a professional transcribing company will be comfortable working with all of them.

It is clear that comparing transcribing services to typists is unhelpful, particularly if you need any kind of specialization regarding your transcriptions. There is nothing wrong with typists – they are great when you need typing. But when you need transcribing, make sure you hire a transcriptionist.

Why Transcribing Services are Much more than Glorified Typists

transcribing services Canada Those who haven’t had much experience with transcription may sometimes believe that transcribing services are basically typists with a fancy title. Unfortunately, they often realize too late (after hiring a cheap typist to do a transcriptionist’s job), that transcribing is a much more specialized profession, which requires specific skills, training and experience. Just because someone can type at 80 words per minute or more, does not mean that they can transcribe a document accurately for use in court, medicine, engineering or academia.

Transcribing Services Canada Can Be Proud of

Thankfully, there are the high-quality, experienced transcribing services Canada needs, thanks to companies such as Flaming Fingers, whose work highlights the differences between professional transcriptionists, such as their own, and amateur typists. Perhaps the most important of these differences are the following:

  • A Thorough Understanding of Appropriate Contexts – Professional transcriptionists do much more than simply listening and typing. For every project they work on, they must consider the format and context into which it will be transcribed. Verbatim texts have prescribed spellings and punctuation concerning disfluencies. Many transcriptions require such content to be edited out and grammatical corrections to be included.
  • Familiarity with Accents and Dialects – Professional transcriptionists are deliberately exposed to a wide variety of speakers during their training. It is very unlikely that a day will go by when they don’t need to transcribe audio of people with strong regional accents and people who are not speaking their first language. Transcriptionists tend to build up a wealth of experience in this area, whereas typists tend to listen to one speaker for years at a time.
  • Familiarity with a Range of Specialist Terminology – Whereas a typist usually spends their career working with the vocabulary of one specific field, the best transcribing services Canada can provide will be exposed to terminology from widely different areas. Often they will take courses in these areas to improve their knowledge and expertise.
  • Professional Presentation – While a good typist will endeavour to produce documents which look acceptable, professional transcriptionists know that a specific format and style of presentation is required for each type of transcription. By hiring a professional transcribing company, all of that work is automatically taken care of for you.
  • Flexibility – The best transcription services Canada has to offer will always invite you to send your audio in the format which is most convenient for you. In order for this to be practical, they must be familiar with, and sufficiently prepared to work with a wide variety of formats. While your average typist may not have heard of AIFF, FLAC, MPEG-4 DST, ATRAC and other audio file formats, a professional transcribing company will be comfortable working with all of them.

It is clear that comparing transcribing services to typists is unhelpful, particularly if you need any kind of specialization regarding your transcriptions. There is nothing wrong with typists – they are great when you need typing. But when you need transcribing, make sure you hire a transcriptionist.

What Separates the Pros from the Average Joes?

Transcription servicesTranscription services are essential in a globalized and fast-paced world. These days it’s advisable for companies to have everything from voicemail messages to conference calls transcribed, in order to have an easily accessible and referenceable record of what has previously been said. The importance of such records is quite apparent, and yet many companies choose to entrust their transcription services to untrained, in-house or freelance transcriptionists. As we shall see, this can often prove to be a costly mistake.

The Advantages of Professional Transcription Services over Freelance and Untrained Attempts

There are obvious risks associated with hiring freelance and untrained people to do any kind of work. In the case of the former, it is true that some freelancers do work to standards which would be considered acceptable in the industry. The main difficulty is ensuring that the particular freelancer you have chosen can actually match those standards – is their sample work really their own, and if so, do they consistently uphold those standards? Even when all seems to be in order, there can be difficulties in communication, ensuring they are working legally and so on.

The problems with hiring untrained workers are much more obvious:

  • Speed and Accuracy – Whereas professional transcription services, such as those provided by Flaming Fingers, are carried out by experts who are trained to produce precise transcriptions in a short amount of time, untrained typists often sacrifice accuracy for time or vice versa. Quite often they produce transcripts that are so laden with errors as to make them unusable.
  • Fluency and Understanding – Transcription work that is handled by amateurs is often carried out unsatisfactorily due to a gap in understanding. In the most severe cases, it may be that the worker doesn’t have a solid grasp of the language – struggling with advanced vocabulary, accents and technical and legal concepts. Professionals usually have enough experience and training to overcome such difficulties.
  • Punctuation – The ‘average Joe’ doesn’t need to have a full command of punctuation – most of us can survive perfectly well without it. This fact, however, does them no favours when it comes to making professional transcripts. At best, a document which is poorly punctuated looks unprofessional. At worst it can cause serious misunderstandings and confusion. Professional transcriptionists have the training and knowledge to overcome this issue without any difficulties.
  • Homophones and Homonyms – Words which look alike and sound alike can easily confuse amateur would-be transcriptionists. Knowing instantly which spelling or meaning is needed, while maintaining a good speed, is a skill which professional transcriptionists develop with years of experience.

There are many more reasons you should think twice before hiring an amateur to transcribe your audio. Grammar can be a major issue, in the same way as punctuation, particularly in highly inflected languages such as French. The fact is that unless you entrust professional transcription services, such as Flaming Fingers, to produce the documents you need, you will always be at risk of being handed inaccurate, and therefore potentially damaging material.

What Separates the Pros from the Average Joes?

transcription services Transcription services are essential in a globalized and fast-paced world. These days it’s advisable for companies to have everything from interviews to conference calls transcribed, in order to have an easily accessible and referenceable record of what has previously been said. The importance of such records is quite apparent, and yet many companies choose to entrust their transcription services to untrained, in-house or freelance transcriptionists. As we shall see, this can often prove to be a costly mistake.

The Advantages of Professional Transcription Services over Freelance and Untrained Attempts

There are obvious risks associated with hiring freelance and untrained people to do any kind of work. In the case of the former, it is true that some freelancers do work to standards which would be considered acceptable in the industry. The main difficulty is ensuring that the particular freelancer you have chosen can actually match those standards – is their sample work really their own, and if so, do they consistently uphold those standards? Even when all seems to be in order, there can be difficulties in communication, ensuring they are working legally and so on.

The problems with hiring untrained workers are much more obvious:

  • Speed and Accuracy – Whereas professional transcription services, such as those provided by Flaming Fingers, are carried out by experts who are trained to produce precise transcriptions in a short amount of time, untrained typists often sacrifice accuracy for time or vice-versa. Quite often they produce transcripts that are so laden with errors as to make them unusable.
  • Fluency and Understanding – Transcription work that is handled by amateurs is often carried out unsatisfactorily due to a gap in understanding. In the most severe cases, it may be that the worker doesn’t have a solid grasp of the language – struggling with advanced vocabulary, accents and technical and legal concepts. Professionals usually have enough experience and training to have overcome such difficulties.
  • Punctuation – The ‘average Joe’ doesn’t need to have a full command of punctuation – most of us can survive perfectly well without it. This fact, however, does them no favours when it comes to making professional transcripts. At best, a document which is poorly punctuated looks unprofessional. At worst it can cause serious misunderstandings and confusion. Professional transcriptionists have the training and knowledge to overcome this issue without any difficulties.
  • Homophones and Homonyms – Words which look alike and sound alike can easily confuse amateur would-be transcriptionists. Knowing instantly which spelling or meaning is needed, while maintaining a good speed, is a skill which professional transcriptionists develop with years of experience.

There are many more reasons you should think twice before hiring an amateur to transcribe your audio. Grammar can be a major issue, in the same way as punctuation, particularly in highly inflected languages such as French. The fact is that unless you entrust professional transcription services, such as Flaming Fingers, to produce the documents you need, you will always be at risk of being handed inaccurate, and therefore potentially damaging material.

How to Ensure the Best Results When Working with Transcribing Companies

transcribing companies Canada Deciding that you want to get your recordings transcribed and sending off your audio is a simple process. The transcription company will give you an accurate, written representation of the recordings you have sent. As it is in your best interest to receive transcriptions of the highest quality, it is in your best interest to work with the transcription company in a number of ways in order to facilitate the creation of those high-quality transcriptions.

What You Can Do to Ensure Optimal Results from the Transcribing Companies Canada

It makes sense to work with one of the transcribing companies Canada has to offer, as their professionals will be very familiar with Standard Canadian English and French spellings, vernacular, accents, place names and other national or regional information. Doing so eliminates many of the problems you may face when working with, say, a company in another country (not to mention other potential difficulties such as time zone differences and so on).

Once you’ve decided to work with a company, try to do as much as you can to make it easy for them to provide you with top-quality transcripts. This can include:

  • Decide what level of detail you require – Do you want what was said to be transcribed verbatim? This may be essential when documents are to be presented for legal use. If, however, the importance of the transcript lies in the clear communication of an idea, you may want to have disfluencies and repetition edited out of the transcript entirely.
  • Consider how easy it is to understand the speakers – If your audio includes people who are not speaking their native language, or who have a strong accent or dialect, it may require the transcriptionist to seek specialist assistance in understanding fully what has been said. This inevitably costs time. Flaming Fingers is one of the best transcribing companies Canada has, thanks to their familiarity with a wide range of national and regional accents in the languages they use.
  • List highly specialized and non-standard terminology and acronyms – You can help save time by providing a list of any terms used which may be non-standard, highly localized or specific. This could also include names of people or items with non-standard spellings, for example the breakfast cereal Froot Loops, or the song “Cos I Luv You”.
  • Provide clear, high-quality audio recordings – It goes without saying that a clear conversation, in which everybody speaks clearly and at a moderate pace, without interruptions or background noise, is easier to transcribe than something that sounds like a shouting match on a busy bus. Of course, the reality will be somewhere in the middle, but you can help to improve the recording by eliminating background noises such as air conditioners and traffic, and ensuring that speakers’ microphones are positioned correctly.

When it comes to working with transcribing companies, Canada has a number of great options, including Flaming Fingers, who will help you take the necessary steps for recording clear and easily transcribable audio.