Transcription has become one of the most sought after and very lucrative businesses in today’s world. Transcription, simply, is the process of converting audio file into text format for varied reasons. The person who does this conversion is called a ‘Transcriptionist’. A transcriptionist listens to a given audio and converts it into text depending on client requirements. Transcription can be done either direct as being present at a given event or through recorded audio files.
Transcription can be broadly divided into 3 main categories:
- Verbatim Transcription
- Edited Transcription
- Intelligent Transcription
Let me take you briefly through these to acquaint you with the subtle difference among them.
Verbatim Transcription: As the name itself tells, it is all about exact word-to-word conversion of audio into text. This also involves the mumblings, half sentences and emotions that might have been used during the event. Eg: “hmmm, I mean, kinda….etc.” From a transcriptionist point of view, this process involves a lot of time and effort to achieve the desired accuracy. Hence it is a very expensive and well paid process. This format is used commonly for legal proceedings and financial events where every word is important.
Edited Transcription: As the name explains, these transcripts can be mildly edited. It is similar to Verbatim, but here the mumblings and the emotions can be edited. One has to listen to the audio and try to get the gist of the speech or seminar without changing the meaning and transcribe it into relevant text. For processing edited transcripts, transcriptionists need to have a good command over language and a greater level of understanding of the concept. It is time consuming too, but less in comparison with Verbatim Transcription. This is also a well-paid process. This is a generally used format for transcription in seminars, conferences, public speeches, etc.
Intelligent Transcription: As the name suggests, it is the kind where transcriptionists ignore unwanted terms and words used in the talk which does not mean anything. As these words add no value to the content, they can be left out of the final transcribed text. This process takes less amount of time as compared to the other two formats. Mild rephrasing is allowed in this format.
Depending on the end users’ budget, turnaround time and other requirements; one of these transcription process is chosen. Though they have their own pros and cons, each format is useful in its own way. Transcription is a very interesting and well established business. It is sought out more because of the flexibility of getting it done even from the comfort of our home.
Transcription is one of the most popular and effective means of documentation. Let us look at the 4 major aspects that organizations look while choosing a transcription service provider.
1. Transcription Quality
Quality of transcripts is the most important factor that organizations look while hiring transcription service providers. Transcripts are the major reference source for relevant information, so it is really important to have error-free transcripts. Many of the transcription service providers use automated tools to convert voice to text, and these automatic transcription tools are likely to make mistakes. So, it is important to have experienced editors to manually proof read auto-generated transcripts to make it error-free before the transcripts are delivered to the end users.
2. Quick Turnaround Time
Another aspect that customers would look at is how quick the transcripts are made available to them. There are times when a transcript would be of no use if it is not provided at a stipulated time. So, clients prefer service providers who can turnaround the transcripts quickly without compromising on the quality of transcripts.
Affordability is a very important factor that companies would look for while hiring transcription services. All the companies would like to make sure that there are no hidden fees involved other than the pricing that is agreed upon by both the parties. Transcripts are charged either based on the duration of transcribed audio or per the total words transcribed.
There is some degree of confidentially that transcription companies need to maintain. Normally, transcription service providers sign a confidentiality agreement before taking up an assignment. No matter what field or industry you work in, confidentiality is always required. Reputable transcription companies adhere to strict code of ethics including confidentiality and respecting the privacy of others. So, organizations prefer to hire transcription companies with high set of values and reputation.
Earnings conference call transcripts are typically structured as three components; “Transcript Header”, “Presentation Summary” and “Questions & Answers Session.”
Any conference call transcript begins with a transcript header. A transcript header is where the event title is displayed followed by the list of people who participate in the conference call. Event title specifies the period and type of conference call (example; “3Q17 Earnings Results.)
Participant list starts with the corporate participant names and their designations displayed against their names. As a rule of thumb, transcriptionists fetch these names and designations specifically from the company website so that they are absolutely sure of names and current designations of the corporate executives who participate in the conference call. Following the list of corporate participants, the analysts who participate in the earnings conference call are listed out. Analysts’ names will also have the name of institutions they represent displayed against their names.
Presentation summary is the actual body of a conference call transcript. This is the verbatim transcript of company’s actual performance, for the specific time frame, presented by the company executives during the conference call. A typical presentation summary will have the transcript of CEO’s presentation of overall performance of the company for whatever time-frame the conference call is conducted. This would be typically followed by the verbatim script of CFO’s comments in which he or she presents the financial summary and forecast. The presentation summary usually ends with the script of IR (Investor Relations) representative comments, and eventually opening the conference call for questions.
Questions & Answers (Q&A) Session:
A typical Q&A session in a conference call transcript is the verbatim textual representation of questions asked by analysts and answers provided by corporate executives. This session typically follows the question and answer pattern. While transcribing this session, it is very important for transcriptionists to keep in mind that they need to identify all the speakers; both analysts and company representatives.
Technology has made giant strides into every walk of our life, and we have benefitted and are continuing to do so every moment from it. As the end users, each one of us wants to benefit completely from these technologies. It is imperative that technology and its application reach every corner of the world.
So are we able to cater to every sector equally?
Let me just talk about one important aspect of our life, ‘Entertainment’. It is a must for each and every one of us and the best way to be entertained is to go watch a fun movie with our dear ones. As ‘Better equipped people’ we can enjoy it at the fullest both visually and audibly. But for a person who is not so well equipped, who can’t hear – the hearing impaired, what about them? Has technology provided to suit their needs?
How do you think a deaf person can feel the same exhilarating effect as a person who is equipped to enjoy thoroughly.
Yes, constant experimentation’s and the human need to be the best provider have made this a very simple and interesting task.
This is where we get to know and talk about Subtitling and Captioning services.
One has to rely on the tiny words scrolling at the bottom of the screen. Generally they are termed as ‘Subtitles’. But it is too generalized a term. So let us have closer look at it and see what best suits and why.
Subtitles: – what, why and where?
Subtitles are the tiny words scrolling at the bottom of a television, computer screen or any video being watched, transcribing the spoken part to text part for the convenience of the viewers. Here the viewer is assumed to be a person who can hear, but may be facing difficulties to understand the clipping due to language, accent or such other issues. So the dialogues are transcribed and displayed for the comfort of the viewers. This way any clipping in any language can be understood and enjoyed by one and all. This works both ways for business development and also personal satisfaction.
The essentiality is that it should match with the timings of the dialogue delivery and should be well contrasted with the background to be clearly visible.
Captioning: – What, why and where?
There is a very subtle but very important difference here. Captioning is the same as Subtitling, but it aims at that part of audience that is hearing impaired. It aims to describe and transcribe the audio content completely along with the sound effects in words and symbols for this special audience so that they can be entertained equally!!
Now why do we say Captioning and not Subtitling??
Captioning is gaining more relevance nowadays and replacing the word Subtitling due to this very subtle difference of the viewership. It has, in many parts of the world, become mandatory to cater to the hearing impaired equally in all walks of life. Nothing can help better than Captioning to create the complete effect for them.
Public listed companies share critical financial data during their conference calls. This makes it all the more important and vital for conference call transcripts to be completely free of financial errors. Let us look at how critical these financial data are for conference call transcripts and how financial errors impact the transcripts. If you are a transcription solution provider delivering conference call transcripts for financial institutions, then you should ensure that you don’t have a single financial error in your transcripts.
Financial errors are basically numerical errors that are considered as the most severe ones as far as conference call transcripts are concerned. You can just imagine what impact it makes if the revenue of a company is wrongly published in your transcript. Assume you transcribe “$18 million” for “$80 million”; this one error can kill your whole transcript. Normally, these types of financial errors happen when machine-generated transcripts are not properly proofread. It is important to proofread conference call transcripts by qualified transcription professionals who specifically look for these types of errors. Professionals specialized in doing conference call transcripts do thorough research before they actually go ahead and start proofreading or editing these machine-generated transcripts. Most of the cases, companies publish financial data before they conduct conference calls. A person, who does a proper research, easily identifies and corrects the financial errors that appear on raw transcripts.
Then you have non-numerical financial errors, which are as bad as numerical financial errors. Non-numerical financial errors meaning; it is not wrongly transcribed numerical figures that spoil the transcripts, but wrongly transcribed words. Say for example, “expenses increased by 20% versus last year” is what is transcribed for “expenses decreased by 20% versus last year”. If you look at this, the number “20%” is perfectly alright, but what have gone wrong here are the words “increased” and “decreased”. This error is also considered as a financial error because this error directly impacts the financial data. Like numerical financial errors, these errors can also be avoided by thorough research and proper proofreading.
Transcription is basically listening to a recorded audio and converting the speech into text format, and the person who does that is called a transcriptionist. A transcriptionist’s job is challenging and need to have certain special skills to perform their role effectively. Let us look at five key skills needed to take up transcription as a profession.
Listening: Transcriptionists primarily need to be very good at listening and should be very attentive. They should not get easily distracted while transcribing long audio recordings. To clearly interpret what speakers are conveying, they need to be very attentive and should also possess subject knowledge on what they are transcribing. They also have to type down simultaneously while listening to the audio, so they need to perform multitasking as well.
Typing: Good transcription professionals need to have the ability to type fast and accurately. Bad typing skills compel them to delete and retype quite often, thus slowing down the whole transcription process.
Researching : It is very important for transcription professionals to have good researching skills. Doing research beforehand helps to easily find words or phrases related to the subject that is discussed in the audio.
Grammar & Punctuation: Transcriptionists should have a good grip on grammar and punctuation. This is of utmost importance as a wrong punctuation or grammar can completely change the meaning of a sentence. Grammar and punctuation errors are considered to be grave in a transcript.
Computer Knowledge with Good Formatting Skills: Good working knowledge of computers is essential for transcriptionists. They need to be thorough with the formatting styles specified by their clients.
Audio transcription services are vital for corporates to preserve and reproduce their business documents for a variety of reasons. Media firms, medical institutions, insurance firms, academic institutions, financial firms, law firms, etc. are some of the businesses that widely use transcription services. There are some major factors that these corporates would look while choosing an audio transcription service provider. The three key qualities they would look for are; error-free delivery, quick turnaround time and cost effectiveness. Transcribe-Now is undoubtedly one of the major transcription companies that can fulfill all these requirements for its clients.
Error-free Transcript Delivery:
Nowadays, a lot of transcription service providers use automated tools to deliver their final transcripts. The quality of transcripts generated by these automated sources is not so great and it is even worse if the audio quality or the spoken accent is bad. The corporates prefer transcription service provider who does manual proofreading and editing so that they can be sure of the transcript quality. We, at Transcribe-Now, have vast transcription experience being in this industry now for more than two decades. We have successfully developed a hybrid system where the automatically generated transcripts are fed into a manual workflow. The auto-generated transcripts are further proofread and edited by our highly experienced professional transcriptionists. We also have professionals who are specialized in various industries that enable us to effectively handle industry-specific transcripts.
How quick one could turnaround transcripts depend on how efficient the workflow is, and it varies between service providers. Transcribe-Now has a highly efficient workflow that includes highly experienced transcription professionals. This makes it easy for us to turnaround error-free transcripts at a much quicker pace than our competitors. Moreover, we have a facility where the customers can stream auto-generated preliminary transcripts live on to their existing workflow, while the manually edited version can be delivered at a later point as per the customer requirement.
We ensure highly competitive pricing without compromising on the transcript quality or turnaround time. Once a customer signs the contract with us, it remains unchanged throughout the contract period without any hidden matrix. Overall, we are a reliable audio transcription service provider specialized in providing tailor-made solution for our customers.
Doing quality research before actually going ahead and processing transcripts for earnings conference or any other corporate conference calls is vital for delivering quality transcripts. Research is actually the first step for a transcriptionist to prepare for transcribing corporate conference calls. The research is widely known as ticker research among the transcriptionists; ticker is the way the companies are identified in the stock exchanges.
Transcriptionists would spend at least 30 to 40 minutes upfront doing ticker research. This would help them to become familiar with the industry and company-specific terminologies that they might come across during the process of transcribing the conference calls.
Key research sources that conference call transcriptionists look for are; Corporate Website, Google Finance, EDGAR Filings, etc.
Now, let us look at the five key research items that transcriptionists look for in order to ease the transcription process.
1.Business Description: This is a short description of the full business that the company operates in. This allows the transcriptionist to have an overall idea about the company’s business interests.
2.Current Press Release and Archive Press Releases: Normally, companies publish a press release just before they conduct conference calls. Also, they retain older press releases that they would have published prior to their earlier events. Reading through these releases would help transcriptionists to understand the context on which the conference call is being conducted and would also help them to cross check the numbers the management discusses during the course of the call.
3.Product List: Scanning through the product list published in the company website helps transcriptionists to clearly decipher the product names that are discussed during the call.
4.Management and Analyst Details: This helps a great deal in identifying speakers. It is very important to name every speaker that participates in the call. Most of the clients prefer management details to be researched from company websites so that the names are entered as it is specified in the company website.
5.SEC Filings & Key Developments: The research helps transcriptionists to understand and decipher industry-specific terminologies discussed during the call.
A good conference call transcriptionist spends time on thorough and extensive research before they actually get on with the transcription procedure.
Interactive transcripts are verbatim textual representation of video files that normally runs in a paragraph format beside the source video. Users can read through the text while watching the video. These transcripts would appear more like closed captions/subtitles, but in a running format towards the side of the video. As and when the video is played, the words or blocks of words in the transcript get highlighted corresponding to the spoken content.
Interactive transcripts are searchable textual format, and they help a great deal in making your videos more accessible. These transcripts make it possible for users to interact with the videos. For instance, if you as a user want to go to a particular portion of a video, only thing you have to do is to point the cursor on the word or the block of words that coincides with the visual that you are looking for and click on that; the video will automatically jump on to that particular portion.
These transcripts help deaf or hard-of-hearing to consume videos with less difficulty. The users can read the text as and when they view the video real time. These transcripts also help students with learning disabilities.
Another benefit of having interactive transcripts on your website videos is that they make them easily searchable; therefore helping your digital marketing and SEO activities to a great extent. It is always more effective when the search engines index the whole transcript content rather than just indexing the video title or description.
There are a lot of transcription service providers offering interactive transcription services and it is very important for you to choose someone who can deliver error-free transcripts.
Paying complete attention when you are attending extensive lectures is vital. It is understandably difficult to concentrate on speech and at the same time jot them all down. There are chances that you miss out on the lecture’s full concept when you try to listen and take down notes simultaneously. Asking questions and clearing doubts would also be a difficult task if you are focused on taking down notes. This is the reason why recording lectures and have them converted to text format is a good approach to retain the information conveyed during the class.
Lecture transcription services are used by researchers and academic professionals for a variety of reasons. Audio recording of the lectures or webinars are transcribed and converted into text format for students and professionals to use them at a later convenient time. Schools and universities publish lecture transcripts online so as to help students to browse through these transcripts by using easily searchable keywords. This helps them to learn their difficult subjects by reading and understanding these texts.
These transcripts address accessibility issues as well. Verbatim transcripts of lectures or webinars help students of all kinds, irrespective of their learning styles. They help slow learners to study their subjects at their appropriate pace. They help students with hearing disability and those with language limitations who would otherwise find it difficult to understand lectures or webinars that move at relatively swift pace.
Lecture or webinar transcripts not only help students, but also professors and teachers. Transcripts enable them to review their style of delivering lectures, and would also help them to come up with better ideas to improve overall quality of their lectures.
There are quite a few professional transcription service providers who are specialized in lecture transcription services. Choosing a quality service provider is of utmost importance.
Transcribe-Now is a professional transcription service provider that has specialized professionals to deliver quality lecture transcripts.