Transcription 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.