transcription

What does a Transcription Service Do?

Posted on 16. Apr, 2014 by in Business, tech news

Transcription services convert either a recorded spoken word presentation or a live spoken word presentation into a written document or text file. These services are employed by a variety of businesses, but most often in the legal and medical fields.

Legal transcriptions are often taken from court proceedings. Medical transcription is frequently from a doctor’s voice-recorded notes about a patient. Pharmaceutical companies hire transcription services for advisory board meetings where a cross section of doctors speak about their various experiences with certain medications. These meetings are challenging for a transcriber because there are multiple speakers that need to be identified and often extraneous noise and inadequate microphones employed.

The quality of the recording is paramount. One person speaking slowly and clearly with no ambient noise can be transcribed at one hour of speech to four hours of typing.

At the other end of the spectrum is the group meeting, advisory board or focus group in which many people are speaking, often at the same time. Many factors impact the quality of the recording. The quality of the equipment and placement of the microphones is key. When only one microphone is placed in the middle of a table, obviously the people closest are easy to hear and the ones further away are inaudible.

Ambient noise is often a problem when meetings are held during a meal due to the clank of silverware, etc. Coughing, sneezing, nose blowing, and throat clearing can also obscure some of the audio.

Clients often want the transcriber to recognize voices and assign names to each speaker. This is easy if two people are speaking and one is a man and one is a woman, or one has a specific accent, but it becomes increasingly difficult the more people there are and the less their voices differ from one another.

Transcribers, when working from audio tape, use cassette players equipped with a foot pedal that controls play, pause, rewind, and fast forward functions so the typists never have to take their hands from the keyboard. There is also a foot controlled device that can be used when transcribing from a sound file on a computer.

Transcribers work for various rates and have different approaches to pricing, charging either per line, per word, per minute, or per hour, and often this differs industry to industry.

With the development of voice recognition software the traditional transcription service continues to be of more value to an application where accuracy of the transcription is a prime concern. Studies done by The National Institutes of Health have shown that traditional transcription services have a significantly higher rate of accuracy when transcribing highly technical material, than voice recognition software.

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