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.

Video Transcription Services vs. Doing it In-House

Companies that often need to transcribe video files have a choice to make:  deal with the whole process in-house or outsource it to a team of professionals. The consequences of this choice could be far-reaching so it is important to ensure that you make the right one. To help you choose, we have written down some thoughts about each option and we hope that, having read them, you will be able to make the best decision for your organization.

Do You Really Need to Use Video Transcription Services?

The main question that you need to answer, in order to make your choice a simple one, is whether you really need outside help. If not, the obvious solution is to take care of the transcription in-house. To answer this question, consider the importance of the following factors to your company.

  • Accuracy – If you just need a rough idea of what was said on a video file, you can probably safely leave the transcribing to a member of staff who happens to have some time on his or her hands. However, if accuracy is very important, finding a reputable company that offers a professional service will be the best solution.
  • Speed – How quickly you need the work done is another important factor that will influence your decision. A professional transcriptionist with many years of experience will be able to work at a much faster rate than an employee who has never done such work in the past. Furthermore, a professional will be able to maintain a fast pace without compromising on accuracy.
  • Convenience – While you may have an employee who is free to do the work right now, you need to consider whether they will be free the next time that a video needs to be transcribed. Using a company that specializes in audio and video transcription services could be the more convenient option if handling it in-house is going to interfere with your other business activities in the future.
  • Cost – Whether it will be cheaper to have the work done by an employee or an outside agency will depend on the seniority of the employee in question. You certainly don’t want to take a highly paid worker away from their normal responsibilities if you can have the work completed more economically by hiring a firm that provides video transcription services at competitive rates.

In the majority of cases, it is easier to let a professional team take care of your video transcribing needs as they will have the necessary skills and experience to do the work quickly and competently. If you are still not sure what to do and you would like to discuss the implications of each choice, please do not hesitate to call us. We provide professional video transcription services to companies and organizations of all sizes and would be more than happy to help you decide which option is the right one for you to take.

7 Traits All Good Transcription Companies Have

Finding reliable and efficient transcribing companies in Canada is far from impossible but it may involve a little more effort than you imagined. Before you entrust your audio files to one of the firms that offers this service, there are a few things you should know about the people you are dealing with. To help you evaluate the companies you have found so far, we have written a list of 7 traits we believe all good transcription firms should share. If you find a firm with all 7 traits, you could be on to a winner!

Evaluating Transcribing Companies in Canada: What to Look For

You may need to spend some time on the phone or writing emails in order to establish which of these traits your prospects share but all of them are important so it really is worth the effort.

  1. Accuracy – How accurate are the transcriptions that the company produces? If they are offering a professional service and charging you accordingly, nothing less than perfection is acceptable. Ask any candidates you are considering what their track record is like in this regard.
  2. Able to Work with a Wide Variety of File Formats – If you should happen to come across any transcribing companies in Canada that seem to offer everything you need but they insist on having all files sent to them in one particular format, such as MP3, we think you should look elsewhere. A professional team should be able to handle all common audio file formats.
  3. Recording Facility – A company that can record your conference calls in a digital file format and transcribe directly from them will make life much easier for you should you need a record of such calls.
  4. Accept Physical Submission of Files – While you will probably want to send the majority of files online, the ability to send files in a physical format as well will be very useful if you need recordings of confidential meetings transcribed.
  5. Relevant Industry Experience – If you work in a profession that has certain special standards, such as law enforcement or medicine, transcribing companies in Canada with relevant industry experience will be your best bet.  Such a company knows terminology specific to a wide variety of fields, which means less misspellings.
  6. Tailored Services – A company that insists you fit in with their established procedures may be difficult to work with. Find a company that is willing to tailor their services to meet your needs and you will be much better off.
  7. Contracts – If you regularly require the services of a transcription specialist, ask whether a contract can be signed and what the possibility of a discount is.

If you would like to work with one of the premier transcription specialists in the country, call Flaming Fingers today and let us know what you need. We offer many years’ experience, amazing accuracy and personalized service.

5 Questions to Ask Transcription Services Before You Hire

If you are going to the trouble and expense of hiring a transcription specialist to work from audio files or to make live recordings and transcribe from them, you should make sure that your chosen specialist can meet all of your needs in full. Some companies are more flexible than others so it pays to ask a few questions before you settle on one particular service provider. Below, we have listed 5 questions that we feel are important for you to ask before you engage the services of any particular transcription company.

Finding the Best Transcription Services in Toronto

Whether you call, email, or visit the offices of a transcription company in person, asking the questions below will help you to evaluate whether they are the right people for the work you have in mind.

  1. How Fast Are Your Turnaround Times? – If the companies you approach are not able to transcribe your files within a reasonable timeframe, it will not matter how good they are at what they do. You need to find a team that can handle your workload in a timely manner, without any drop in the standard of the transcriptions they provide.
  2. Do You Have the Capacity to take on Regular Work or a Large Volume of Work? – If the companies you approach does not have the capacity to take on regular work or a large volume of work you can run in to the problem of your tasks not being completed when you need them due to them being overwhelmed.
  3. How Many Years Have You Been in Business? – While you might get lucky and hire a brand-new team that is capable of doing a great job, it is far more likely that a well-established company will be able to provide you with the high-quality services you require. The longer a transcription firm has been in business, the easier it will be for them to anticipate your needs and therefore to make your life easier.
  4. Can I Send Files Over the Internet? – Whether you use ftp or another protocol, the ability to send audio or video files online will speed up the transcription process considerably. All reputable companies that offer transcription services in Toronto should be able to accept files that are sent over the internet.
  5. Do You Offer a Personal Service? – A company that takes the time to listen to your needs and is willing to provide a flexible service that is customized to meet them will definitely be a better choice than one that has no interest in ensuring you are happy with what they provide. Flexibility is key when working with transcription providers.

Our transcription services in Toronto are among the very best and we can certainly answer the above 5 questions to your complete satisfaction. Send us an email with your requirements or call to discuss them in person with a member of our team.  We are sure that we can provide you with the services you need.