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Should you hire a local transcriptionist?

It is well established that you are able to work smarter, better, and faster when outsourcing your documentation work.  Today we can focus instead on other revenue creating or generating tasks for your business.  The two most important things to look for in a Professional Transcription Company are optimization of your time and money.  However, there are other factors that you should consider such as local language, accent, and speech patterns.  Local professional services can definitely help with easier and more accurate transcribing services as their historical work experience would match with local culture, accent, slang, jargon, diction, etcetera.  However, these abilities are not irreplicable or insurmountable by others.

If you hire a local transcription company, you will benefit from–

  1. Local talent having the ability to comprehend the theme of the audio or video recording and incorporating the speech or conversation contextually, which greatly helps you in retaining the culture and lingo.
  2. Local transcriptionist would be more acutely aware of deadlines and would assist in timely completion.
  3. Face-to-face meetings with the local service provider can be easily facilitated if they are in the same county or city.

Earlier, we used to heavily rely and trust on stores, shops, or service providers that were geographically closer to meet our household or workplace requirements and deliver our products.  However, with the advent of global shipping and delivery companies, the spotlight is more on efficiency, accuracy, competitive pricing, and timeliness.  Similarly, unless as a customer, if you prefer meeting transcription service professionals in person and conduct your business one-on-one, picking a provider geographically closer to you doesn’t give you any advantage.  Affordable price point, adherence to quality and speed should be the factors in selecting a transcriptionist, no matter if they are sitting halfway across the world.

Since we’ve moved on to digital recordings from tapes, microcassettes, disk drives, etcetera, and since there are a whole lot of avenues to share access to digital audio or video material anywhere in the world, geographical distance is no longer a criterion.  These days, Professional Transcription Companies offer a whole lot of security for the customers’ proprietary and/or confidential material, like data encryption, anti-virus protection, firewall systems, and real-time monitoring of workflow progress.  So you need not be unduly worried anymore about the security of your digital material, as there are usually multiple checks and balances in place.

Some companies even go to the extent of auto-deleting all relevant materials, upon the customer expressing satisfaction after confirming receipt of all services.  By auto-delete, it means having a scheduler tool or a software program in place that will automatically, permanently erase all the customer’s materials upon approval from the customer.  Though this might sound a bit extreme, it does give the customer peace of mind and goes an additional distance in displaying the trustworthiness of the transcription provider.

So at the end of the day, when assessing the true value of a transcription service you should give more weightage to experience and skill level than geographical location.  Assessing skill level is quite easy, as any genuine transcription company would be happy to produce a sample document upon request, with which you could test them to measure their competence.

Additionally, while scouting for your best value-for-money transcription service provider, you could have the following pointers in mind, or even ask these questions to your potential candidates.

  1. What is their experience?
  2. What process do they have in place to access your materials?
  3. Do they use any software for transcription? If so, which ones?
  4. How do they control audio or video content with playback?
  5. Can they transcribe verbatim and add time-stamps?
  6. What is their quality control procedure?

The answers to these questions and the way in which they’re answered would very well give you a good idea of the professionalism and the expertise of the transcriptionist.

Also keep in mind that transcription companies almost always have well-defined websites listing out the services offered, as well as feedback and testimonials from their customers.  They have the flexibility and robustness to take up any kind of transcription project and tailor it to suit your needs, while at the same time being price sensitive.  It’s human nature to think that a small project or requirement could very well be handled by a freelancer, who could also possibly offer much lower prices.  However, the reality is different as an established service provider would have a well-set process in place that would take care of everything end to end and handhold you throughout the entire process.

From an industry standpoint, specific fields require specific understanding of industry jargon such as meeting the daily demands of medical, legal, and law enforcement departments or companies.  Some of the questions or pointers to keep in mind when you are looking to hire a professional transcription firm are determining if they understand local industry jargon, ways in which they ensure accuracy, finding out their pricing options that best suit your needs, checking out their marketing and social media accounts to evaluate and gauge the quality of their services/expertise, and also check to see their formatting and exporting methods and outputs.

You should very well wish to ensure a thorough and complete assessment of these professionals and the transcription services that they offer and if they are well suited/matched to your industry as well as local prerequisites. In this current globalized and ever changing world of ours, it is equally important to weigh all options and thoroughly vet the entire work process in order to make well-informed decisions about your transcription service needs.

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