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Transcription: why a Transcriber is not 'just' an Audio Typist

So you're a transcriber. Isn't that just a glorified audio typist? After more than 15 years in the business, we can assure you that they're most definitely not the same. These are just some of the differences between the services. A copy typist will have either a handwritten or printed page in front of them to copy. They may already have all the spelling, punctuation and grammar there for them. Usually, no editing or interpretation are required.

An audio typist tends to be working from dictation and from recordings made by people in the same offices, or at least in the same company. This may be an over-generalisation but the typing usually involves general correspondence or reports, the recordings are made at dictation speed, they're usually listening to one voice (typically a familiar voice), and the subject matter will mostly be familiar to them if it's concerning the company's business.

Transcription is by far the most involved of the three disciplines. A transcriber has to rely on her ears far more than her eyes. They're dealing with different voices, accents, verbal habits and different content which can sometimes be very technical, as well as any issues over background noise and varying recording quality. A focus group with ten participants all talking at once on a poor quality recording is a very different proposition than typing clearly audible dictation. The voices heard by a transcriber will mostly be unfamiliar to them, unless it's a long running client. So to identify and match voices to names in a group recording takes a high degree of skill and concentration. For all transcription, it's not just a matter of typing the words verbatim or typing like robots. It's about transcribing the right words, inserting the appropriate punctuation and conveying the sense of the passage or text as a whole.

Transcribers pride themselves on really listening to what's being said. Understanding the flow of the words is equally important and the wrong punctuation can completely alter the meaning of a sentence, as can mishearing a word, such as 'do' instead of 'don't'. Transcribers need a high standard of English and this is far more valuable than a fast typing speed. It's essential to avoid common homonym mistakes - the old chestnuts 'there', 'their' and 'they're' being obvious examples. Transcribers will also be tackling a wide variety of different and complex transcription projects on a variety of subjects, since their clients come from industries, businesses, organisations and universities all over the world. That's what makes transcription so interesting - you quite literally never know what you're going to be transcribing next, whether it be interviews about an artist's life, research interviews from a hospital, or a conference about Third World aid.

Most transcription companies will be able to provide a fixed audio minute price for all digital recordings as the quality is usually far superior to analogue tapes. This allows companies to be sure what their transcription costs will be in advance. Transcription companies can also provide a selection of different transcripts suitable to each client's needs. Complete Verbatim is a transcript of absolutely everything, including hesitations, repetitions, verbal quirks and unfinished sentences. It endeavours to capture the conversational 'style' of the person speaking, together with any dialect patterns and emotions.

The most popular and cost effective transcript choice is Intelligent Verbatim. This ensures a full transcript but omits all hesitations, repetitions and verbal habits people develop; meaningless fillers which add nothing to the context and take longer to transcribe.

An Edited Transcript may be more suited to conferences, lectures or podcasts, where the content is essential but perhaps the style of the speaker doesn't need to be captured. Grammar, non-standard English and any mistakes are corrected and sentences tidied up where appropriate.

As a result of this increased expertise, transcription will be more expensive than copy or audio typing. There are also different levels of service within the transcription world, with a wide range of prices and experience. We are firm believers in the old adages, 'You get what you pay for' and 'Pay peanuts get monkeys'. Cheapest does not necessarily mean best. We are professional transcribers with years of experience in this industry. We know our subject thoroughly and we pride ourselves on providing an accurate and first class service. If you approach a professional business, you will receive a professional service.

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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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