Outsourcing Transcription Work - White Paper

Transcription is basically defined as any typing of oral recordings (intelligent verbatim transcription) - these days on a digital recorder, often supplied by a company called Olympus and recorded onto a CD or digital file.

The file is then sent to a transcriber (typist) who uses software to turn the recorded work into a manuscript. This is the transcript and hence we get the word transcription.

Transcription has become fairly big business and a lot of companies and firms are experimenting with outsourcing transcription work.

General Dictation
There are two sorts of outsourced transcription work, the first being day to day, general dictation by managers, fee earners and professionals and these tend to be mainly letters, memos and reports. There are big enterprises in the UK and the USA that outsource the typing work to call centre operations in India and South Africa. These operations can be running many hundreds of thousands of recordings at any one time and the turnaround rate is usually within hours.

The cost of outsourcing day to day transcription work is usually very good and can save companies considerable sums of money, though not as one much as one would expect. Firstly, a secretary on site can often be handling lots of different things at any one time, including enquiries, telephone calls and some junior fee earning managerial tasks. A secretary offshore in India can simply type a letter.

Once the transcription has been done, the local operative has to vet each bit of work as overseas transcription historically has a very poor record of accuracy. There was up until recently a company in the UK advertising this service with examples of transcription on their website showing bad spelling mistakes. We trialled the service ourselves for one of our clients. Although it is cheaper, the transcription contains a lot more grammatical errors, geographical & name errors and typing mistakes, as they are not done by a native English speaker.

Recordings, Interviews & Research
The second sort of transcription is the longer recordings of interviews, reports, consultations and conferences.

These tend to be bulk orders and will be a number of tapes, CDs or digital files recorded of discussions, meetings or straightforward one to one interviews - the transcription is simply a full record of the recording.

Court transcription services are a good example of this, although most courts have their own select list of transcribers who will simply do court work and nothing else on a set contract with their machinery in the courtrooms.

The second type of recording (ie: conferences and meetings) tends to be very time consuming, and often companies & organisations will look to outsource this so that they can free up staff internally to deal with other work.

A good example of this is solicitors firms where a police station interview needs transcribing; usually a secretary has to do it. However a secretary transcribing a 30 minute police station interview requires about four hours of time. Four hours of a secretary's day would be very costly to a solicitor when the secretary is also taking telephone calls, general typing and admin work.

Another example would be a company who had an employment tribunal hearing and need a recording of a disciplinary meeting transcribing. The cost of transcribing a disciplinary meeting again can be measured in terms of the time it would take someone from a department to sit down and type out the whole meeting. This means that for every 20 minutes of recording, somebody has got to sit for probably in the region of about three hours to transcribe. Three hours of time to do this is often too expensive for the company and usually somebody volunteers to do it, realises how hard the work is within about five minutes and says they won't do it with the work being outsourced at that stage!

These are the reasons why transcription has become so popular to be outsourced as it frees up staff time and also gets rid of a very unpopular task that can be turned around quickly and effectively offsite by experienced transcribers.

TP Transcription Services is an online cost-effective outsourcing operation that is cost effective for companies and organisations to have work transcribed, whether for small or large orders. The company regularly deals with universities and large companies across the UK. For details of our service, please visit www.uk-transcription.co.uk or call us on 01352 751945.

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